Nothing brings me joy the same way a mini dessert does – and these Mini Basque Cheesecakes are so cute. They are perfect if you want a small (but rich) dessert, but require little effort. You just need one bowl, one whisk, and a super hot oven, and you have a fun, classic dessert in 15 minutes.
If you are looking for your first foray into cheesecake, this mini cheesecake is the way to start. You don’t have to worry about cooking them in a water bath and you don’t have to stress about the top cracking (they are supposed to brown on top!) It’s a beginner’s dessert dream. Plus, the ingredients are simple and the recipe is easy. I added a few sauces to *spice* it up, but they are totally optional. If you want your cheesecake naked or dressed up, these Mini Basque Cheesecakes are delicious either way!
Table of contents
What is a Basque cheesecake?
First, let’s talk about Basque cheesecakes. The Basque cheesecake originated in 1990 by Santiago Rivera of the La Viña restaurant in the Basque Country, Spain, making it a relatively modern cheesecake. The first recipe for it came to popularity in the early 2000s, when Nigella Lawson brought it to the internet– bless her.
The main draw of a Basque cheesecake is the fact that it (usually) has no crust and has a signature deep brown, burnt top and crinkly edges. It’s famously easy and delicious, and this mini recipe proves it!
Ingredients for these Mini Basque Cheesecakes
When I say ingredients are minimal, I do not lie. Every ingredient is a kitchen staple (if you’re an avid dessert baker, at least!) or can be easily found in your grocery store:
- 1 cup cream cheese at room temperature, 226 grams
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 75 grams
- 7 tablespoons heavy cream, 90 grams
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 7 grams
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
How to make these mini cheesecakes
The process of making these baby Basques is really simple – you just want to start with one bowl, a whisk and a spatula. The order in which you make the batter does matter, so I suggest starting with beating the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl with a rubber spatula/ wooden spoon until smooth and softened.
Add the sugar, cornstarch and vanilla and mix until smooth and fluffy. The more you add to the cream cheese, the more liquidy it will become, this is a good thing!
Add the egg and heavy cream and mix until completely smooth like batter. Then line two mini dutch ovens (3″W x 2″H) with parchment paper.
Pour the batter equally into both dutch ovens and bake at 480°F for 13-16 minutes or until deeply golden and almost dark brown on top. Then remove from the oven and let cool.
If you are looking for instructions on how to make the toppings, you can find ingredients and more information in the recipe block below!
What do you bake the cheesecakes in?
I absolutely love to bake these in mini dutch ovens. You can find the Staub mini cocottes I cook in right here.
This recipe is also easy to make in ramekins that are a similar size, and you can follow the exact same instructions. Just make sure your ramekins are at least 3″ wide and 2″ tall.
Looking for other easy desserts?
Here are a few from the blog that can be whipped up in minutes – yes, they are for people who love baking, but they are also just as easy as these mini basque cheesecakes:
And that’s everything for these Mini Basque Cheesecakes!
And of course feel free to leave any questions, comments or reviews! This is the best place to reach me, and I’d love to hear from you <3
Mini Basque Cheesecakes
- 2 mini dutch ovens
- 1 large whisk or electric mixer
- 1 cup cream cheese at room temperature 226 grams
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar 75 grams
- 7 tablespoons heavy cream 90 grams
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch 7 grams
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the homemade caramel
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar 110 grams
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons salted butter cut into pieces, 50 grams
- 1/4 cup heavy cream 95 grams
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the strawberry topping
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 lemon for juicing
For the basque cheesecakes
- Preheat oven to 480°F.
- Beat the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl with a rubber spatula/ wooden spoon until smooth and softened.
- Add the sugar, cornstarch and vanilla and mix until smooth and fluffy. Add the egg and heavy cream and mix until completely smooth like batter.
- Line two mini dutch ovens (3"W x 2"H) with parchment paper.
- Pour the batter equally into both dutch ovens and bake at 480°F for 13-16 minutes or until deeply golden and almost dark brown on top. Remove from the oven and let cool.
To make the optional caramel topping
- While the cheesecakes are baking, add the sugar and water to a saucepan. Put the pan on medium heat and give it a swirl. Let the sugar completely melt until it is bubbling softly, this will take about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides, stir again and let the sugar continue to cook, undisturbed until it is a golden color like honey, another 3-4 minutes.
- When the sugar is golden, add in the butter pieces one at a time, stirring constantly to combine. When the butter is fully melted and combined, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the heavy cream and salt. Set this aside.
To make the optional strawberry topping
- Add the frozen strawberries, water, and sugar to a pot or high-sided sauce pan. Put the pan on medium heat and stir occasionally, letting the strawberries become soft, this will take about 3-4 minutes.
- Pour this mixture into a small blender and blend until smooth – be careful that the mixture is not too hot when you blend it (this will build up pressure in the blender), so let it cool for a few minutes before blending if needed.
- Put the mixture back in the pan and add the lemon juice. Continue to cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes or until the jam has thickened. You want it smooth and thick enough so that when you run a spatula across the bottom of the pan, you can see the bottom of the pan for a few seconds before the jam covers it again. Remove this from the heat and set aside.
When the cheesecakes are out of the oven
- When the cheesecakes are out of the oven, let them cool in the ramekins for 10 minutes to collapse. Then remove from the dishes, top with the caramel and strawberry sauces and serve!