Brown Sugar Basque Cheesecake

Basque Cheesecake differs from other cheesecake recipes in that there’s no traditional crust, and it’s baked hot and fast. The high temperatures caramelize the exterior, forming a thin crust out of the cheesecake itself, and releasing rich and incredible flavours. If you like crème brûlée and crème caramel, you’ll love this exceptional cheesecake!

Prep Time
15 minutes
30 minutes + 4 hours (or overnight) chilling time

Cook Time
15 to 20 minutes
Top view of a Mini Basque cheesecake on a plate with two pieces cut out

Pastry brush (and butter) OR baking spray

4 x 1¾-inch OR 4 x 2-inch springform pans (or cake pans) x 2

Parchment paper - 10-inch squares x 2

Baking sheet

Scale OR dry measuring cups

Liquid measuring cup

Measuring spoons

Large bowl

Large spatula or metal spoon

Small bowl

Whisk or fork

Chef’s knife

2 to 8 servings
  • 1 block (250 g) cream cheese, brick-style, small cubed
  • ¼ cup + 1 tsp (59 g) Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • ¼ tsp (2 g) salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 yolk
  • 1½ tsp (7 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (125 ml) heavy cream

Step 1

Lightly grease or spray with baking spray the bottom and sides of mini springform pans (or regular cake pans, if using).

Step 2

Line each pan with a 10-inch square piece of parchment, smoothing the paper onto the bottom and up the sides, ensuring that it extends past the rim of the pan. Fold and crease the parchment paper to keep the sides as flat as possible. If there are empty spots, lightly grease the 1st parchment and line with another piece of parchment, filling in those “gaps”.

Step 3

Move the oven rack to the upper third of the oven, making sure that there is enough room to fit the springform pans and that the parchment extending from the pans does not touch the heating elements. Preheat oven to 525°F (274°C). (See Chef’s Tips about preheating the oven).

Step 4

Place the cubed cream cheese into a large bowl. Using a large spatula or metal spoon, cream the cream cheese by pressing and spreading the cheese along the bottom and sides of the bowl until smooth.

Step 5

Sprinkle the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar and salt over the cream cheese and fold in until fully incorporated. Let sit for at least 5 minutes at room temperature. This helps the brown sugar draw moisture from the cheese and “soften,” making it dissolve more easily.  After sitting, repeat the above process, rubbing the mixture against the bowl’s bottom and sides. Scrape down the sides to ensure everything is fully creamed, and no lumps remain.

Step 6

In a small bowl, whisk together well the egg, yolk, and vanilla extract. Add to the cream cheese mixture in 3 parts. Gently fold into the cream cheese until fully incorporated before adding more. Repeat process until all the egg mixture is combined. Ensure mixture is completely smooth.

Step 7

Gradually pour in the heavy cream while slowly stirring until fully mixed. Cover and place into the fridge to chill; at least 30 minutes.

Step 8

Pour and divide batter into the prepared pans filling them ¾ full (if using a scale, approximately 240 grams per pan). Tap the pans several times on a flat work surface to eliminate any air bubbles.

Step 9

Place pans onto a baking sheet and into the preheated oven, closing the door immediately to prevent the heat from escaping. Bake for 5 minutes at 525°F (274°C). After 5 minutes, reduce the temperature to 500°F (260°C). Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, check through the oven door window to see if the top is puffing up. Keep the door closed and watch closely. At 12 minutes, quickly open the oven door and gently nudge the baking sheet. If the top is still pale and wet, close the door and leave in for another 2 to 3 more minutes. The top should be set and golden brown (possibly burnt in places), edges should begin to pull away from the sides, but the cake should be quite wobbly and undulate when shaken; do not overbake (even if the tops are just golden brown).

Step 10

Remove from oven and remove pans from the baking sheet and onto a wire cooling rack. Cool to room temperature. For a softer, custard-like centre, serve at room temperature. For a creamy but set texture, place cooled cheesecakes into the fridge, uncovered; 4 hours or overnight. If not serving immediately, after 4 hours in the fridge, cover chilled cheesecakes.

Step 11

To serve, release the sides of the springform pans (if using cake pans, you may need to run a small offset spatula around the edge of the pan and the parchment. Using the parchment overhangs, carefully pull the parchment straight up to remove cakes). With the help of the parchment, slide cakes onto a cutting board, or plate if serving whole. Gently peel back the parchment from the sides of the cakes. If not serving whole, with a sharp chef’s knife dipped in hot water and dried on a clean kitchen towel, slice into halves or quarters. Dip and dry off the knife after every cut. Ideally, let cakes stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Step 12

Store covered or in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Two Basque cheesecakes on plates, one with two pieces cut out