This ultra-creamy mini burnt basque pumpkin cheesecake recipe is packed with rich pumpkin spices, a chocolatey oreo crust, with a gorgeous caramelized top! These mini burnt basque cheesecakes are easy to bake and will be the best pumpkin spice dessert you will have all season.
It is finally autumn which means it's pumpkin spice season. I love everything about the fall— the colors, the cooler weather, the warm comfy sweaters, but what I love most about the fall is the spices. There's something about the warm cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom blend that warms my soul on another dimension. These mini pumpkin basque cheesecakes are the essence of fall in mini cake form. At first taste, you will notice hints of caramel from the burnt tops, a lux creamy texture filled with pumpkin spices that finishes with a crumbly chocolatey Oreo crust.
The best thing about a basque burnt cheesecake is that it’s one of the easiest desserts to bake and nearly impossible to mess up. The cheesecake is meant to look burnt and have cracks throughout. (Check out our matcha vanilla basque cheesecake). The imperfections are what make these mini pumpkin basque cheesecakes beautiful. Plus, during the holidays don't you want a stress-free, foolproof, easy bake when you're trying to cook a million dishes at once?
If you're looking for more holiday baking ideas, check out our apple cider mochi donuts
Background on a Basque Cheesecake
A basque cheesecake is a caramelized cheesecake. This cheesecake originated in 1990 in San Sebastian, Spain. The original recipe uses cream cheese, cream, sugar, eggs, and flour. The "basque" name refers to its beautifully browned rich dark surface. Traditionally crustless, Basque cheesecakes are baked on high heat and rise quickly. This method of baking creates a crackly crust on the outside, while still maintaining a super creamy, almost custard-like interior.
Ordinarily, a basque burnt cheesecake does not have a crust like the traditional American cheesecake. For this recipe, I adapted the original basque cheesecake with the traditional American cheesecake that has an oreo crust as well.
Kitchen Equipment For This Recipe
- Food processor: a food processor makes pulverizing the oreos a breeze. Alternatively, you can place the oreos in a plastic zip-lock bag and smash them with a rolling pin.
- Stand mixer or hand mixer: an electric mixer makes creaming the cream cheese 10x easier than by hand. I love using my Kitchenaid stand mixer or my Cuisinart hand mixer.
- Muffin tin: For this recipe, I chose to go with the jumbo 6 cup muffin tin for this recipe. I used Wilton's non-stick jumbo muffin tin. Alternatively, you can use the standard 12 cup muffin tin (bake time changes see below)
- Muffin liners or parchment paper: this cheesecake will rise significantly in the oven. You want to prevent the cheesecake from spilling out of the tin by lining the muffin cups about 1.5 inches above the tin.
Ingredients For This Recipe
- Oreos: an oreo crust or any crust at all is optional but I love having a crispy crust contrast to a smooth creamy cheesecake. Alternatively, you can substitute the oreos out for graham crackers, or vanilla wafers as well.
- Unsalted butter: the unsalted butter aids in holding the shape of the cookie crust
- Cream Cheese: for optimal flavor and texture, I recommend using full-fat block cream cheese. My favorite brand that always brings consistent results is Philadelphia cream cheese. Using whipped or reduced fat cream cheese will not produce the same texture.
- Sugar: adds sweetness that breaks through the rich cream cheese flavor.
- Large Eggs: the eggs thicken and provide that smooth rich texture in the basque cheesecake. Also, it assists in the rise of the cheesecake too.
- Heavy Cream: the fat in the heavy cream is necessary to achieve smooth creamy texture.
- Pumpkin puree: you can buy pumpkin puree in a can at your local grocery market. For this recipe, I used half of a 15 oz can of Libby's pumpkin puree
- Vanilla Extract: adds a warm flavor note to the cheesecake
- Cake Flour: I used cake flour as the binding ingredient for that silky smooth soft creamy texture. However, you can also substitute this with all-purpose flour.
- Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom: these spices make up the pumpkin spice in this recipe.
- Salt: if using iodized table salt, you should use ½ as much salt as listed.
How To Make This Recipe
These fall mini burnt basque pumpkin cheesecake beauties are astonishingly easy to make. All you need to do is 1) make the oreo crust and 2) mix up the pumpkin basque cheesecake and bake! Easy, peasy.
- Prepare the pan. Line muffin/cupcake tin with baking paper or muffin cups that extend about 1.5″ above the tin.
- Pulverize the oreos with butter. In a food processor, add the oreos and melted butter and pulse until the cookies are reduced to a fine crumb.
- Line the bottom of the muffin tin. Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the oreo crumb and spread the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the tin. Press down firmly to compact the crust.
- Prepare the oven. Preheat your oven to 400°F 200°C. Place the rack in the center of the oven.
- Cream the cream cheese and sugar. Beat sugar and cream cheese together on medium speed until smooth and creamy about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Incorporate the eggs one at a time. Add eggs one at a time and beat on medium until smooth and fully incorporated. Scrape the bowl again then reduce the speed of the mixer to medium low.
- Add the wet ingredients. While the mixer is on low, add the pumpkin, vanilla and heavy cream and mix until combined about 30 seconds.
- Add the dry ingredients. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and salt into the mixing bowl and beat on low to thoroughly combine.
- Fill the tins and bake. Fill each muffin tin about ¾ full. Bake at 400°F 200°C for about 30 minutes or until the top is dark amber and almost charred at parts but the middles still has a wobble to them when you give the pan a jiggle. The cheesecakes will rise in the oven and then sink down when taken out of the oven.
- Cool and serve. Let cool in the tin fully on a wire rack at room temperature to allow the cheesecake to set. Remove from the baking tin and enjoy!
Can you cook this recipe in a different pan?
Yes! Alternatively, you can use the standard 12 cup muffin tin. You simply need to use cupcake liners and bake for 20-23 minutes instead.
You can bake this basque pumpkin spice cheesecake in a 6-inch springform cake pan that is 2.5 inches tall. If you opt for this route, double line your parchment paper that is about 1.5 inches above the pan, crank the oven heat to 425 F, and bake for about 35-40 minutes.
Tips for This Recipe
- Line the muffin tin! Make sure to line the muffin tin otherwise the cheesecakes won't release from the pan. If using parchment paper instead of baking cups, I recommend double lining the tins so that there aren't any unlined parts that will stick
- Use room temperature ingredients! This helps in creating that smooth, evenly-baked cheesecake.
- Skip the water bath: a basque cheesecake does not require a water bath. The cake is supposed to rise, and fall and have all of those beautiful imperfect ridges and rustic cracks.
- Keep an eye on the top of the cheesecake: Different ovens will brown cheesecakes at different rates. So I recommend keeping an eye on the cheesecake during the final 15-20 minutes of baking to reach your optimally desired level of burnt color. If it starts to get too dark, just gently lay a piece of aluminum foil over the cheesecakes. Alternatively, if it is not dark enough, turn on the broil for 30 seconds-1 minute at the end.
You can store this mini burnt basque pumpkin spice cheesecake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Alternatively, you can store them in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 1 month.