I’ve always been a big fan of the combination of beets and white cheese like chevre, feta, or cream cheese. There’s something about the sweet earthy flavor of a roasted beet that marries really well (almost suspiciously well) with creamy, lightly tangy cheese. So the other day when I was thinking about cheesecake (as one does), and I realized I hadn’t made one for the blog in literal years, the idea for a beet burnt basque cheesecake popped into my head and I knew I needed to follow that red thread, get some pots going, and bring it into an earthly form.

So, if you’re wondering “what the heck is a Basque cheesecake and why is it burnt??”, pull up a seat and lemme tell ya about it. While the name invokes visions of a pastoral countryside deep in the Basque region between Spain and France, in a time before modern ovens where a cheesecake was made in a woodfire hearth resulting in a burnt crust, that is actually nowhere near the actual story. The real story of the burnt Basque cheesecake is that it was invented in 1990 by a Spanish chef Santiago Riviera in San Sebastien, Spain (which is actually in the Basque region, so it’s accurate in that regard). But basically, it’s a very custardy cheesecake with a nearly-burnt crust that has fantastic caramelized flavor notes, and a nice and creamy center. So hats off to chef Riviera.

When it comes to making sure the cheesecake doesn’t stick to the sides of the springform pan, I really like doing the double-parchment paper method. This involves placing one round of parchment paper at the bottom pf the springform pan, and then cutting another strip of parchment paper in a long rectangle, and placing it standing up around the walls of the springform pan. That way, both the sides and the bottom of the pan are nicely covered in parchment and your risk of the cheesecake sticking to the sides of the pan is incredibly low. But still, I recommend greasing the pan, too, just to be extra safe!

As for the beets, they’re roasted separately in a mini-steam bath. Basically, you roast thew beets skin-on in a container with a little bit of water and a lid, so that as the beets roast in the container, they also steam in the water that’s evaporating. And this serves two purposes: 1) It makes the sugar in the beets caramelize which makes them taste even better, and 2) it makes the skin of the beets really soft, so you can just peel it off with your hands once the beets have cooled to the point where they’re still warm but you can touch them without burning yourself. Then they’re pureed with some cream and an egg to make a silky smooth beet cream, which you can then incorporate into the cheesecake batter.

Once it’s all mixed together and cooked, the texture of this cheesecake is incredibly creamy and results in a lovely reddish-salmon hue on the inside of the cake. Each bite is lightly tangy from the cheese, with a wonderful subtle sweetness from the beets (and of course the sugar). A low-calorie dessert this is not, my friends, so be forewarned that it is RICH. But, if you’re looking for something to make for a special occasion, it’s a pretty fantastic treat. Enjoy it!

Beet Burnt Basque Cheesecake

Beet Burnt Basque Cheesecake

Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 2 hours
Cooling Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12 people


  • 1 pound beets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 eggs room temperature
  • 2 cups heavy cream room temperature
  • 2 pounds cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour or brown rice flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim any greens off the top of the beets, but leave amount 1/4 inch of them at the top so they beets don't dry out too much when roasting. Rub the outside of the beets with the olive oil. Add 1/2-inch of water to the bottom of small casserole dish, add beets, cover the pan with a lid or with tin foil, and roast in the oven until tender when poked with a fork (the exact cook time will vary depending on the size of the beets, for small beets it will be about 40 minutes, for large beets it may be closer to an hour).
  2. Allow the beets to cool to where they are still very warm but safe enough to touch without burning yourself. The skin will just peel right off when you rub the beets with your fingers (you can wear food-safe gloves if you don't want your hands to stain super pink). Discard the skins, and chop the beets into eighths.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease a 10-inch springform cake pan and line it with parchment paper on the bottom and on the sides.

  4. Put the peeled roasted beets in the blender with 1 egg and 1/2 cup of the cream and blend at high speed until absolutely silky smooth, about 2 minutes.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and sugar at medium-low speed until combined and smooth. Increase the speed to medium and add the remaining eggs, one at a time, waiting until each egg is incorporated before adding the next one. Add the beet mixture, then add the remaining 1 1/2 cups cream, the vanilla, and the salt and beat until *just* combined. Sift the flour over the bowl and mix at low speed until it is just incorporated, about 20 seconds.
  6. Place the greased + lined springform pan on a lipped baking sheet. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the greased + lined 10-inch springform cake pan and place it in the oven.

  7. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until slightly burnt looking around the edges, but still slightly jiggly in the center, about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes.
  8. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the pan for 30 minutes (it will fall drastically as it cools, and that's okay!), the remove the side supports of the springform pan and allow to cool completely. Then carefully peel away the parchment paper from the side of the cheesecake. Slice and serve, or you can refrigerate it in an airtight container and enjoy it for up to 1 week.

Beet Burnt Basque Cheesecake


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    Debra says:
      Eva Kosmas Flores says: