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Mini Basque cheesecakes

Servings: 12
Think of this as a baked-cheese-lava-cake hybrid. Dense and creamy on the outside, light and mousse-y through the centre. I ate a slice of La Viña’s cheesecake in the Basque town of San Sebastian every evening on our honeymoon many moons ago, and can still remember the surprisingly accommodating dessert stomachs it unlocked within us both. I implored my friend Dani Valent to score the recipe when she visited a few months later, so that we could hope to recreate the feeling at home. Not only did Dani wrangle the recipe, she perfected it, shared it and, I reckon, helped make this method of baking cheesecake with a wibble-wobble into the international sensation it is. I have two gripes with the usual big ones, however: the first is that they require cooling before slicing, to avoid a lavapalooza (made that mistake before myself!). The second, is that they’re not exactly midweek baking friendly – they’re an occasional bake. By pouring the batter into a muffin tray, you can get around both: they cool faster AND you can freeze any leftovers in perfectly proportioned cakes for two... or one, really.


  • 500 g cream cheese Philadelphia or Neufchâtel if you’re feeling extravagant!
  • 250 ml cream
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ tsp salt flakes
  • 1 tbsp plain flour gf works!
  • 2 eggs


  • Preheat your oven to 220℃ (200℃ fan-forced).
  • Line a 12 piece muffin tray with squares of baking paper, keeping the sides high when cutting out the squares (you should get 4 x squares from each square of standard-sized baking paper). Use the dregs of your cream cheese to help glue the middle of each square down into the tin.
  • Place cream cheese into a stand-mixer with paddle attachment or into your blender (see tips). You can also use hand-beaters and a bowl, if you’re that way inclined.
  • Mix cream cheese on a medium speed, scraping downs the sides until soft and smooth. Pour in the thickened cream and beat/blend to incorporate.
  • Add in the sugar, salt and vanilla and beat until you can’t feel the grit of the sugar between two fingertips.
  • Sprinkle in flour and mix, then add 1 egg at a time until incorporated.
  • If using a stand mixer, ensure you scrape down the sides and the bottom one final time with a flexible spatula and give everything one last mix. Transfer into a pouring jug.
  • Pour into lined muffin tray. Place on the centre rack of the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are browned.
  • Keep an eye on the centre of the cakes, you’re still after a tenderness in the middle. They will appear pretty much burnt on top, but in this case, that’s a good thing!
  • Remove from oven, leave until cool enough to touch (10 minutes), then pop onto a cooling rack to set.


You can use any brand of cream cheese you fancy – even the very bougie French stuff. Although the original restaurant’s chef surprisingly just prefers your bog-standard Philadelphia block, according to my pal Dani.
Allow your cream cheese to come to room temperature if you can. Leave it out on the bench in its packet for at least an hour or so.
If using a blender or food processor, no need to be too dainty. Just add all of the ingredients together and blend until uniformly smooth.
You can make these gluten-free by using GF flour. It totally still works!
Use this batter in a 6-tin muffin tray, or even make a full-sized version – just watch for the burnish and increase the cooking time accordingly.
These will keep in the fridge for around 5 days and will freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.

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