I first tasted burnt Basque cheesecake long before it became world-famous. Now it even has its own hashtag on Instagram! This easy burnt Basque cheesecake recipe is the authentic version based on the original Basque burnt cheesecake served at La Viña in San Sebastián.
About ten years ago I explored San Sebastían for the first time. I was armed with a handful of pintxos bars recommendations, but no one had mentioned anything about dessert!
When I passed by La Viña (which wasn't on my list) I was drawn in by the smell of baking, and when I saw the towers of freshly baked cheesecakes in front of me I knew it was something I had to try.
It was love at first bite, creamy, eggy... delicious! It was unlike any cheesecake I'd ever tried before.
Over the past ten years, the burnt Basque cheesecake has become a worldwide phenomenon and the La Viña cheesecake recipe has been republished many times. It's an easy (though decadent) recipe, well worth the time (and the calories)!
Key Ingredients: Eggs, sugar, cream cheese, heavy cream, and flour.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
- Cream cheese: La Viña uses the Philadelphia brand cream cheese and always has -- however, it's possible that the composition in Spain is different than in other countries. But this cake works with other creamy cheeses too, such as mascarpone.
- Flour: If you prefer to leave out the flour, go ahead -- it will still set. The amount of flour is very small and just helps with the texture. But it's delicious without too!
Burnt Basque Cheesecake: Step by Step
There truly isn't an easier recipe out there! Simply mix all of the ingredients together in a large metal bowl (at La Viña they use a metal spoon to do this, but you can use a whisk or electric mixer -- whatever is easiest for you. Don't overmix, however!)
Once mixed, line a springform pan with parchment paper, pour in the batter, bake, and less than an hour later your cake is done!
Now comes the hard part -- waiting for it to cool. It's worth the wait, I promise!
Recipe Tips & FAQs
- The baking time varies based on your preference. For a runny center, bake 35 minutes. For creamy, try 40. For fully baked through, cook for 50 minutes. (My cake in the photos was baked for 40 minutes).
- Let the cake cool fully before taking it out of the springform pan. I recommend making this the day before you want to eat it, as it really benefits from a night in the refrigerator.
- If the top isn't browned enough when the bake time is up, turn on the broiler (top heat) but keep a close eye on it -- it can burn in only a few seconds!
The most popular pairing for this cake at La Viña is a glass of Pedro Ximenez sherry wine. This extremely sweet Spanish wine can hold its own against the cheesecake and is a match made in heaven! You could also serve this cheesecake with some fresh berries, which are always a welcome partner for a sweet cheesecake in my opinion.
More Spanish Cake Recipes
If you like this delicious Basque cheesecake recipe, you'll love these other Spanish cakes too!
- Cantabrian Cheesecake Recipe: This delicious cake is called quesada pasiega and is another cheesecake worth trying.
- Gateau Basque: The traditional Basque cake is filled with homemade pastry cream or cherry jam.
- Tarta de Santiago: Spain's famous almond cake is easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser.
- Lemon Olive Oil Cake: This light and delicious cake makes the perfect afternoon snack.
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Burnt Basque Cheesecake Recipe (La Viña Style)
- 2.2 lbs Philadelphia cream cheese 1 kg. Note: you can also sub any other cream cheese, such as mascarpone. Works best at room temperature.
- 7 eggs
- 2 cups sugar 400g. Note: for a slightly less sweet cheesecake use only 1.5 to 1.75 cups (300-350g)
- 1 tablespoon of flour
- 6.5 fl oz heavy cream 200ml or ⅘ of a cup.
- Preheat the oven to 410°F (210°C).
- Using an electric mixer, whisk, or a metal spoon (the classic La Viña way!) combine all the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth and creamy.
- Line a 10 inch (25 cm) springform pan or round baking pan with enough wax or parchment paper that it extends past the edges of the pan. This will help you remove the cheesecake from the pan later on, and will prevent it from sticking. You can use a smaller pan for a higher cheesecake but may need to bake longer so that the center isn't too runny.
- Bake on the center rack for 35-50 minutes. The cake will rise quite a bit but don't worry -- it will settle when it’s out of the oven. I like my cheesecake just cooked through, so I generally bake 40 minutes and if it isn't quite burnt enough on top I turn the heat up for another minute or two, being careful it doesn't burn too much! If you like the center very runny, remove at 35 minutes.
- When the cake is brown and almost burnt looking, turn the oven off. The center shouldn’t be completely set. It will wiggle a lot when you move the pan (like Jello!)
- Let it start to cool gradually by leaving it out on the counter. After an hour or so, move the cake to the fridge to cool completely.
- After a few hours in the refrigerator (overnight is even better), your cheesecake should be chilled enough to cut. Don’t remove the cake from the parchment paper until it’s ready to be cut, plated, and devoured (as it can start to lose its shape).
- Enjoy with a sweet glass of Pedro Jimenez sherry -- just like at La Viña!
Update note: This recipe was originally published on May 26, 2020, and was updated with new photos and information on January 21, 2021. Watch the web story of this recipe!
Have you been to San Sebastian to try burnt Basque cheesecake? How did this recipe compare?