This Basque Burnt Cheesecake recipe that literally comes together in 5 minutes using 5 simple ingredients yet has an unbelievably texture and taste, the best Cheesecake I have ever had! Basque Burnt Cheesecake, or as some people refer to it San Sebastian Cheesecake is the easiest cheesecake of all, a must-try!
Baking this Burnt Baque cheesecake is the perfect choice if you feel intimidated by making traditional cheesecakes that come with the pressure of a water bath, whether it will crack or shrink, over or underbakes... Taste-wise it has the creamiest, most amazing custard-like texture with a caramelized top, the most delicious cheesecake of all!
📖 Basque Burnt Cheesecake origin
The Burnt cheesecake originated from Spain´s Basque region, in fact, some also call it San Sebastian cheesecake that is referring to a Basque town. It is said that a restaurant called La Viña Bar in San Sebastián makes the very best Burnt Cheesecake - this place is high on the list for most foodies - actually on my list too to visit next year! Basque Burnt cheesecake is a crustless cheesecake that is baked at a very high temp to achieve the iconic, lovely burnt = caramelized crust on top. It should be slightly underbaked (but not raw) and will set as it cools.
Basque cheesecake has a beautiful rustic appearance with cracked edges yet an extra creamy texture. The word "burnt" sometimes can be confusing, it is not really burnt per se, a more appropriate word to describe this cheesecake would be "caramelized". The caramelized top, along with a super creamy not too sweet inside provides hands-down the simplest yet most delicious flavor combination.
🌟 Why this is the best Basque Burnt cheesecake recipe
- It is extremely easy - No fancy ingredients or equipment is needed and you don´t have to worry about any advanced baking techniques during the process. Both the mixing process as well as the baking process are very simple even if you are a beginner in the kitchen. Safe to say that it is almost impossible to mess up Basque Burnt cheesecake!
- It is super quick - You will literally have to mix 5 simple ingredients together and then bake it. No need to make crust or topping, the entire process is done in one bowl
- No water bath is needed - When making traditional cheesecakes, we want to avoid the cheesecake cracking on the top and for that, a water bath is needed. The good news is that this cheesecake won´t crack and there is no need to bother with a water bath
- Imperfection is appreciated this time! - Normally we want a neat side, neat top, avoid burning it, avoid cracks on top, avoid that it shrinks etc... Not this one! The more rustic the better.
- Extremely delicious - I honestly think it is the most delicious cheesecake ever! It effectively tastes like caramelized cheesecake with a super creamy custard-like texture similar to Crème brûlée. I don´t really miss having a crust or a topping, it is perfect just it is
📝 Ingredient notes
- Cream cheese: I always use full fat Philadelphia when I state cream cheese in my recipes (the one that is available in Europe), I find it easy to cream and very pleasant in taste. I would avoid low-fat cream cheese in this recipe. Please make sure you bring the cream cheese to room temp before using it
- Cream: Also known as whipping cream or double cream, has a fat content of between 36% and 40%, the one I tend to use has 36% fat. Avoid substitutes like vegetable-based “whipping cream”
- Flour: I use pastry flour in this recipe which is low in protein, all purpose flour works well too. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what types of flour to use in your baking, please read my flour guide
- Sugar: Normal granulated white sugar is totally fine in this recipe. Please note that reducing sugar will have an impact on how the Burnt Basque cheesecake will caramelize. I use less sugar than most other recipes out there and would not reduce it more. Definitely avoid sugar substitutes in this recipe. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read sugar guide
- Egg: Use room temperature eggs as always
- Vanilla (optional): This is not mandatory in fact this Basque cheesecake is perfect even without vanilla. If you use it, please please avoid using artificial vanilla. There are several great brands for fine, pure vanilla, I use Nielsen massey which I love and really recommend. I usually use vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract which has lovely vanilla bits in there too
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe tips
1. Step-by-step process
Have I already mentioned how easy it is to make this Basque Burnt cheesecake? The quantity stated in the recipe makes an 8-inch / 20 cm cheesecake, adjust the quantity if you a have smaller / bigger pan. You can use a Electric hand mixer or a Stand mixer, alternatively, you can even make the cheesecake batter by hand.
- Pre-heat oven to 230C / 446F (no fan)
- Start creaming room temp cream cheese and slowly add sugar to it while the mixer is on medium speed
- Again, at low speed, add room temp eggs to the mixture one by one while the mixer is on medium speed
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly pour in room temp cream
- Switch from your mixer to a spatula and fold in sifted flour
- Reduce baking temp to 210C / 410F (no fan)
💡 Top Tip: Make sure to have all your ingredients at room temp so they will properly emulsify.
2. How to bake the cheesecake
Bake the cheesecake at 210C / 410F for approx. 50min. Check the cheesecake at around 35-40min and adjust the baking time if necessary. The cheesecake should be puffed, the top should be caramelized, the side should be baked and the center slightly jiggly. It is better to slightly under-bake this cheesecake to achieve that lovely signature creamy texture.
Two considerations, regarding oven temperature; First one is the temperature on paper, if it’s too low the cheesecake won´t caramelize so this Basque Burnt Cheesecake should be baked at a rather high temp. It is called "burnt" but it rather means caramelized so obviously we do not want to burn the entire cheesecake, more like caramelize the top. I find in my oven 210C / 410F is the sweet spot, however, please check your cheesecake halfway through and adjust the temp if needed. If it was burning way too much, you can even cover the top but either way, it has to be somewhat burnt so don´t be shy!
The second consideration is your REAL oven temperature, what do I mean by that? Almost all home ovens over or underbake. Besides not measuring the ingredients properly the second most common reason behind baking failures is ovens making fun of us. A Digital oven thermometer is really an inexpensive gadget and a must if you are baking regularly and want to have consistent, good results.
💡 Top Tip: Pre-heat oven to +20C / 36F so because the oven temp drops when you open the oven door and we need a high enough temp to caramelize this cheesecake
3. The most difficult part of making this recipe
It is the waiting after baking! The cheesecake will slightly puff in the oven, then will shrink at room temp. Since it has this amazing custard-like texture, similarly to Crème brûlée, you have to wait until it comes to room temp then cool it in the fridge. Do not remove the cheesecake from the cake form while it is still warm or it might collapse. I recommend chilling the cheesecake for at least 4 hours. Waiting is the most difficult part of the recipe but worth it!
🥣 Equipment notes
I recommend using a 8 inch / 20 cm Spring form. Line the bottom and side of the baking pan with 2 parchment papers / baking sheet so it will be easy to remove the cheesecake from the tin once baked. No need to smooth the parchment papers while lining the springform pan, in fact, keep it somewhat "wrinkled", remember the more rustic the better!
Yes, but you need to use another cream cheese then that has a similar consistency and fat content. Philadelphia is brilliant when it comes to texture and flavor but feel free to use any other full-fat cream cheese you have available.
Probably yes, you can. However, you can't just leave out or change an ingredient without reformulating the entire recipe. When one ingredient changes, some other ingredients need to be changed too in order to keep the balance in the texture and flavor. Sadly, I am not able to provide substitutes for different types of allergies and diets
Yes, you can, however, you will need to adjust the recipe ingredients and baking time accordingly
After baking the cheesecake should be stored in the fridge until it sets. I suggest you cover the cake to make sure it does not absorb any smell from the fridge. Leftover cake – if there is any – should be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days in an airtight container.
The creaminess of the cheesecake might be fully spoiled with the process of freezing, so overall I do not recommend freezing this cheesecake.
Honestly, nothing, you will see once you have the first bite! This Basque Burnt Cheesecake does not require any fruit compote, neither chocolate nor caramel or any other topping, it can´t get any more perfect! This Basque Burnt Cheesecake is not too sweet and can be the perfect afternoon tea or weekend treat, all you need is a fork and enjoy! If you really want to serve something with this Basque cheesecake I suggest a nice dessert wine or my Creme Anglaise sauce!
🧀 More Cheesecake recipes
EASY Basque Burnt Cheesecake
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Start with preparing a 8 inch / 20 cm Spring form
- Pre-heat oven to 230C / 446F no fan
- Cream room temp cream cheese and slowly add sugar while mixer on medium speed
- Slowly add room temp eggs to the mixture one by one while mixer on medium speed
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly pour in room temp cream
- Fold in sifted flour with the help of a Rubber spatula
- Pour cheesecake batter into prepared 8 inch / 20 cm Spring form
- Reduce oven temp to 210C / 410F no fan
- Bake the cheesecake for 50min. Check the cheesecake at around 35-40min and adjust baking time if necessary. The cheesecake should be puffed, the top should be caramelized, the side should be baked and centre slightly jiggly.Make sure your oven is on the right temp by using a Digital oven thermometer
- Let it cool in the tin then chill it in the tin for about 4 hours in fridge
- After cheesecake set in the fridge, remove from tin and enjoy
- Store in the fridge for 1-2 day