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Basque Cheesecake

If you love cheesecake, you have to try Basque Cheesecake!

Basque cheesecake – also known as Burnt Cheesecake, La Viña cheesecake or Tarta de queso La Viña in Spanish – is a delectable and indulgent dessert.

First created by the famous La Viña Restaurant in San Sebastián, a city in the Basque region of northern Spain, it is super creamy, eggy, sweet, and delicious.

Basque cheesecake is very easy to make, and you don’t need any fancy equipment or skills. You just need a bowl, a whisk, a springform pan, and an oven!

round burnt cheesecake with parchment paper around and metal lifter in front.
This classic Basque cheesecake is waiting to be enjoyed!

This cheesecake is sometimes called “burnt cheesecake” because of the browned (not actually burnt) top. It has no crust or base, so the cheese is the star of the show. It also has very simple ingredients and proportions, mostly cream cheese and heavy cream.

As you’ll notice, there are no flavorings or toppings, although you can add some if you want to customize it. I will give you some suggestions later.

The Basque region is well known for its abundance of Pintxos and other savory main dishes, but if you visit San Sebastián, you also have to try La Viña restaurant’s Burnt cheesecake! 

Ingredients

ingredients to make basque burnt cheesecake in bowls on counter with labels.
The ingredients needed to make this cheesecake!

To make this recipe, here are the classic Basque cheesecake ingredients that you will need. It doesn’t take much to make this delicious cake!

  • Cream cheese – The La viña restaurant recipe traditionally uses Philadelphia cream cheese, but any neutral-tasting cream cheese will work. You can even opt for mascarpone cheese.
  • Eggs – In Spain, we do not differentiate by egg measurement, usually, our eggs would be considered medium. Use free-range eggs if possible.
  • Granulated sugar – Adds sweetness to the cake.
  • Flour – Regular all-purpose flour.
  • Heavy cream – Use a good quality whipping cream or heavy cream; should be at least 35% fat.

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

Before you make this burnt Basque cheesecake, have a read through these recipe tricks and tips so that you know what to expect – and so that you get the best cheesecake in the end:

  • Flavors: The traditional version of this cheesecake is very simple. You can customize the flavor by adding vanilla extract, lemon zest (about 2 tablespoons – it’s a nice contrast to the creaminess), or other ingredients, but this will not be authentic. You can also serve it with fruit jam on the side if you like.
  • Cheese: Philadelphia cream cheese is traditional, but you can use any neutral cream cheese or even mascarpone. You could also experiment by substituting blue cheese for some of the cream cheese for a savory twist, but reduce or omit the sugar in that case.
  • Mixing: There’s no need to mix the ingredients in any specific order or be extra careful when mixing. You can mix all the ingredients together at once, but make sure they are well combined and smooth. I prefer to mix the eggs and sugar first, then add the rest.
  • Parchment paper: You will need to line the springform pan with parchment paper that is taller than the pan to keep the cheesecake from overflowing while baking.
  • Baking Time: The baking time depends on how creamy or firm you want the cheesecake to be – about 35 min for runny, 40 min for creamy, and 45 minutes for fully cooked. I like it a bit creamy but not runny. Every oven is different, so you may have to experiment a bit.
  • Broiling: If your cheesecake does not look browned enough, you can broil it for 1-3 minutes at the end, but watch it carefully as it can burn very quickly!
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How to Make Basque Cheesecake – Step by Step Instructions

In this section, we’ll show you step by step how to make this Basque cheesecake. We’ve included all the recipe process photos so that you can visually follow along as you cook at home.

Of course, the printable recipe card with all the measurements and instructions can be found at the bottom of this post!

eggs cracked into clear mixing bowl on counter top.
Place the eggs in a bowl.

Preheat the oven to 395 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl.

silver whisk mixing cream cheese into egg yolks in mixing bowl.
Whisk well.

Next, add the sugar. Using an electric mixer or a whisk, mix until well combined.

hand mixing cheesecake batter in mixing bowl on counter.
Make sure there are no lumps.

Then add the cream cheese, flour and heavy cream and whisk again until smooth. There should be no lumps.

cake pan lined with parchment paper sitting beside bowl of cheesecake batter.
Line a springform pan with parchment paper.

Line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper, making sure that the paper extends above the rim of the pan.

This will prevent the cheesecake from overflowing over while baking.

white spatula pouring batter from mixing bowl into cake form lined with parchment paper.
Add the batter to the pan.

Pour the batter into the springform pan.

cooked cheesecake in round pan on counter seen from above.
The top should be golden brown.

Bake the cheesecake in the oven at 395 degrees Fahrenheit with top and bottom heat.

The baking time will depend on your preferred texture: about 35 minutes for runny, 40 minutes for creamy, and 45 minutes for fully cooked.

Every oven cooks slightly differently, so your exact baking time may vary.

crispy browned top of a cheesecake seen close up.
Let the cake cool down in the oven.

Once cooked and the top is golden brown, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake cool down inside with the door slightly open.

When the cake has cooled significantly, remove it from the oven and let it further cool on the counter until it reaches room temperature.

Then transfer it to the refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours, or ideally overnight.

slice of cheesecake on plate beside larger cheesecake on parchment paper.
Enjoy a slice of this delicious Basque cheesecake!

Cut the cheesecake into slices and serve. Enjoy!

Storage Tips

Once cooked, the Basque cheesecake can be stored in the springform pan covered with plastic film or in a sealed container at room temperature for a day or in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

It also can be stored in the freezer (portioned) for up to 3 months. Whenever you want to eat a slice, just take the portion out and let it thaw before eating. 

FAQ

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about burnt cheesecake!

What is Basque cheesecake?

Basque cheesecake – also known as burnt cheesecake – is a type of baseless cheesecake that is creamy (or even runny) on the inside and browned (not actually burnt) on the top. It was created by the famous La Viña Restaurant in San Sebastián, in the Basque region of northern Spain.

What does Basque cheesecake taste like?

Basque cheesecake is creamy, eggy, sweet, and delicious. It is called burnt because the top is browned (not actually burnt). It is usually super creamy or even runny inside. 

How to make Basque cheesecake?

To make Basque cheesecake, combine eggs, sugar, cream cheese, flour, and heavy cream. Mix until smooth, then pour into a round springform pan lined with parchment paper. Bake the cheesecake at 395 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35 min (runnier), 40 min (creamy), or 45 minutes (fully cooked) and until the top is browned. Allow to cool in the oven, then at room temperature, then in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Related Recipes

If you liked this recipe for Basque cheesecake, here are some more Spanish recipes from all over the country that you might also enjoy!

slice of burnt cheesecake being removed from larger cake with spatula.

Basque Cheesecake

This classic burnt cheesecake – invented in the Basque region – is perfectly creamy on the inside and delightfully browned to perfection on the outside!
5 from 7 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Resting Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 6 slices

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy or whipping cream, at least 35% fat

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 395 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the sugar. Using an electric mixer or a whisk, mix until well combined.
    4 eggs, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • Add the cream cheese, flour and heavy cream and whisk again until smooth.
    2 cups cream cheese, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 1/3 cups heavy or whipping cream
  • Line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper, making sure that the paper extends above the rim of the pan. This will prevent the cheesecake from overflowing over while baking.
  • Pour the cake batter into the springform pan.
  • Bake the cheesecake in the oven at 395 degrees Fahrenheit with top and bottom heat. The baking time will depend on your preferred texture: about 35 minutes for runny, 40 minutes for creamy, and 45 minutes for fully cooked. Every oven cooks slightly differently, so your exact baking time may vary.
  • Once cooked and the top is golden brown, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake cool inside with the door slightly open.
  • When the cake has cooled noticeably, remove it from the oven and let it cool on the counter until it reaches room temperature. Transfer it to the refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours, or ideally overnight.

Notes

  • Flavors: The traditional version of the cheesecake is very simple. You can customize the flavor of the cheesecake by adding vanilla extract, lemon zest (about 2 tablespoons), or other ingredients, but this will not be authentic. 
  • Cheese: Philadelphia cream cheese is traditional, but you can use any neutral cream cheese or even mascarpone.
  • Mixing: There’s no need to mix the ingredients in any specific order or be extra cautious with the mixing. You can mix all the ingredients together at once, but make sure they are well combined and smooth. I prefer to mix the eggs and sugar first, then add the rest.
  • Parchment paper: You need to line the springform pan with parchment paper that is taller than the pan, so the cheesecake will not overflow while baking.
  • Baking Time: Every oven is different, so you may need to experiment a bit with the exact baking time.
  • Broiling: If your cheesecake does not look browned enough, you can broil it for a couple minutes at the end, but watch it carefully since it can burn very quickly!

Nutrition

Calories: 688kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 245mg | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 194mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 54g | Vitamin A: 1952IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 1mg

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Basque, Spanish
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This recipe was contributed by
Alba Luna Meyer
Born and raised in the Southeast of Spain, Alba is a photographer and a foodie. Always hungry for new flavors and recipes, but with a big passion for traditional recipes that speak about roots and family. You can always find her talking about food, photographing it, or cooking! Obviously, she is team “tortilla de patatas con cebolla”.

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