This no-crust, no-fuss san sebastian cheesecake features a caramelized top and creamy, custard-like interior. Burnt basque cheesecake can be prepped in 15 minutes with just six ingredients and one bowl!
Forget all you know about making the perfect cheesecake! San sebastian cheesecake is baked at a high temperature for a deliciously caramelized top that contrasts perfectly with the smooth inside. The simple cake will puff up in the oven and then sink back down as it cools. And what about cracks? With that flavor and texture — who cares! This rustic beauty is perfect in its imperfections.
What is San Sebastian Cheesecake?
San Sebastian (or Donostia in the basque language) is a coastal city nestled in the northern corner of Spain in Basque Country. The region is known for its beautiful beaches, charming towns and incredible food!
And one of our favorite foods to come out of the region is this cheesecake developed by La Viña restaurant in San Sebastian. Its popularity has exploded in recent years and you can now find it in bakeries and cafes worldwide.
The cake is simplicity at its finest and made with just five ingredients: cream cheese, sugar, heavy cream, eggs and flour. Other than a pinch of salt for balance, we’ve kept our version close to the original La Viña cheesecake recipe.
San Sebastian Cheesecake vs. American Style Cheesecake
Here’s how san sebastian cheesecake differs from the cheesecakes we generally make in our kitchen:
- Crust: San sebastian cheesecake is technically crustless, although the outer edges of the batter caramelize to form a natural crust. Additionally, the springform pan is lined with parchment paper, which gives the cake a rustic feel as opposed to the smooth edges of traditional cheesecakes.
- Flavor: The cheesecake is still rich and creamy, but has a more custard-like flavor.
- Texture: This cheesecake is less dense than a traditional american cheesecake. It has a smooth, light and airy texture.
- Baking temperature: American style cheesecake is traditionally baked at a lower temperature. San sebastian cheesecake is baked at a high temperature for a beautifully caramelized top.
Making the Cheesecake
The cheesecake batter can be made in four easy steps:
- Beat together the cream cheese and sugar until the mixture is smooth and the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the eggs, beating after each addition.
- Pour in the heavy cream and salt. Mix until combined.
- Sift the flour into the batter (this will prevent any lumps) and mix until fully incorporated.
Then just pour into a springform pan lined with parchment paper and bake!
Expert Tips and Tricks
Before you get started, here are a few expert tips to make sure your cheesecake is a success!
- While it’s often called burnt basque cake, the top of the cheesecake shouldn’t actually be burnt but rather caramelized.
- Baking times can vary significantly from oven to oven. Your cheesecake may require anywhere from 50-70 minutes of baking time. The finished cheesecake will wobble quite a bit. If you’re unsure whether the cake is cooked through you can check the internal temperature which should be 155°F (68°C) in the middle.
- Make sure your springform pan is at least 3 inches (7.5 cm) tall. The cake will rise in the oven and then sink back down as it sets.
- To easily line your pan with parchment paper, first sprinkle water over the parchment paper and crinkle it into a ball. Uncrinkle and allow to dry before lining the pan. This will make the parchment paper more pliable and easier to work with.
San Sebastian Cheesecake: FAQs
A 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan works best for this recipe. You could also use a similar sized cake pan — just be careful lifting the cheesecake out of the pan. It might be a two person job!
A good glass of sherry is the perfect complement to this rich and decadent cheesecake!
Leftover san sebastian cheesecake can be covered in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
This cheesecake can be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, wrap the cheesecake or cheesecake slices in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. Please note, while the cheesecake will still taste delicious after freezing, it will lose some of its light and airy texture.
Looking for more cheesecake inspiration? Check out these recipes!
- Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
- Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes
- Apple Crumble Cheesecake
- Toblerone Cheesecake
- Mini Mocha Cheesecakes + White Chocolate Kahlua Ganache
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