San Sebastian cheesecake is a famous cheesecake from Spain (Also known as Basque burnt cheesecake or La Viña cheesecake). This Spanish cheesecake is a delicious and wildly popular crustless cheesecake with a burnt top and a rich, creamy interior. It’s crustless and SO easy! No water bath needed.
- Why is it called a San Sebastian Cheesecake?
- Why you should make this San Sebastian Cheesecake:
- Ingredients you need for this:
- How do I prepare the pan for cheesecake San Sebastian?
- Method for making a La Vina cheesecake:
- How do you bake a San Sebastian cheesecake?
- How to store leftover cheesecake:
- What to serve with the cheesecake:
- La Vina cheesecake recipe tips and tricks:
- Recipe FAQs:
- For more delicious cheesecake recipes:
- San Sebastian Cheesecake
Why is it called a San Sebastian Cheesecake?
San Sebastian burnt cheesecake is creamy and rich on the inside, crustless, and has that signature very deep brown burnt top.
Also known as a burnt Basque cheesecake, this cheesecake is characterized by a burnt top that’s achieved by baking at a high temperature. This effectively caramelizes the top while keeping the inside creamy and custardy.
This Spanish cheesecake is said to have originated in the 1990’s in La Vina, a famous restaurant in the Basque region, by Chef Santiago Rivera. People pack the place to get a slice of this cheesecake- which is almost a mix of flan and cheesecake. Now you can recreate it at home! This is why it’s also referred to as the La Vina cheesecake.
Why you should make this San Sebastian Cheesecake:
It’s DELICIOUS. It’s actually a revelation. Once you’ve had burnt cheesecake, you won’t be able to remember your life before it.
It’s so easy! The fact that it’s crustless eliminates a step, and it doesn’t need to be baked in a water bath. You don’t need to worry about cracking!
All you do is mix together a handful of ingredients and pour into the cake pan and you’re set.
Burnt cheesecake holds up very well, tasting great even a few days after making, and it freezes very well.
Ingredients you need for this:
Cream cheese– I use Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature so that it incorporates well without lumps.
Eggs– a higher proportion of large eggs, because this is almost a custard like dish. I like to have my eggs at room temperature so they mix together well.
Vanilla extract– not all recipes call for this, but I feel the vanilla in this recipe helps temper any eggy flavor.
Heavy cream– this is essential for the richness of the cheesecake
A pinch of salt
Sugar- regular white sugar. This recipe is the perfect amount of sweet to my palette!
Flour– Sift this before adding to the batter so that you don’t get lumps.
How do I make San Sebastian cheesecake gluten free?
There’s so little flour in the recipe that it’s easily substituted for gluten free options. Try cornstarch, or gluten free all purpose flour. It’s a very simple swap and it’ll taste the same!
How do I prepare the pan for cheesecake San Sebastian?
To give the cheesecake it’s signature rustic look, you need to layer a springform pan with parchment paper that is sort of ruffled and folded to give the cheesecake dimpled edges.
It’s easy to do. You need to lightly butter your spring form pan, then cut two sheets of parchment paper out, enough that when you press the parchment paper into the pan, you’ll have at least 2 inches extended above the rim of the pan.
Press the first piece of paper into the pan, butter this paper lightly, then the second overlapping on top. You can see how I do this in the video in the recipe card.
This is because the cheesecake will rise quite a lot while baking (then fall), so you don’t want overflow. The parchment paper serves to catch the batter.
Method for making a La Vina cheesecake:
- First step, preheat the oven. You want the oven very hot when you place the cheesecake in it, so you get the burnt top.
- Next, prepare your pan with parchment paper as described above.
- In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (a whisk attachment if fine if you don’t have the paddle), cream together the softened cream cheese with the sugar.
- Then, add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and salt. Stream in the heavy cream.
- Next, you sift in the flour, and fold until combined. Pour the batter in the pan and bake!
- After baking, let the cheesecake cool completely on the counter. Traditionally, it’s eaten at room temperature, but I like to chill it after it’s come to room temperature for several hours, and eat it cold like a traditional cheesecake.
How do you bake a San Sebastian cheesecake?
As stated above, make sure that the oven is on a very high heat. Bake for 60-65 minutes. You’ll know the cheesecake is done when the top has burnt (it’s a dark brown, almost black in some places), and the edges have puffed up and set, but the center is still jiggly if you shake the pan. You’ll bake it on a rack slightly above the middle rack.
If you over bake, you risk the eggs curdling and the cheesecake having a scrambled egg texture in some places. Under bake, and it might be too wet and unset in the center.
Make sure that your oven is at the correct temperature, and use the 1 hour bake time as a guideline, and you should have a perfectly baked cheesecake that’s burnt on top and set, but still creamy on the inside.
If you don’t have that signature color on the top at the end of the bake, you can carefully broil the top for a minute or two but keep a very close eye on it! As soon as it gets to the desired color remove from the oven.
How to store leftover cheesecake:
Leftover cheesecake will last up to 5 days in the fridge.
This also freezes beautifully tightly covered for up to 6 months. I suggest slicing the remaining cheesecake before freezing, so that when you thaw, you can thaw out individual slices at a time. Frozen cheesecake slices thaw quickly in the fridge.
What to serve with the cheesecake:
I like this plain. It’s perfection! Alternately, you can serve with salted caramel sauce, or what’s very popular in the Middle East, a melted chocolate sauce. You can also serve with berry compote or fresh berries.
La Vina cheesecake recipe tips and tricks:
- Make sure the cream cheese, eggs, and cream are at room temperature. Take them out of the fridge 45 minutes or so before starting the recipe.
- Don’t overmix the batter to keep it light and fluffy. Just mix each step until just combined.
- Make sure your oven is preheated before starting to mix. Start preheating at least 30-45 minutes before the cheesecake is going to go in. Don’t be scared of the burnt top. It won’t taste burnt, it’ll taste caramelized and delicious, similar to creme brûlée!
- Don’t over bake or under bake. After an hour of baking, for a burnt top, set edges, and a center that still jiggles. It’ll set further as it cools down.
- Keep the cheesecake in it’s parchment paper until completely cool so that it holds its shape.
The top will be a dark golden brown, and if you shake the pan, the outermost edge is set, but the center will still be a little jiggly. You don’t want it to be completely set or else it might start to curdle and it’ll loose that creamy texture in the middle.
Dip a sharp knife in hot water, then wipe it clean with a kitchen towel. Repeat between slices if the cheesecake starts to get a little messy.
It’s been attributed to a few well known places who went viral for their decadent videos of the creamy rich cheesecake being enjoyed. Social media influencers played a big part in spreading the news about this dessert! Now Istanbul travel guides even have lists of cafes serving San Sebastian.
Basque cheesecake is crustless, burnt on top, doesn’t need a water bath and has a very specific creamy texture in the middle and set exterior and caramelized top. Normal cheesecake usually has a crust, is baked in a water bath, and is either pale or very light golden brown on top. It’s all in the bake!
For more delicious cheesecake recipes:
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card and a comment!
San Sebastian Cheesecake
- 28 ounces cream cheese, softened 800 g
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 300 g
- 6 room temperature eggs
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 1 2/3 cups heavy whipping cream, room temperature 400 g
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour 30 g
- Preheat oven to 400 F 205 C), making sure oven rack is placed in the center of the oven. Lightly grease a 9 inch springform pan, and layer with a sheet of parchment paper. Lightly butter this parchment paper sheet, then place another sheet of parchment paper overlapping the first. The paper should come up the sides of the pan by 2-3 inches. They might be crumply and uneven, that's good for the rustic cheesecake look!
- Beat softened cream cheese and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low, then slowly stream in the heavy cream, and add salt.
- Turn off the mixer, sift in the flour, and fold it into the batter until combined.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until top has burn to the color in the photos, the edges are set, but the center still has a jiggle to it.
- Let the cheesecake cool on the counter until it comes to room temperature, then either enjoy at room temperature, or my preference, let it chill for another few hours in the fridge and eat it cold.