Slice of burnt Basque cheesecake

Burnt Basque cheesecake recipe: San Sebastian's iconic dessert

With its imperfect, rustic demeanour and rich, creamy taste, you'd be forgiven for thinking that burnt Basque cheesecake has a long and rural history. In fact, it has a modern origin, first appearing in La Viña in San Sebastian, a town renowned for serving some of the best food in Spain.

In just 30 years, burnt Basque cheesecake has become incredibly popular and well known around the world. In San Sebastian, you can even do a local food tour which includes Basque cheesecake.

The recipe is simple to make and delicious with the imperfect, burnt top of the cake lending the dessert a distinctive hint of caramel. There are only a few ingredients, so use high quality ones where you can, and don't forget to remove it from the oven before it's completely firm.

You can eat the cheesecake as soon as it cools down to room temperature and that's generally what happens in our house (I find the texture a bit silkier), however, most recipes advise giving it a bit more time to cool completely. Chill for a few hours in the fridge before cutting, then allow it to return to room temperature before serving.


  • 500g high-quality cream cheese (natural)
  • 200ml whipping cream
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • pinch of salt


  1. 1
    Preheat the oven to 220˚ C
  2. 2
    Grease a 20cm round cake tin with butter, then line with baking paper. Ensure the baking paper reaches to around 2cm higher than the side of the cake tin.
  3. 3
    In a mixer, combine the sugar, vanilla and cream cheese and beat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  4. 4
    Add the eggs one at a time, fully mixing in each egg before adding the next one.
  5. 5
    Add the remaining ingredients and mix until just combined.
  6. 6
    Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for around 35 minutes, or until the cake is brown and still wobbly in the centre. If the cake looks a bit burnt around the edges, don't worry. The edges may also soften slightly as it cools.
  7. 7
    Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature before serving. It may fall slightly as it cools. For a firmer cheesecake, put in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours. It’s easiest to slice the cake just out of the fridge, however it tastes best at room temperature.

Share this article

Roxanne de Bruyn

Author - Roxanne de Bruyn

Roxanne is the founder and editor of Faraway Worlds. She is a freelance writer and guidebook author and has written for several travel publications, including Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor and The Culture Trip. With a background in communications, she has studied ancient history, comparative religion and international development, and has a particular interest in sustainable tourism.

Originally from South Africa, Roxanne has travelled widely and loves learning the stories of the places she visits. She enjoys cooking, dance and yoga, and usually travels with her husband and young son. She is based in New Zealand.

Last Updated 28 June 2023

Frigiliana, a white Andalusia Village with view of the Costa del Sol Spain


On the southern tip of Europe, Spain is renowned for its beautiful beaches, vibrant cities and fascinating history.