Burnt Cheesecake

The ever trending world popular Burnt Cheesecake from San Sebastián, Basque is Chef Santiago Rivera's creation for his restaurant, La Viña. I chose to title this as Burnt Cheesecake because I wouldn't know if this recipe is authentic or taste like the real one. As the inspired recreated recipes are out there for anyone on the web, I too baked one for my cheesecake-lover lover's birthday. 😍 

San Sebastián Basque Burnt Cheesecake

September is my favourite month as we have two reasons to celebrate - F's birthday and our engagement anniversary. I don't have any tradition around this but I try to make a new dish or we eat out. This year, I baked a cheesecake. 

F loves cheesecake is no secret but I have miserably failed in making a perfect one. Therefore, I resort to small portion strawberry cheesecake and simple parfaits. 😉I did try stove-top baking of New York Cheesecake in a mini pan and paper cups topped with kunafa pastry! It was best looking and tasting cheesecake I ever made but baking in a pressure cooker with a water bath etc. was too much of a hassle to try again.

But now that I have an oven, I had tried baking a classic cheesecake last year but the cake cracked on top and was done in less than 30mins when the recipe mentioned 1 hour! I was bewildered. 😕 Why? Why can't I make one dessert that my man loves! 

San Sebastián Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Long story short, I baked this Basque Burnt Cheesecake for my F's birthday and put to rest the fear of making cheesecake. Because as soon as I read the recipe, I knew it is a straightforward and easy one! But I didn't want to take any chances this time, so read three recipes - Bon Appetit, Laura Vitale and Food Wishes and made what worked for me and my kitchen. 

I had no intention to share the basque burnt cheesecake recipe as this was my first attempt and I had not done any prior research about the origin, authenticity, etc. But when I shared on Stories, a lot of you requested the recipe even though I credited the source. I definitely want to make this cheesecake again using a different recipe just to find which is better. InshaAllah.

On birthday eve, I started the prep when he walked into the kitchen and took over the mixer. Though I was not okay, I pretended to be happy. My heart was in my mouth thinking what if he makes a mess! I had no back-up plan either! But he was standing and holding the mixer like a pro. I let him have his moment. So technically, he made the batter, and the mighty oven baked the cheesecake - my contribution was procuring the ingredients and adding them to the bowl. 😁 

At this point, let me tell you my man is least interested in his bday celebrations and it was as if he was joining my celebration of his birthday! 🤣The cheesecake was cooled and ready to eat by 10pm! He reluctantly agreed to cut the cheesecake at 12am. Now, every minute seemed like an hour and I was getting restless with excitement. I caught him yawn and took that as a cue and remarked that we need to cut the cake now as he has office the next day! So we commenced his bday celebration at 10.45pm! 😂As soon as we took a bite, it was unbelievably out of this world delicious! So soft and melt in mouth cheesecake with the caramelized taste coming through the burnt element. This is the best tasting cheesecake I ever had! We could go on and eat more, but half-heartedly covered the cake with a large bowl in the fridge and went to sleep. Happy Birthday, booboo! 

Woke up on his bday fully charged because there is the world's best cheesecake waiting for us! 😋I took it out and let it come to room temperature while doing my photoshoot. We then had another share for brunch. We would have had the entire cake but I decided to share it with my friend and his fellow cheesecake lover - Reshmi. She and F always gift each other Cheesecake Factory's cheesecake slices. So, her feedback was truly needed! She mentioned that this was one of the yummiest cheesecake she ever had!😊

San Sebastián Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Ingredients for Basque Burnt Cheesecake

  1. cream cheese: I used the almarai squares. You may use cream cheese blocks sold at the cheese counter. Please do not use cream cheese spreads that come bottled or in the tub. 
  2. sugar: I used good old granulated white sugar.
  3. eggs: Use large eggs at room temperature. I have used 3 large eggs but you may use 2 large and 1 small. 
  4. whipping cream: We don't get heavy cream easily so I have used whipping cream and it should be cold to use. Do not be tempted to whip to stiff peaks! We don't need that here. 
  5. vanilla extract: this is to add flavour that will camouflage the egginess in the cake. 
  6. salt: a pinch or two would suffice. 
  7. plain flour: aka maida or all-purpose flour. Some recipe use cake flour. 

How I made this Burnt Cheesecake for F's Birthday 

This is a simple straightforward easy cheesecake recipe but yet these kinda recipes are the ones that many fail. Remember upma? :-) Make sure you read the recipe well before you attempt. The recipe process involves four stages and each one has important steps to execute. 

  1. prep the cake pan - grease and line with a large baking paper
  2. prepare the batter - mixing one egg at a time
  3. bake the cheesecake - until burnt brown and gold NOT black and charred
  4. serve the cheesecake - room temperature
San Sebastián Basque Burnt Cheesecake
 grease and line with a large baking paper

San Sebastián Basque Burnt Cheesecake
the batter

San Sebastián Basque Burnt Cheesecake
just out of the oven

San Sebastián Basque Burnt Cheesecake
sunk after cooling

San Sebastián Basque Burnt Cheesecake

San Sebastián Basque Burnt Cheesecake Recipe 

San Sebastian Basque Burnt Cheesecake has a stunning caramelized top and custardy centre. An easy decadent cheesecake recipe worth the time and the calories!

Makes one 8 inch cheesecake


  • 450gms cream cheese squares softened to room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup whipping cream, cold
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoon plain flour

* I like to unwrap each square and keep them in a large bowl to soften to room temperature. If you don't unwrap while still cold, the cream cheese tends to stick to the wrapper making you lose some of it. 


Prepare the cake pan:

The cake pan prep is crucial for this burnt cheesecake recipe as there is no crust and the batter is poured directly into the springform pan. 
  1. Grease the bottom and sides of a 7 or 8-inch springform pan with softened butter.
  2. Grease a large piece of baking paper with softened butter all over.
  3. Press this paper buttered side up into the pan making sure the paper comes at least 2-inch above the pan on all sides.
  4. Press another plain baking paper overlapping similarly to make sure every part inside the pan is covered with the baking paper neatly.
  5. Place the pan on a baking tray so you can easily slide in and out from the oven.
Prepare the cheesecake batter:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200℃. Use a handheld electric mixer or standing mixer to make the batter. 
  2. Add the softened cream cheese into a large bowl and beat to cream the cream cheese in medium speed for about a minute or until it is smoothed.
  3. Add the sugar and continue to whisk making sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and you have a very smooth with no lumps mixture. This will take about 2 minutes. 
  4. Next, add one egg at a time, beating each egg for less than 15 seconds or just until incorporated fully. Again, make sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Lastly, pour the heavy or whipping cream, salt, and vanilla extract and beat until combined for about 30 seconds. Your mixer job is done. 
  6. Sift the flour over the batter and fold with a rubber spatula until the batter is very smooth and silky. Tiny lumps of flour are OK, it will eventually dissolve while baking.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan. 
Bake the cheesecake:
  1. Carefully slide the tray into the lower middle rack of the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the top changes to burnt golden colour. The cheesecake would rise considerably tall. Keep an eye on the cake starting 35mins as each oven is different, yours may get done sooner or later. 
  2. Carefully remove the cheesecake from the oven, you will see it jiggle like jelly in the centre.
  3. Let it cool completely to room temperature. While cooling, the cheesecake will sink and that is perfectly ok. 
Serve Basque burnt cheesecake:
  1. Unmold the cheesecake from the pan by removing the outer ring of the springform pan and lift the cake with the excess baking paper and place it on the serving plate. 
  2. Peel away the baking paper from the sides of the cheesecake and you may use a scissor to trim the excess for aesthetic purpose. 
  3. Slice into wedges and serve at room temperature. You should serve this at room temperature which is the best way we loved or you may pop it in the fridge overnight completely covered and eat it cold or bring it to room temperature again before you serve any remaining cheesecake. 
  4. Store any leftover covered in the fridge for not more than 3 days. You may freeze the cheesecake wedges cling-wrapped in an airtight freezer container for not more than 2 weeks but I have not tried freezing yet. Or be kind and share some with your neighbour!
San Sebastián Basque Burnt Cheesecake

I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then please do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then please do share the recipe with your friends and family on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Please do follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchai so that I can see your creations!