Thursday, 14 November 2019

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

This cheesecake is the signature dish of the La Vina restaurant in San Sebastian, located in the northern Basque country of Spain. Whilst most locals know this as the epicurian region of Donostia,  famed for it's pintxos, pronounced "Pinchtoz", a kind of tapas, this cheescake is the signature dish of the La Vina restaurant, located in the narrow alleyways  of the old town of San Sebastian .

Recently a friend of mine holidayed in San Sebastian and ate Burnt Basque cheesecake which she said proudly, tasted just like the one she  makes quite regularly from this recipe in Matt Preston's COOK BOOK of 187 recipes. He says in the book he was given the recipe by the owner of the La Vina restaurant, Santiago Rivera, and after a few tweeks he is happy that this cheesecake tastes just like La Vina's masterpiece, and is unlike any cheescake he's had anywhere else in the world. The surface is glossy dark, and yet inside is creamy and soft. You are allowed to burn it just a little bit. It's a winner my friends.

When I think of beautiful San Sebastian, I think of food of course, as I attended an incredible Basque Cooking Masterclass there five years ago with my daughter Miss S. She is now Mrs. S. It was held by SSF San Sebastian Food in a fully fitted out underground kitchen. Mr. HRK decided to climb hills and take photos instead.  Miss S and I had an amazing time, we loved it,  and were the only two in the class, such fun. I've just found the recipe book from the class again, called the Basque Cooking Masterclass and am feeling inspired to cook another dish from the class in the not too distant future, so stay tuned for that. Here are a couple of photos taken at our Spanish cooking class.

This is the beautiful Miss S. in the foreground doing some preparation with one of our chefs cooking in the background.

The temperature rose in the kitchen when our chef started to flambe prawns in whisky. They were delicious.

Below is an authentic San Sebastian pintxos, named The Gilda, one of the most famous pintxos ever. It appears on every bar in San Sebastian and was named after Rita Hayworth's title character in the 1946 film. The ingredients are Anchovy fillets, green pitted olives, guindilla or pickled green peppers, eaten with toothpicks. We made some of these at the cooking class. Then I made them a few months after we returned from Spain and they were delicious. The Gilda recipe didn't make it to the blog so I should rectify that.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

So here I have an amazing and very easy authentic Spanish cheesecake recipe for you to try on the weekend, if you feel like spoiling yourself with something soothing and not so sweet. Honestly it doesn't taste too sweet at all and is a cinch to whip up, doesn't need too many ingredients, and has an interesting story attached, don't you think? I love it, and I know you will too.


600 g cream cheese, at room temperature
4 large range free eggs
300 ml double cream
260 g sugar
3/4 tablespoon flour

Let's cook:

Preheat your oven to 220 deg. C. Line a 23cm springform cake pan with baking paper, ensuring that the paper is at least 3 cm above the tin. The cake will rise like a souffle during cooking.  Don't be too disappointed when it falls, it still looks and tastes great.

Leave the cream cheese out of the refrigerator the night before if you think of it, otherwise just let it lose it's chill so that it mixes up quickly. Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of your electric mixer until it is smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each one into the cream cheese before adding the next one.

Meanwhile in a separate bowl combine the cream, sugar and flour. When all the eggs have been added to the cream cheese by your mixer, add the cream mixture and beat until your mixture is smooth and lump free. Ensure the cream cheese at the bottom of your mixer bowl is completely mixed in.

Pour the mixture into your lined cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. The cake will still be wobbly in the middle but if a skewer inserted through the middle comes out clean the cake is ready. However if it is cracking slightly across the surface, it should be cooked.

Now here's the interesting thing. Your cheesecake should have an authentic, glossy brown Basque crust on top looking slightly burnt, but be careful not to let it burn.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool before removing it from the cake pan.

The cake is best eaten on the same day of making it. However the next day after being refrigerated, leftovers still taste amazing.

To serve:

I served the cheescake with chopped strawberries macerated for a few hours in balsamic vinegar. A delicious contrast of flavours. Apologies I have no photos of the finished product with strawberries, I was just keen to get it to the table and forgot about a photo. Next time.

Thanks for dropping by,

Best wishes



  1. Burnt cheesecake sounds and looks incredibly yummy and irresistible with that shiny surface.

    1. Yes it's quite amazing how it looks burnt but isn't really. It certainly is yummy.Thanks Angie

  2. Pauline that looks absolutely delicious. It reminds me of the recipe for Creme Caramel that Rhonda from Down to Earth just put on Instagram. You are such a great cook.

    1. Thanks Chel, I just enjoy it really.I must start looking at Instagram, it is a bit of a mystery to me.

  3. Replies
    1. Yes it was an absolutely wonderful experience and no pressure from the chefs at all.Thanks Tandy

  4. Oh yum, I love any type of chesecakes! Polish ones are a tiny bit different in texture, but also incredible☺ Btw I am following, have a lovely weekend ☺

    1. Thanks so much Natalia I really appreciate that you keep in touch.

  5. this looks just beautiful pauline. it looks a bit like a japanese one i just saw on a blog recently. the blogger put the wrong cooking temp. and wondered why everyone was asking about it?! so i told her what was wrong. i couldn't believe it cos she had just had a cookbook published. how could she not know the diff. between fan forced oven temps and ordinary?? eek! i won't be buying her book tho i do try to support fellow bloggers. goodness i'm rambling on... anyway great looking cheesecake! and how ab fab that you took a class in san sebastian. i'm so jelly:-) cheers sherry

    1. Yes it was just the best cooking class and also a great tour of San Sebastian included. Fab place. Thanks Sherry

  6. I've had this dish, but never made it. I love any and all cheesecakes so I do need to make this, don't I? :-) This looks wonderful -- thanks.

    1. Thanks Kitchen Riffs, I think is is an amazing cheesecake which suits most tastes and fun to make.

  7. I love cheesecake. Great recipe :)


Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really enjoy hearing from you.
If you would like to receive follow up comments, simply click the "Notify me" link to the right of the "Publish" and "preview" buttons.
Comments containing personal or commercial links will not be published.
(c)2014-2022 Copyright on articles and photographs by Hope Pauline McNee