This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy.
This San Sebastian cheesecake is famous for its burnt top and for being a crustless cheesecake. It has a creamy texture with a sweet and slightly burnt taste, perfect if you want a cheesecake but can’t handle too much richness. This recipe only needs 8 simple ingredients and no water bath is required!
Me and my family have a sweet tooth and love cheesecake. The richness, sweetness, and delicious combination of flavors in cheesecakes, like my key lime pie cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake, and triple chocolate cheesecake, are hard to resist. But there are times when too much of a good thing, and eating them every day, can be boring.
To spice things up and make my family love cheesecake again, it is necessary to introduce something that will cut the richness of the regular cheesecake. Then, I thought of San Sebastian cheesecake, which I haven’t made before.
I specially made this recipe for first-time San Sebastian cheesecake bakers. You’re welcome!
- Black forest cheesecake is like getting two desserts in one! Creamy chocolate cheesecake filling with a fresh cherry topping, Oreo crust and homemade whipped cream making for a perfect special occasion dessert.
- Calling all chocolate lovers with this Triple Chocolate Cheesecake recipe! It’s chocolate 3 ways in this dessert and it’s a cheesecake everyone is going to love.
- If you love Biscoff cookies, then try this Biscoff cheesecake made with Biscoff cookies and Biscoff cookie spread!
What Is San Sebastian Cheesecake?
San Sebastian cheesecake is also known as Spanish Basque cheesecake or burnt cheesecake. It is a crustless cheesecake with a creamy texture and scorched top.
Unlike your New York cheesecake, this Spanish cheesecake has a more pudding-like and smoother texture and consistency. When it comes to taste, San Sebastian cheesecake has a lighter and smoother taste, close to a custard or creme brulee, and is less heavy on the stomach. It is not too sweet and the scorched exterior adds a depth and slightly bitter, toasted flavor to the Basque cheesecake.
Why You’ll Love This San Sebastian Cheesecake
- Few Simple Ingredients – This burnt Basque cheesecake recipe only needs a few simple ingredients. It is perfect for first-time bakers or burnt Basque cheesecake makers.
- No Water Bath Required – The signature look of this San Sebastian cheesecake is its burnt top. It is made using high heat and doesn’t need a water bath, unlike New York-style cheesecake.
- Make Ahead Dessert – It is a perfect make ahead dessert. Prepare and make it on weekends and serve and enjoy throughout the week.
For this San Sebastian cheesecake recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
- Cream Cheese – I used a Philadelphia full-fat cream cheese block type to make this delicious cheesecake. Don’t use the tub type of full-fat cream cheese. For a better and smoother texture, go for blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese. Also, ensure your Philadelphia cream cheese is at room temperature before using it.
- Eggs – These should also be at room temperature. Place the eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes before using.
- Heavy Cream – The fat content of your heavy cream is crucial for making burnt Basque cheesecake. I used heavy cream with 36% to 38% fat content. Most whipping cream, double cream, and heavy cream contain at least 33% fat. If you are not sure about the fat content of your heavy cream, always check the label. Do not use half-n-half or milk, you want that richnesss.
- Granulated Sugar – I used white granulated sugar for this San Sebastian cheesecake. Your sugar should be fine to ensure it dissolves into your cream cheese. Other delicious cheesecake recipes use powdered sugar.
- Flour – I used all-purpose flour for this burnt Basque cheesecake. But you can also use cake flour. This will help thicken the cheesecake filling.
- Vanilla extract – A traditional Basque cheesecake doesn’t have vanilla, so this is optional but I love the extra flavor.
- Lemon zest – This is optional and will give the cheesecake extra flavor.
How To Make San Sebastian Cheesecake
Prepare all your ingredients first before you start making your San Sebastian cheesecake. Remember, all ingredients should be at room temperature, especially the full-fat cream cheese and eggs. You need to soften your cream cheese before using them in this burn Basque cheesecake recipe.
1. Preheat Oven
Preheat your oven to 425°F/218°C. This cheesecake bakes at a higher temperature than most regular cheesecakes which is what gives it that signature burnt look.
Prepare a 9-inch springform pan. Crush 2 large sheets of 2 parchment paper. The parchment paper should be bigger than the pan so there is overhang. Overlap the parchment paper and press at the bottom. Let the parchment paper stick at the top, at least 2 inches. There’s no need to make it look perfect! And there’s no need to grease the parchment paper.
2. Mix Ingredients
To make cheesecake batter, combine at room temperature cream cheese and sugar. Mix using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment at low speed. It will take about 2 to 3 minutes to fully incorporate cream cheese with sugar. Scrape the sides to ensure there are no lumps.
Add eggs, one at a time, to your cream cheese mixture while mixing your Basque cheesecake batter. Ensure the egg is incorporated well before adding another one.
When all the eggs are incorporated, add heavy cream. Mix for 30 seconds at low speed.
Lastly, add the flour, and vanilla and lemon zest if adding to your Basque cheesecake batter.
Pour the Basque cheesecake mixture into the prepared pan with parchment paper. Smoothen the top with a rubber spatula or the back of the spoon.
Bake cheesecake batter for about 40-45 minutes or until the top has a dark brown burnt color.
If your convection oven has a fan, place your Basque cheesecake mixture on the middle rack. But if your oven doesn’t have a fan, place it on the higher rack. Make sure there is enough space at the top of your cream cheese batter and the oven’s ceiling. The excess parchment paper shouldn’t touch the oven’s heating element.
Around 5 to 10 minutes before your Burnt basque cheesecake is about to finish baking, watch it carefully. Be careful not to overdo the burnt look.
5. Cool And Serve
When you are satisfied with how your burnt Basque cheesecake looks, pull it out of the oven and let the cheesecake cool for about an hour, then refrigerate until firm. It will take at least 4 hours.
After the cheesecake cool completely, leave the parchment paper so that it will not lose its shape.
You can serve it after cooling it or store it in your fridge to chill. To serve, carefully peel off the parchment paper and enjoy.
- Chocolate Version – Yes, this Spanish cheesecake recipe is very versatile. You can pour chocolate ganache on the baked cheesecake slices before serving.
- Flavors – You can add lemon zest, lemon juice, orange zest, vanilla extract, a bit of salt, or any flavorings you want. Don’t be afraid to try and experiment with new flavors on your San Sebastian cheesecake.
- Bake Less – If you love the soft and creamy cheesecake middle, you can bake your burnt cheesecake less. And to achieve that burnt look, turn on the broil setting of your oven to brown the top of your San Sebastian cheesecake. Keep an eye on it to prevent overburning.
- Toppings – You can add any sauce or toppings you have in your pantry such as fresh berries, caramel sauce or salted caramel sauce, whipped cream, cherry sauce, strawberry toppings, chocolate sauce, etc.
You can prevent cracking by avoiding overmixing your burnt cheesecake batter. When you mix at room temperature cream cheese mixture, air bubbles are trapped inside the batter. Tap the cake pan to remove air bubbles before baking. Another way is to avoid opening the oven’s door while your San Sebastian cheesecake is baking.
If your burnt Basque cheesecake has cracks, don’t worry! The cracks will fall and close as it cools down.
The San Sebastian cheesecake contains eggs and dairy. It is best to store cheesecake in the fridge. Place it in an airtight container to prevent contamination and to keep it fresh. It will last for up to 3 days.
Yes, you can freeze San Sebastian cheesecake.
Before freezing the whole burnt cheesecake, make sure it is cool completely. Then, remove the baking paper, place it on a freezer-safe plate, and freeze for about 1 to 2 hours. Remove from the freezer. wrap it with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and place it back in your freezer. For individual slices, wrap each one with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Frozen cheesecake can last up to 3 months.
To thaw frozen cheesecake, transfer it to your fridge and leave it there overnight. Let your cheesecake sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.
Use a sharp knife. Dip it in hot water and wipe it clean and dry with a towel. Then, slice your burnt Basque cheesecake. Repeat the process when the slices are becoming a little messy.
More Recipes To Try
San Sebastian cheesecake
- 40 ounces (5 8-ounce blocks) full-fat cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 ¾ cup (350 g) granulated sugar
- 7 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Prep oven and pan. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218℃) and line a 9" spring form pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper overlapping each other, making sure to leave 2" border of parchment paper extending from the top of the pan.
- Combine cream cheese and sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, place the cream cheese and sugar and beat on medium-high speed to combine.
- Add eggs. Add the eggs One at a time beating to combine.
- Add remaining ingredients. Add the salt, heavy cream, flour, vanilla extract, and lemon zest and beat until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Bake the cheesecake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake immediately until the sides of the cheesecake have risen up and set, about 40-45minutes. The top of the cheesecake will get very dark. The center of the cheesecake will still jiggly slightly and look soft.
- Cool and serve. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate the cake until completely chilled, at least 4 hours. When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the pan and peel back the parchment paper, and cut into slices.
- Storage: The San Sebastian cheesecake contains eggs and dairy. It is best to store cheesecake in the fridge. Place it in an airtight container to prevent contamination and to keep it fresh. It will last for up to 3 days.
- Freezing: Yes, you can freeze San Sebastian cheesecake. Before freezing the whole burnt cheesecake, make sure it is cool completely. Then, remove the baking paper, place it on a freezer-safe plate, and freeze for about 1 to 2 hours. Remove from the freezer. wrap it with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and place it back in your freezer. For individual slices, wrap each one with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Frozen cheesecake can last up to 3 months. To thaw frozen cheesecake, transfer it to your fridge and leave it there overnight. Let your cheesecake sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.