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Burnt Basque cheesecake

Sat, 3 June, 2023

Have you ever tasted a dessert that's so good it makes you want to dance? That's what burnt Basque cheesecake does to me.

burnt basque cheesecake

What is the history of burnt Basque cheesecake?

This unique dessert originated in the Basque Country of Spain and has become popular around the world. Unlike traditional cheesecake, burnt Basque cheesecake is baked at a high temperature until the top is caramelized while the centre remains creamy. The result is a rich and decadent pudding that is perfect for any occasion.

The history of burnt Basque cheesecake is as rich as its flavour. It was first created in the 1990s by chef Santiago Rivera of La Viña restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain.

The recipe was inspired by the traditional Basque dessert called ‘gazta tarta’, which translates to ‘cheese cake’. However, Rivera wanted to create something that was less sweet and more rustic. He experimented with different ingredients and baking techniques until he came up with the perfect recipe for burnt Basque cheesecake.

creamy burnt basque cheesecake

How is Basque cheesecake different from classic cheesecake?

The secret to making burnt Basque cheesecake is in the baking process.

The cheesecake is baked in a relatively hot oven so the top surface is scorched, ‘burnt’, while the centre retains creaminess. This creates a unique texture that's both crispy and creamy at the same time.

The cheesecake is also made with fewer ingredients than traditional cheesecakes. It's made with cream cheese, double or sour cream, sugar, eggs, and flour. The result is rich and decadent that's perfect for any occasion.

easy burnt cheesecake

What are some variations of burnt Basque cheesecake?

Burnt Basque cheesecake has become so popular around the world that there are now many variations of the recipe.

Some people add different flavours like chocolate or matcha to the cheesecake batter. Others add various toppings like fresh fruit or whipped cream.

There is even a recipe version with pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves to make a pumpkin spice Basque cheesecake.

But no matter how you make it, burnt Basque cheesecake is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

nigellas burnt cheesecake

What are some tips for making burnt Basque cheesecake?

Nigella Lawson, whom I trust implicitly with, not my life but much more importantly with my food, is the source of my recipe.

Instead of her liquorice sauce however I have decided to make a simple raspberry compote for my cheesecake. Liquorice is not my beloved flavour, to put it mildly, and even Nigella won’t convince me otherwise.

raspberry compote

But the tips she includes in the recipe, which I shall religiously repeat here, are incredibly useful and important.

- Use a double layer of baking parchment to protect from leaks and provide extra height and support to the cheesecake.

lined cake tin

- Be sure your cream cheese is softened and both the cheese, the cream and the eggs are at room temperature before you start mixing the batter. Otherwise it will remain lumpy and won’t mix evenly.

cheesecake ingredients

- Beat the eggs in one at a time, waiting for each one to be fully incorporated before adding the next.

- Tap the tin with batter firmly against the worktop, to remove air bubbles.

cheesecake batter

- Use high heat to bake the cheesecake turning the oven up to 200C/400F; with the fan in your oven on if it’s available.

- Bake it until the top is risen evenly above the tin, like a souffle. 

when is burnt cheesecake ready

- Do not under any circumstances use wax paper. Wax paper contains wax that can melt and ruin your cheesecake.

burnt cheesecake

More Basque recipes

Gâteau Basque is a traditional pastry from the Basque region of France. Basque cake is a rich, buttery tart, plain or filled with cherries, prunes or pastry cream.

Piperade is the Basque take on ratatouille with the heat of espelette pepper. This recipe is easy and simple, like a lot of best things in life.

Mouchous, traditional macarons Basques, easier to make than the Parisian variety but just as delicious though presented individually and quite rustic compared to Paris macarons.

san sebastian burnt cheesecake

Burnt Basque cheesecake

Servings: 8-12Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


  • For the cheesecake:
  • 600g (22 oz.) full fat cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 175g (¾ cup plus 2 tbsp) caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 300ml (1¼ cups) sour cream (at room temperature)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 25g (2 tbsp) cornflour
  • For the raspberry compote:
  • 250g (2 cups) raspberries
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • a squeeze of lemon juice


1. Heat the oven to 200C fan if possible/400°F.

2. Line a 20cm/8-inch springform tin with 2 sheets of baking parchment so it overhangs on all sides.

3. Beat the cream cheese with the sugar in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment or with a handheld mixer for at least 3 minutes, until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

4. Continue beating while pouring in the sour cream.

5. Turn the speed down and add the cornflour, a spoonful at a time.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and tap the tin firmly against the worktop several times to get rid of air bubbles.

7. Bake for 50-55 minutes until the top is browned and it rises up evenly above the tin, like a souffle.

8. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. It will sink significantly in the middle.

9. To make the raspberry compote, turn the oven up to 230C/450F/gas 7.

10. Place the raspberries in an ovenproof dish, more or less in a single layer, and sprinkle with the sugar.

11. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and drizzle with lemon juice. Leave to cool.

12. The cheesecake can be cut after 3 hours, and it’s best on the day of baking. Serve with the raspberry compote, and keep any leftovers in the fridge up to 2 days.

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Your comments

Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Eileen - it tastes amazing as well, I promise!
2 years ago
Eileen Goulter
Looks amazing
2 years ago

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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