San Sebastian Cheesecake

April 07, 2022

San Sebastian Cheesecake

Fall in love with this perfectly light, creamy and smooth crustless Spanish cheesecake.

What is San Sebastian cheesecake?  

San Sebastian cheesecake or ‘Burnt Basque’ cheesecake, as it is also known, is a decadent and delicious dessert that is adored across the world. 

Undoubtedly one of the most indulgent and creamy cheesecake variations in existence, we’re obsessed with its irresistible taste, deep golden-brown colour, and the fact that it is so wonderfully easy to make.

A traditional Spanish recipe that originates from the town of San Sebastian in the Basque region of Northern Spain, it stands out from the crowd due to its unusual and almost burnt-like appearance. 

Totally crustless, the cake is cooked at very high temperature to ensure that the outside achieves its striking dark shade, and that the middle remains incredibly soft, creamy and dreamlike. 

An exciting alternative to the classic American cheesecake, the slight bitterness of the barely-set caramelised top pairs beautifully with the sweet richness of the custardy centre. 

Key ingredients  

As mentioned above, San Sebastian cheesecake is meant to be rich, sumptuous and creamy. Therefore, it’s essential that you make it with high-quality, full-fat dairy products such as Paysan Breton 35% Cream and Paysan Breton Cream Cheese. 

Indeed, this isn’t a recipe that works well as a low-fat version. Low-fat cream cheese contains a lot of water and this will stop your baked cheesecake from forming its pleasantly wobbly and ultra-satisfying consistency. The extra fat in the cream is also essential for creating its iconic and much-loved creamy texture. 

Adding vanilla extract helps accentuate the utterly addictive custard-like flavour, while choosing a reliable and versatile flour such as T55 Tradition ensures that your stunning creation will set properly and not be too dry or runny in the middle.

Using room-temperature cream cheese, eggs and cream, rather than throwing them in straight from the fridge, also makes it easier to create an even finish.

Top tips from our chef

As you may have gathered already, a successful San Sebastian cheesecake is all down to achieving the perfect creamy texture.

This process can be helped by adding your eggs one at a time, and mixing well after each addition to make sure that they are completely incorporated. This will create the blissful, melt-in-the-mouth consistency that all your family, friends and dinner guests will love.

Lining your tin with baking parchment and leaving at least two centimetres hanging over the rim will also make your life so much easier when it comes to removing your finished cake (and save hassle with the washing up, too).  

Plus, before you take the plunge and pop it in the oven, leave the batter to cool for a while and sprinkle the top with sugar to further boost your gorgeous golden-brown finish.

Perhaps most importantly, don’t be afraid to ramp your oven up high to 220C. This high temperature is essential for creating the signature brown top, and forming the crust-like edges that hold it all together.

However, make sure you don’t overcook your cheesecake. Take it out when it looks set around the edges but is still ‘jiggly’ in the middle. If the cake looks a bit burnt around the rim, don’t worry as it will most likely soften slightly as it cools. 

Finally, allow time for your magnificent cheesecake to cool first at room temperature, and then in the fridge for two to three hours, before serving to your eager guests. 

The cake is easiest to slice when it’s straight out of the fridge, however our chefs suggest that it tastes best when eaten at room temperature. 

For added flair and presentation points, you can always serve it adorned with a few fresh berries, or a scoop of ice cream. 


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