Classic Burnt Basque Cheesecake (La Viña Style Cheesecake), the easiest cheesecake ever and it’s (almost) impossible to mess up! This recipe makes a light, creamy and melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake that it’s among my top 3 (even if there’s no crust base involved!). If you have always been hesitant to bake a cheesecake at home… this is your recipe!
Just 1 year ago today I shared my version of La Viña cheesecake on Instagram. Two weeks later it went viral and the growth spurt lasted until mid-November, which meant that this burnt Basque cheesecake became my first viral recipe. It has more than 3M views to date and at that time only had 5k followers! Instagram made it so viral that even a very popular Spanish influencer, Laura Escanes, saw it and made it (which contributed to even more people watching the video and thus the viralisation continued).
The truth is that I couldn’t believe it, because social media is so random: it took 2 weeks from the posting date to build up on the views, so who would have thought that it’d work when I posted it. And just a week before I was chatting with my friends and partner that ‘d never grow on Insta lol. One really never knows what to expect, if you’re going to grow, if people are going to engage with your content or not… Regardless, I always give my all because even if it’s not my job, it’s MY personal project (with its good days, and bad days, I’m not going to lie).
A year later, here I am, sharing more recipes and with a new website where I can explain the recipes much better. Here I have all the space in the world to share tricks, tips, step-by-steps in great detail… And of course, social media continues to be a mystery to me XD.
But anyways, to the point, to celebrate the anniversary of this cake I wanted to upload the recipe on the blog so that you can always find it easily. I’ve retrieved all the questions that were asked in the video to make sure I didn’t miss anything, so I hope you’ll be encouraged to make it because I’m sure it’ll turn out great and you’ll make everyone fall in love with it, you’ll see!
The History of La Viña Cheesecake
Today’s cheesecake recipe is based on the popular recipe from La Viña, a pintxos bar in San Sebastián, Spain, that focuses on traditional northern Spanish cuisine. Around 1990s they started to serve today’s famous cheesecake, which was the result of some cheesecake tests carried out by the son of the owners at the time (now that son is the owner). The cheesecake became very popular around Spain before it became famous worldwide.
A few years later it would become popular in Malaysia, Turkey (where they’d call it San Sebastián Cheesecake), Japan and Korea. It wasn’t until 2018-2019 that it also became very popular in the United States, where it’s known as Burnt Basque Cheesecake. So famous did it become that in 2021 the The New York Times declared it flavour of the year.
Classic Burnt Basque Cheesecake Ingredientes
One of the keys to the success of this recipe from my point of view is that it only requires 5 ingredients (no biscuit base, no jam, no flavourings…), and they are ingredients that you probably already have at home or that you can get at any groceries around the corner.
- Cream cheese: it is important to use full-fat for the perfect creamy texture.
- Sugar: it’s a sweet dessert right? 😛
- Double cream: or whipping cream with a minimum fat content of 35%. It adds even more creaminess to the cheesecake.
- Eggs: they add unctuousness.
- Flour: it acts as a binder, making the cheesecake a tad denser (not so runny). You can omit it for an even more liquid result or substitute it with cornstarch to make it gluten-free.
In my Classic Burnt Basque Cheesecake version I have kept the same ingredients as in the original la Viña Cheesecake recipe, but I have adjusted the quantities a bit. In la Viña they use more sugar, but for me it is too cloying so I reduced the amount. On the other hand, they use 7 eggs, but they do not indicate the size, so after some tests if they are L (large) I concluded that 5 are the perfect amount and it gives a consistent result.
Tips and Tricks to Make the Best Burnt Basque Cheesecake
This classic burnt basque cheesecake is really super easy to make and it’s almost impossible to mess up. I’ve never heard from anybody that tried this recipe and said that it hasn’t been a success! Even so, I wanted to share a couple of tips and tricks about how to adjust the final texture of the cheesecake so that you can play with them and get the texture that you like the most:
- Beating the cream in: when you add the cream, the more you whisk the mixture, the more you will whip the cream and you will see that the batter gets consistency and volume. As a consequence, for the same baking time, the more you have beaten the batter, the thicker it will be when you pour it into the baking tin, and you will have a more sort of fluffy-creamy result. The less you beat it, the more liquidy the batter will be when you pour it into the cake tin and the more unctuous-creamy the cheesecake will be at the end.
- Baking time: this mainly affects how the centre of the cheesecake will turn out once it has cooled down completely. The less time you leave the cake in the oven, the runnier the centre will be. The longer, the more homogeneous the texture will be from the edges to the centre.
Frequently Asked Questions
The cheesecake turns out super runny, is this expected?
First of all, when you bake a Burnt Basque cheesecake, it’s expected to have a very jiggly centre when you remove the cheesecake from the oven. As it cools, the cheesecake will set, and even more so in the fridge. If after the resting time has passed, you cut it and it is very runny, then it may be due to one the following reasons:
- You may have used single cream (cream with 18% fat content) instead of whipping or double cream (cream with a minimum of 35% fat content) .
- You may have beaten the double cream for a very short period of time. The more you beat this mixture, the denser the texture will be because you are incorporating air into the batter as the cream whips up. The less you whip it, the more liquidy the mixture will be when you bake it, and so will the result.
- If you used the right cream, you’ve whipped the cream so that the batter has taken on a bit of consistency and you still get a liquidy result, it may be that the temperature of the oven was not the right one, so for the same amount of time, the batter will be less cooked. Ovens often dial poorly, so I always use an independent oven thermometer.
The top of the cheesecake doesn’t get golden or browns too much, what am I doing wrong?
If the top of the cheesecake hasn’t browned at all, it could be that the oven temperature is lower than what is indicated in the recipe (let me suggest again that you consider getting an oven thermometer, they are really cheap!).
If it’s a little brown but you’d like it even more, you can turn on the grill and bake the cheesecake for a couple of more minutes or so until it reaches the color you’re after.
If it’s too brown, it could be either because the temperature is too high or because you have placed the cheesecake on a too high rack. If you see that the surface is getting too brown before the 40 minutes mark, you can cover the cheesecake with aluminum foil. If you typically bake the cheesecake on the middle rack, try baking it at the level just below (this is often necessary in smaller ovens).
Can I flavour the cheesecake with vanilla for instance?
Sure you can, this is a very versatile cake. I love it with vanilla, and seeing vanilla speckles in the cake is beautiful. A girl also told me that she added the juice of 1 lemon at the end and that it turned out fantastic (you can try it with lemon zest or another citrus fruit too). Let your imagination get wild!
Can I add a biscuit base?
If you’re one of those people that considers that a biscuit base is a must in a cheesecake recipe, please go ahead. For a 23 cm cake tin I would recommend using:
- 200 g marie biscuits, digestive, graham crackers or speculoos biscuits (which taste amazing), finely crushed
- 150 g unsalted butter, melted
Mix both ingredients and put them on the base, pressing the mixture well so that when you serve the cheesecake it doesn’t crumble down.
Can I add other cheeses to the batter?
Yes! You can add cheeses such as Idiazábal, Roquefort, Brie… If you use a creamy or crumbly variety of cheese such as Roquefort, melt it first with some of the recipe double cream. If you use more cured cheese varieties like Idiazábal, grate the cheese very finely.
Why does some water appear while in the fridge?
Before refrigerating the cheesecake, it must be completely cooled down. Otherwise, when you place it into the fridge the sudden temperature change will make the water inside the cheesecake condense. Consequently, you may see some water drops on the top of the cheesecake and at the base.
If it happened, the cheesecake is still edible and as delicious, it’s just the appearance that doesn’t look as nice. Use some kitchen paper to gently dry the water.
Keep in mind, by the way, that in summer, if it is very hot, even if the cake is already at room temperature when you put it in the fridge, there may be condensation.
Can I divide the mixture into two cake tins and make two smaller ones? Or cut the ingredients in half to make just one small?
Of course, but then use a 15-18cm spring form cake tin :). Since the recipe calls for 5 eggs, when you divide it by 2 you will need 2.5. Use 2 eggs, weigh a third one, beat it, and add only the initial weight divided by 2 (use the leftovers in an omelet for dinner for example).
Why do you use so little flour?
As mentioned in the ingredients section, in this recipe the flour plays a consistency-adjuster role. It is not used to bind the ingredients in the same way you’d do in a sponge cake.
Why do you use 2 parchment paper sheets?
If your cake tin, like mine, has a height shorter than 10 cm, the paper helps to lengthen the walls (besides preventing the cake from sticking to the tin). This cheesecake rises a lot in the oven, so using 2 parchment papers ensures we have extra wall on all the sides and that the cheesecake doesn’t overflow.
More Easy Cakes
If you make this Classic Burnt Basque Cheesecake (La Viña Style Cheesecake) recipe, be sure to leave a comment and rate it. Hearing from you is everything! Oh, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!
Classic Burnt Basque Cheesecake (La Viña Style Cheesecake)
- 1 23 cm spring form cake tin
- 1 kg full-fat cream cheese - at room temperature
- 300 g sugar
- 500 ml double cream
- 5 L eggs - at room temperature
- 15 g plain flour
- Preheat the oven to 210°C (200ºC fan assisted). Line the cake pan with 2 overlapping sheets of parchment paper, making sure they come out at least 5 cm above the top of the tin on all sides (if the tin is shorter than 10 cm). This cake should be rustic, so if the parchment has some creases and wrinkles that’s ok!
- Using a hand-held electric whisk or stand mixer, at low speed, beat the cream cheese with the sugar until creamy. Add the cream and beat until the batter gets consistency (see notes). Add the eggs and beat again until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of bowl. Finally, sieve the flour on top of the batter and incorporate it using a spatula with gentle folding movements.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake on the middle rack for 40 minutes. If you like a runnier outcome, bake it during less time, if you like a fully set cheesecake, bake it for 50-60 minutes. In any case, the top should be golden brown and the centre very jiggly.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool completely (the top will fall as it cools down and that’s expected!). Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.
- To serve, remove the cheesecake from the fridge 30 minutes before so it comes to room temperature, peel away the parchment from the sides of the cheesecake and enjoy!
- When you add the cream, the more you whisk the mixture, the more you will whip the cream and you will see that the batter gets consistency and volume. As a consequence, for the same baking time, the more you have beaten the batter, the thicker it will be when you pour it into the baking tin, and you will have a more sort of fluffy-creamy result. The less you beat it, the more liquidy the batter will be when you pour it into the cake tin and the more unctuous-creamy the cheesecake will be at the end.