Spanish Basque cheesecake Recipe

Basque Cheesecake earns its name from its country of origin, the Basque Country. This autonomous community, located on the border of Spain and France, boasts a unique blend of French and Spanish cuisine. Basque Country is renowned for its amazing food, from tapas to, you guessed it, Basque Cheesecake. Often called Burnt Cheesecake due to its caramelized exterior, this dessert is a true culinary delight.

Basque Country Cuisine

People say the best food in Spain is found in the Basque Country, particularly in San Sebastián. This region is famous for its pintxos bars, offering a variety of delicious tapas. You basically sit or stand at the bar which hosts a massive buffet of tapas, and point at what you like. But trust me, its a hard choice with so many delicious looking foods.

One tip I can give you when visiting Basque Country is, don’t stuff yourself at the first bar, instead, have a bite and a beer and move on to the next bar. Every place in San Sebastian has its own specialty and bar hopping is a part of the local culture.

A visit here isn’t complete without trying the local specialties, including the famous Basque Cheesecake from La Viña restaurant in Donostia, run by Chef Santiago Rivera.

Owner and executive Chef of La Vina in San Sebastian Santiago Rivera

What is Basque Cheesecake?

When you first hear the name “Basque Cheesecake” you might be inclined to associate it with the basket shape of the baking paper when it comes out of the oven. But the “tarta de queso” gets its name from its country of origin, Basque Country.

Basque Cheesecake requires very few ingredients and does not have a crust base like its New York counterpart. Instead, it is baked at a high temperature that caramelizes the sugar forming a thin crust all around it. Depending on how long you cook Basque cheesecake, the center can be fluffy or creamy. But the key to getting the authentic texture, is cooling the cake for a long enough period. This will settle and compress it making it just perfect.

Historical and Cultural Context of Spanish Basque Cheesecake

Let’s dive into the delightful story of the Spanish Basque cheesecake, known as “Tarta de Queso.” This creamy, caramelized treat hails from the charming Basque Country, specifically the picturesque city of San Sebastián. The iconic version we know today was crafted in the 1990s by Chef Santiago Rivera at the beloved La Viña restaurant. What makes this cheesecake stand out is its beautifully burnt top and irresistibly smooth interior, achieved by baking it at a high temperature.

In Spain, this cheesecake isn’t just a dessert—it’s a symbol of Basque culinary pride and simplicity. Imagine sitting in a cozy Spanish home or a rustic restaurant, savoring a slice of this luscious cake. It’s more than just a sweet ending to a meal; it’s a comforting embrace that reflects the region’s passion for high-quality, flavorful dishes made with love and minimal fuss.


Basque Cheesecake is dangerously easy to make, you only need a few ingredients and 10 minutes to prepare it. Followed by 40-50 minutes of baking. If you wanted to, you could eat it within an hour after its cooled but trust me, you want to cool it in the fridge over night, it makes a massive difference. So here is what you need for this recipe:

  • 600 grams or 2 3/4 cups of Cream Cheese
  • 200 grams or 1 Cup of Crystal Sugar
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 50 grams or 1/3 Cup of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

You will also need an 8 inch spring form, a cake form will work too but be sure the cheesecake has completely cooled before taking it out of the form or it will break.

My little Cheesecake (horror) Story

Let me tell you about my very special bond with Cheesecake. I always had a sweet tooth even from a very young age. The first hotel I ever worked in had an amazing Chef who quickly became a good friend. At the end of a buffet evening he would treat me to a slice of cake or two. One evening while eating a slice of strawberry cheesecake, I joked that I could easily eat two whole cheesecakes in one sitting. The bet was on and…. I won. However, by the next morning I was so sick that I had to take two days off work to recover. Who would have known that eating two whole cheesecakes is not good for you. After that incident, I couldn’t even smell cheesecake for 7-8 Years. I don’t know how I got back into eating cheesecake but I’m glad I did.

Tips & Tricks

This recipe is very easy but here are some tips & tricks that will ensure its a hit every time.

  • A runny center is the authentic experience. You can fully bake the cheesecake but the real deal is a little runny in the middle. To achieve this bake at 200C or 390F for 40 Minutes. Baking it for 45 to 50 minutes will fully bake the Basque cheesecake (which, if that’s what you want, is also great)
  • Let it cool. I said it before but I’ll emphasize this. Letting the cake cool for 1 hour outside the fridge and 2 hours in the fridge is essential to the texture and flavor. If you can wait until the next day, even better.
  • Cut with a warm knife. This dessert is soft and can easily crack, to cut slices perfectly, rest your knife in hot water between each cut. This will melt cheese before it has a chance to stick to your knife.

The Recipe

5 from 12 votes

Spanish Basque Cheesecake

Basque Cheesecake is a famous type of Cheesecake that Originates from the Spanish/French Basque Country. A delicious crustless cheesecake that is light, creamy and has a delicious unique flavor. Here is how its done.
Servings 10 Slices
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 600 grams Cream Cheese at Room Temperature
  • 300 gram Heavy Cream at Room Temperature
  • 200 grams Sugar
  • 4 Large Eggs at Room Temperature
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 50 grams All-purpose flour
Makes: 8inch round3inch height


  • Preheat your oven at 200C or 390F
  • Prepare the baking form, at a dab of vegetable oil into the baking form and spread it evenly around the base and sides. This will help the baking paper stick to the form easier and will also bake the caramelized crust. Now place two sheets of baking paper and press them into the form one at a time.
    Try to add the second sheet at a 90 degree angle so you have baking paper corners evenly sticking out of the form, it looks a lot better 🙂 Set aside and go to the next step.
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl, whisk the cream cheese until soft and creamy. Now add the sugar and whisk for another 20-30 seconds until well combined.
    600 grams Cream Cheese, 200 grams Sugar
  • While whisking add the egg's one at a time. Make sure you don't get any egg shell into the batter and wait until each egg is combined before adding the next one.
    4 Large Eggs
  • Whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Stop using your hand or stand mixer once you are finished with the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Sift the flour into the cream and mix it in using a rubber spatula. Don't over mix.
    300 gram Heavy Cream, 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract, 50 grams All-purpose flour
  • Pour the batter into the lined baking pan, place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes depending on how you want the cheesecake.
    35-40 minutes = runny in the center (Authentic)
    40-50 minutes = fully baked and still bloody amazing 😀
  • Cool for one hour outside of the fridge and 2-8 hours in the fridge for the ultimate flavor and texture.
Calories: 434kcal
Cost: 10$
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: basque, cheesecake, Dessert, spain


Serving: 130g | Calories: 434kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 182mg | Sodium: 233mg | Potassium: 139mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 1355IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 1mg
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