Travel & Cuisine

Basque burnt cheesecake just baked in the oven.
Nothing like the smell of a freshly-baked cheesecake!

From my point of view, a cheesecake is the most universal of all cakes–almost every country has its own version (or several versions) of a cheesecake-like dessert.

Cheesecake has a more ancient history than you might realize. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that the origin of cheesecake dates back to over 4,000 years ago!

Around the third century, Athenaeus of Naucratis, a Greek author, wrote down a recipe for cheesecake–that early recipe provided instructions to warm up a mixture of cheese, honey, and wheat flour, then let it chill before serving. 

It’s said that in 776 BC, athletes competing in the early Olympics were served cheesecake as a nutritious snack.

Later, in the 18th century, Europeans would bing their cheesecake to North America, where a fundamental ingredient of the recipe (as we know it) was born: Cream cheese!

The iconic Philadelphia cream cheese was introduced to the world in 1872 by a cheese maker named William Lawrence.

When it comes to styles of cheesecake, the rich, dense, New York style, made with Philadelphia cream cheese, is probably the most internationally well-known. But other countries have their versions too:

Italy: made with mascarpone cheese, ricotta and honey.

Greece: made using feta cheese.

Germany: made with cottage cheese.

Japan: made by whipping the cream cheese and egg whites, which creates a beautiful fluffy texture.

Fun fact: Japanese cheesecake is also known as “Fuwa-Fuwa” which translates to “fluffy-fluffy.”

And now we get to talk about Spanish cheesecake!

Technically, the most authentic Spanish cheesecake would be the “Quesada Pasiega,” a popular dessert originating from Cantabria, north of Spain. This recipe goes back to ancient times and has been found in some Medieval texts. It consists of milk curds, butter, eggs and flour, and has the consistency of a dense pudding.

However, the most beloved cheesecake in modern-day Spain is San Sebastian cheesecake–or as my readers may know it: Basque Burnt cheesecake.

Basque burnt cheesecake was created in a restaurant called La Viña, located in San Sebastian–a town situated near the border of Spain and France. 

So here I share with you the recipe for my version of the San Sebastian cheesecake. It’s simple to put together and only takes four ingredients. 

Let’s jump into it!



cheesecake ingredients
  • 6 fresh free-range eggs
  • 600 grams cream cheese (Philadelphia style)
  • 400 ml whipping cream ( 35% fat)
  • 200 grams white sugar

Optional for decoration: whipped cream, melted chocolate, salted caramel cream, berries, or jam.

  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 round cake tin or mold of 24 cm (9 inches)
  • 1 sheet of baking paper (parchment paper, greaseproof paper)


  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC (375ºF) for 10 minutes.
  • Add eggs, cream cheese, whipping cream, and sugar to a blender, and mix until well combined. 
  • Line your pan with parchment paper (baking paper) and add the batter.
  • Bake for 45 minutes. Remember: You’re looking for a nice golden-burnt color on the top of the cake. Check it after 45 minutes and add an 10 extra minutes if needed.
cracked eggs in a bowl
Chef´s tip.

When I finish baking the cake, I’ll turn the heat off and let the cake rest in the oven for an additional 5 minutes with the door open.

Then, I’ll set it on the kitchen counter and let it fully cool before refrigerating it for about 6 to 8 hours (or overnight).

When I’m ready to serve, I’ll remove the cake from the tin, and slice it.