Creamy San Sebastian Cheesecake with Condensed Milk - San Sebastian Cheesecake (aka Burnt Basque Cheesecake) is a famous recipe for a rich, baked, creamy, crustless, caramelised cheesecake with a rustic look (also known as Basque burnt cheesecake) with a soft custard centre. It has recently become popular again in Istanbul and Antalya, Turkey where it is served with Chocolate/a Chocolate Sauce. In this recipe Condensed Milk adds flavour, richness and makes the cheesecake super creamy. The best bit? This version doesn't require any flour so it is naturally gluten free. If you want to try one without condensed milk, check out this recipe forBurnt Basque Cheesecake.
Easy San Sebastian Cheesecake with Condensed Milk
This San Sebastian Cheesecake is the trend that just keeps on coming back. It has gone viral several times over the past 5 years and it isn't difficult to understand why!
The original recipe from La Viña contains just 5 ingredients: Cream cheese, Double cream, Sugar, Eggs, and Flour.
I like to add condensed milk because not only does it add a delicious rich flavour, it also makes the cheesecake realllllly creamy.
What is the San Sebastian Cheesecake recipe?
San Sebastian Cheesecake is a baked crustless cheesecake recipe with a creamy texture.
The dessert originates from a cafe in San Sebastian, in the Basque region of Spain by Chef Santiago Rivera of La Viña Restaurant. This is why it is often referred to as La viña Cheesecake.
The recipe was developed in 1990 for the Pintxos restaurant.
I have now made this cheesecake countless times and it has been devoured each time!
The recipe itself is famous for its distinctive burnt top but the original recipe was actually more caramelised then burnt and that is why I settled for a light orange hue rather then the more well known dark brown colour that has been all over social media like this Basque Burnt Cheesecake I made previously.
However, I believe that nowadays it is made in a wood fired ovens making for a darker top. You can bake it for longer if you like it to look darker. Entirely up to you!
The look itself is achieved by the caramalising of sugar achieved by baking it at a high temperature.
As well as the infamous burnt top, it is also known for its smooth, luxurious, custardy center.
San Sebastian Cheesecake Ingredients
Here is what you will need to make this recipe:
Cream Cheese and Mascarpone
Full-fat cream cheese such as philadelphia cream cheese is what is needed in this creamy cheesecake recipe. The recipe also works with mascarpone on it's own.
Instead of Sugar, I add condensed milk for flavour. It also helps with the overall texture of the cheesecake and make it really smooth.
This recipe calls for more eggs then is usually needed in a cheesecake. Make sure they are at room temperature before using.
Double Cream and Milk
Also known as Heavy cream, Double Cream should be used in this recipe. Sour Cream, Mascarpone and Creme Fraiche also work.
This adds flavour and works well with the condensed milk.
I serve it with melted Belgian chocolate as they do in Turkey for the most decadent drool worthy cheesecake!
how to make san sebastián cheesecake
The method below is as simple as it gets. Here is what you need to do:
Preheat oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
Line a 20cm/8 inch loose bottomed tin or spring form pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper/baking paper by scrunching up a large piece of paper. Making sure it comes all the way up the sides.
Gather your room temperature ingredients.
Beat the Cream Cheese with a stand mixer with the paddle attachment/electric hand mixer or a whisk until smooth.
Add the Eggs 1 by 1, beating in between to incorporate fully before adding the next egg. Use a silicone spatula to scrape down and mix everything together.
Add Vanilla, Cream, Milk, Condensed Milk and Mascarpone and beat till combined.
Note - You can also just add everything into a stand mixer or food processor and combine if you prefer.
Pour the batter into the tin and bang the tin on the work surface 2 – 3 times to remove air bubbles.
Then bake for 45 - 50 minutes.
Turn the heat up to 225C/Gas Mark 9.
Bake for a further 10 minutes.
The colour will deepen slightly as it cools. You can bake it for a further 10 minutes if you want a darker cheesecake.
It will be jiggly and will sink further after this.
Once cooled, rest in the fridge or on the countertop for 7 - 8 hours.
Melt the chocolate and serve poured on top of the cheesecake.
The recipe below was made with more mixture and baked longer:
Why is it called San Sebastian Cheesecake?
Quite simply, the recipe originates from San Sebastian in Spain.
Why is San Sebastian Cheesecake famous in Turkey?
San Sebastian cheesecake Tarifi is famous in Turkey!
Tarifi translates to recipe.
Recently san Sebastian cheesecake has become extremely popular in Turkey. In particular Antalya and Istanbul where it is served with a chocolate sauce/melted chocolate.
What goes into San Sebastian cheesecake?
As mentioned, the original recipe contains 5 ingredients: Cream cheese, Double cream, Sugar, Eggs, and Flour.
There are no flavourings but I like to change it up a bit, which I think works beautifully in this recipe.
The difference between Cheesecake and Basque Cheesecake/San Sebastian Cheesecake
Cheesecake is a sweet dessert made up of one to three layers.
The main layer consists of cream cheese, cream and sugar. Sometimes eggs are added too.
The base layer is made of crushed biscuits with butter and the top layer can be a decorative element such as chocolate ganache.
The cake can be baked or unbaked.
It can be flavoured in a variety of ways such as with cocoa, fruit, vanilla, spices, citrus.
Why is my Basque Cheesecake not burnt on top?
There are multiple reasons for this.
Every oven runs differently and unless you use an oven thermometer, you cannot be sure that it is running at the temperature it says it is.
The oven should be properly reheated so it reaches the correct temperature.
The cheesecake may not brown initially but will develop more colour as it cools.
If it hasn't coloured and you want a deeper colour, you can place it under the grill for 1 - 2 minutes or use a blow torch on it, but keep an eye on it!
Is San Sebastian Cheesecake burnt?
The sugar in the cheesecake colours the cheesecake when it caramelises. It also reacts with the cream cheese to add both flavour and colour.
This version is very pale in colour compared to other versions out there. It also has a higher liquid ratio.
San Sebastian Cheesecake with Chocolate
You can make a chocolate sauce with cream (a runny ganache) but I just use melted chocolate.
Is San Sebastian famous for Cheesecake?
San Sebastian is famous for it’s food and one of the recipes that is most well knows from the region is the San Sebastian Cheesecake.
It's known for its Basque cuisine and has the second most Michelin stars per capita in the world!
Why is it called Basque Cheesecake?
Basque is the region in Spain where this dessert originates from.
Is it Gluten Free?
It isn’t but the Plain Flour can be replaced with Gluten Free Plain Flour or Corn Flour to make it Gluten Free. You can also omit the Plain Flour completely but fridge time is essential if you do this!
San Sebastian Cheesecake vs Japanese Souffle Cheesecake
The San Sebastian Cheesecake is a baked cheesekcake that is similar to Japanese Cheesecake but it is less cakey. The middle of the cheesecake is smooth, light, silky and melts in the mouth.
Can it be made ahead of time?
Yes absolutely. You can make it up to 3 days in advance.
The great thing about this cheesecake is that it gets better with time.
I would highly highly recommend a 24 hour rest!
Use a knife dipped in boiling water to cut through the cheesecake seamlessly.
The origin of San Sebastian Cheesecake
It was first created by chef Santiago Rivera and was knows as Tarta de Queso (Cheese Pie).
San Sebastian cheesecake was served in La Vina, in the Basque region of Northern Spain.
At La Vina, unlike many recipes including my own, the cheesecakes are baked on the day that they are served. So the centre is almost molten like. I have served it that way in the past but for ease of serving I like to rest it overnight.
San Sebastian cheesecake vs New York Cheesecake
The texture of this cheesecake is a cross between a New York cheesecake and a Japanese souffle cheesecake.
San Sebastian cheesecake has a caramelised top with a silky, gooey middle.
It doesn’t have a crust.
A New York Cheesecake has a base made up of graham crackers/digestive biscuits.
Whilst San Sebastian cheesecake has a rustic appearance with a darker top, the New York Cheesecake is neat in appearance and looks like most other cheesecakes and tastes creamy with a dense and thick texture. San Sebastian cheesecake is smooth, creamy, light and souffle like.
Best Baking Tin to use
You need a loose bottom or spring form tin for this recipe.
Tin size and temperature has the most impact on the appearance and texture of the cheesecake in this recipe. A wider tin cooked for the same amount of time colours better in my experience colours better.
Here is one I brought that was made in a wider tin:
Here is one I made in an 8 inch tin but baked at a higher temperature for 50 minutes, it also had a lot more ingredients in terms of volume :
Lining the Tin
Line the tin with baking paper and make sure it comes all the way up the sides.
Tap the Tin
Tap the tin to release any bubbles.
The baking time varies. You can bake it between 40 - 55 minutes depending on how set you like the middle.
Chill the cake for 8 hours before serving. This is so that it is set enough to cut.
San Sebastian cheesecake keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days.
A hand mixer or blender can be used in place of the stand mixer in this recipe.
Use Full Fat Ingredients at Room Temperature
Use full fat cream cheese and double cream. Using light versions of the ingredients won’t work in this recipe.
I use Philadelphia Cheese but have also used Supermarket own brands in this recipe before which have worked too.
You might want to taste your cream cheese first and add a pinch of salt if you think it is needed.
Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature so they incorporate fully into the batter.
What if it doesn't Colour?
If your cheesecake isn’t colouring, you can bake for 10 more minutes. The original cheesecake from La Vina is not as dark as the internet would suggest.
What does it taste like?
The original cheesecake is made of queso blanco (white cheese) and a golden caramelised top. It has a creamy centre that is light and moussey and a gorgeous caramel crust.
The flavour is mild and sweet. In this recipe, it is just as much about texture.
How to serve it
You can simply serve the cheesecake on a plate with a spoon/fork.
Or you can serve it with a chocolate sauce, mixed berries, a syrup. The choices are endless.
To cut the cheesecake, dip the tip of a knife in hot water. Cut a slice of cake and then dry with tissue between each cut.
Can you freeze San Sebastian Cheesecake?
To freeze the cheesecake as a whole, let it cool completely, then remove from the tin.
Freeze on a tray or plate for 2 hours, then wrap in 2 layers of cling film and 1 layer of foil.
Freeze for up to 3 months.
Once cooled, wrap each slice in 2 layers of cling film and aluminum foil and freeze for 3 months.
Thaw in the fridge overnight and then take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving.
This recipe is easily adaptable:
Flour - You can add 15 - 30g Plain Flour, Corn Flour or All Purpose Flour if you like. Or even Cocoa Powder.
Cheese - You can use Mascarpone or Ricotta instead of Cream Cheese.
Pumpkin - You can add pureed pumpkin to the batter.
Spices - You can add Chai or Pumpkin Spices to the batter.
Coffee or Chai - You can add Chai or Coffee to the batter by making a syrup using Maple Syrup and the Cream.
Citrus Zest - Such as Lemon Zest Lime Zest or Orange Zest adds flavour and tang.
Vanilla - Vanilla lifts this otherwise plain but delicious cheesecake. I think it makes the world of difference flavour wise.
Chocolate - Melted Chocolate pairs well with these flavours and can be added to the batter too but also is the ideal accompaniment for the cheesecake.
Caramel - Serve with Caramel Sauce instead.
The creamy bit of the Cheesecake is endlessly adaptable - Try using Sour Cream, Plain Yoghurt, Creme Fraiche or Double Cream.
Sugar - Use Light brown Sugar, Dark Brown Sugar, Caster Sugar or Maple Syrup.
More Quick and Easy Baking Recipes:
More cheesecake recipes:
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Creamy San Sebastian Cheesecake with Condensed Milk
- 125 g Cream Cheese At room temperature
- 397 g Condensed Milk 1 tin
- 125 g Mascarpone At room temperature
- 4 Eggs At room temperature
- 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 250 ml Double Cream Heavy Cream
- 70 ml Milk Full Fat
- 200 g Milk Chocolate Melted
- Line a 20cm/8 inch tin with baking paper by scrunching up a large piece of paper. Making sure it comes all the way up the sides.
- Preheat oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
- Beat the Cream Cheese until smooth.
- Add the Eggs 1 by 1, beating in between to incorporate fully before adding the next egg. Use a silicone spatula to scrape down and mix everything together.
- Add Vanilla, Cream, Milk, Condensed Milk and Mascarpone and beat till combined.
- Pour the batter into the tin and bang the tin on the work surface 2 – 3 times to remove air bubbles. Then bake for 45 - 50 minutes.
- Turn the heat up to 225C/Gas Mark 9. Bake for a further 10 minutes. The colour will deepen slightly as it cools. You can bake it for a further 10 minutes if you want a darker cheesecake. It will be jiggly and will sink further after this.
- Once cooled, rest in the fridge or on the countertop for 7 - 8 hours.
- Melt the chocolate and serve poured on top of the cheesecake.
- Note - You can also just add everything into a stand mixer and combine if you prefer.