Cheesecake is one of the most favourite desserts in the United States, and the New York style cheesecake possibly one of the most famous of all because of its dense, smooth and rich texture. That was until the Basque cheesecake from San Sebastian’s La Viña Restaurant in Spain, became Bay Area's most popular cheesecake, surpassing in popularity all time favourites such as the New York or Japanese cheesecake.
The creamy, crustless, burnt-topped cheesecake with a phenomenal texture, has made the delight of customers at Basuku Cheesecakes, the company that has quickly gained a sort of cult following because of their own “handmade Japanese-inspired Basque cheesecake”.Other Bay Area bakers have also come up with their particular version of the Basque original by infusing matcha tea, black sesame or kumquats into the batter. The possibilities are endless and during the pandemic local bakers loved the time they spent coming up with their own versions of the Basque original.
The cheesecake and its striking appearance, caramelised almost burnt on the top and super creamy inside, is getting increasingly popular because it allows for plenty of room to be creative with the basics; cream cheese, sugar, eggs, heavy cream and a bit of flour. International bakery chain Uncle Tetsu, known for fluffy Japanese-style cheesecakes, has started dabbling in the Basque style at Bay Area locations and The San Francisco Proper Hotel is serving honey-scented versions of the cheesecake.
If you would like to make the original La Viña Basque cheesecake at home, here is the recipe. Once you master it, you can try and attempt to make your own version just like Bay Area bakers have done to great success.
Ingredients (for 10-12 people)
- 7 good quality large eggs, ideally at room temperature. If you think 7 eggs are way to many remember that this cake has a custard like creamy texture.
- 400 g regular white sugar.
- 1 kg cream cheese at room temperature, this is important as when softened, it corporates better into the batter.
- 1.5 tbs of flour.
- 1/2 heavy cream, the heavy cream adds richness to the cheesecake.
Steps for making San Sebastian La Viña Cheesecake
First, it is important to first preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F and you can do this first while you prepare the batter.
Next, grease a springform pan with butter, then line with 2 sheets of parchment paper that is kind of ruffled and folded to give the cheesecake dimpled edges. The cheesecake will rise quite a lot while baking and then fall, so the parchment paper is perfect to catch the batter.
In a large metal bowl, mix all of the ingredients together with a metal spoon as they do in La Viña. A whisk or rubber spatula will do too.
Mix the softened cream cheese with the sugar, then add one egg at a time followed by the flour. Pour the batter into the lined springform pan and bake at 200°C/390°F for approximately 60 minutes.The cheesecake is done when the top has that burnt look on the top the cheesecake is famous for, the edges have puffed up and set, and the center is still jerky if you shake the pan.If the top isn’t caramelised enough, turn on the top heat of the oven keeping an eye on the cake as it can burn in seconds.
Allow the cake to cool completely to room temperature for at least 3 to 4 hours before serving.Don’t skip this step, it is key that you let it cool as that is when you can remove the parchment paper easily.
In La Viña the cake is sometimes served with a glass of Pedro Ximenez sherry wine but any sweet wine will hold its own against the Basque cheesecake.