Mini Burnt Cheesecake Recipe – San Sebastian Cheesecake

This mini burnt cheesecake recipe is a bite-sized interpretation of the classic Basque or San Sebastian Cheesecake. Made famous by La Viña, in San Sebastian, Spain, these are the perfect little snack cheesecakes or a great dessert for a party or potluck.

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Recipe Stats

Vegetarian – 15 Minutes Prep – 45 Minutes Cook Time – Spanish Recipe

Tools to make a Basque Burnt Cheesecake Recipe

What Is A Burnt Basque Cheesecake Recipe?

How can one cheesecake from one pintxos bar in San Sebastian, Spain, create a culinary buzz? But this is where the Basque burnt cheesecake history began. 

Best burnt cheesecake recipe
The original Basque Burnt Cheesecake at La Vina in San Sebastian, Spain

That’s what La Vina in San Sebastian’s Old Town has been doing with their Basque burnt cheesecake since the 1990s. No dessert brings me greater joy than cheesecake. And La Vina’s cheesecake has nearly brought me to tears. 

Two things stand out about Basque Burnt Cheesecake compared to other cheesecakes like New York-style cheesecake. The first is the outer burnt layer of the cake. You can’t miss it, and it is the hallmark of Basque burnt cheesecake.

The second is the lack of crust. If you are used to New York-style cheesecake, you might wonder why there’s no crust, don’t. Somehow having no crust simply works. This is a Basque cheesecake, after all and they’ve done a tremendous job creating irresistible dishes.

This mini Basque cheesecake might not be the exact recipe from La Vina, but it sure is close. And, my making them mini, cupcake size, they are easy to share!

Check out some other Spanish recipes:

The Best Spanish Dessert Recipes

Arroz Con Leche – Spanish Rice Pudding

Easy Churro Cheesecake Recipe

Mini Burnt Cheesecake Recipe - San Sebastian Cheesecake

Spanish Desserts Pro Tip:

With Spain being Spain, and writing from experience, try a slice of Basque Burnt Cheesecake with a nice dessert wine like a sherry. Or even with a nice glass of dry white wine. Even a glass of tawny port wine from nearby Portugal would work.

Ingredients For A Mini Basque Burnt Cheesecake Recipe

This mini cheesecake bites recipe is not all that difficult. The base is cream cheese. I prefer Philadelphia cream cheese, which is actually super popular and easy to find in Spain. And, this makes this a Philadelphia mini cheesecake recipe. The cream cheese is mixed with white sugar, an egg, vanilla extract, a touch of salt, and heavy cream. 

A bit of flour is added at the end to this mini cheesecake bites recipe for the texture. If you are gluten-free just skip it. Maybe add a little less cream to ensure it’s not too liquidy to bake. 

The most important thing is that all of these burnt cheesecake ingredients should come to room temperature before blending.

Ingredients For Basque Cheesecake Cupcakes:

  • cream cheese
  • white sugar
  • egg
  • heavy cream or whipping cream
  • salt
  • vanilla extract
  • plain white flour

How To Make A Burnt Cheesecake Recipe

burnt basque cheesecake

Looking at the number of instructions below, it seems that a burnt Basque cheesecake is difficult to make, but it’s not as difficult as you think. An easy burnt cheesecake recipe, to me, means the cheesecake batter is easy to make. Another reason why this is an easy mini cheesecake recipe is because there is no need to make a topping!

Start by preheating the oven to 400F (200C). Cut large squares of non-stick baking parchment paper. They should be significantly larger than the muffin pan so that the paper clears the top. Making the mini Basque cheesecake in a muffin tin makes them easier to serve and a lot more fun – in bite-sized form.

Making The Basque Burnt Cheesecake Batter

Burnt cheesecake mini
Blending cream cheese and sugar
Burnt cheesecake mini
Adding egg, vanilla, heavy creamy, and salt

Add the cream cheese and sugar into a mixing bowl or food processor. Blend until creamy. You will need to scrape the edges of the bowl to ensure even blending. Add the egg, salt, heavy cream, and vanilla and blend until creamy. Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until blended. 

basque burnt cheesecake cupcake

One at a time, add the parchment paper to a muffin pan. Use your fingers to press the baking parchment paper down as best as you can into the edges of the muffin pan.

Fill each muffin round with enough cheesecake mixture to reach just below the top of the pan. There will be parchment paper sticking up. You can clip the corners that stick up or leave as is. Use a small spoon to press the cheesecake mixture into the crevices of the paper. 

mini cheesecakes in parchment paper

Baking The Mini Basque Cheesecakes

The real key to a baked burnt cheesecake is baking it to the right level. Making the batter is easy; cooking it takes a little more finesse. 

Before placing the muffin pan in the oven, shake the pan a bit or bang it lightly on the countertop to remove any excess air bubbles. Place the muffin pan in the oven for about 30-45 minutes. It’s important to watch the mini Basque cheesecake cupcakes so that they brown, but don’t get too burnt.

baking basque burnt cheesecakes
Not yet ready!

Start watching closely at the 25-minute mark. The mini cheesecakes are ready when the tops are browned but not burnt, despite the dish’s name. If you jiggle the pan, the center of the cheesecakes shouldn’t jiggle too much, but some slight movement is fine. 

If they are not browning enough, but are otherwise ready, you can place the broiler on to cook from the top down. But, if using the broiler, watch them like a hawk. They can brown in a minute to two depending on how hot your broil setting is. One minute can be the difference between “burnt” and burnt. Trust me. 

Remove from the oven and let the cheesecake fully cool to room temperature for 30 minutes. The tops will sink a bit, but this is okay. Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. 

Remove each cheesecake from the muffin pan and serve with the paper on. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

Yield: 8-10 Cheesecake Bites

Mini Burnt Cheesecake Recipe

Mini Burnt Cheesecake Recipe - San Sebastian Cheesecake

This mini burnt cheesecake recipe is a bite-sized interpretation of the classic Basque or San Sebastian Cheesecake. Made famous by La Viña, in San Sebastian, Spain, these are the perfect little snack cheesecakes or a great dessert for a party or pot luck.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces cream cheese (2 cups or 450g)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup heavy cream or whipping cream
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
  2. Cut large squares of non-stick baking parchment paper.
  3. Add cream cheese and sugar into a mixing bowl or food processor. Blend until creamy.
  4. Add the egg, salt, heavy cream, and vanilla and blend until creamy.
  5. Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until blended.
  6. One at a time, add the parchment paper to a muffin pan. Use your fingers to press the baking parchment paper down as best as you can into the edges of the muffin pan.
  7. Fill each muffin round with enough cheesecake mixture to reach just below the top of the pan. Use a small spoon to press the cheesecake mixture into the crevices of the paper.
  8. Before placing the muffin pan in the oven, shake the pan a bit or bang it lightly on the countertop to remove any excess air bubbles.
  9. Place in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Start watching at the 25-minute mark. They are ready when the tops are browned but not burnt, despite the name of the dish.
  10. Let the cheesecake fully cool to room temperature for 30 minutes. The tops will sink a bit, but this is okay.
  11. Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.
  12. Remove each cheesecake from the muffin pan and serve with the paper on.

Notes

For best results all ingredients should be room temperature before starting.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 298Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 263mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 0gSugar: 15gProtein: 5g

This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.

Did you make this recipe?

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FAQs – Basque Small Cheesecake Recipe

San Sebastian Cheesecake

More than most of our other recipes, we tend to get many questions on how to make this mini burnt cheesecake recipe. It’s probably due in part to the burning process and how to get it just right. It’s also because we debuted these mini cheesecakes at our local pub in Limerick. We don’t have a tapas restaurant in Limerick, so these were unusual for our friends. We often get people asking how to make this unique Spanish dessert.

Why does my burnt cheesecake not burn?

There are a couple of reasons that might cause a cheesecake to burn, including the temperature not being high enough. Using a cake pan that is too shallow is also another factor. You might need to experiment with both to ensure you can burn the top of your cheesecake.

Is burnt cheesecake cancerous?

This is NOT medical advice. That said, as of yet, scientists have yet to discover a link between burnt cheesecake and cancer.

What is the difference between a Basque and a Japanese burnt cheesecake recipe?

During our last trip to Japan, we saw burnt cheesecakes and thought it odd. We associate burnt cheesecake with San Sebastian. Nevertheless, the versions we saw in Japan tend to be a little more “burnt” but are otherwise pretty similar.

What is a tarta de queso?

When living in Spain, I often got caught up in the translation of tarta de queso as cheesecake, but it’s not cheesecake like Americans think of cheesecake. More often, it was a flour-based cake, with some sort of sweet cheese filling.

Is this the burnt cheesecake secret recipe from La Vina in San Sebastian?

Who knows? It’s a secret recipe. But, the first time I made these burnt cheesecake cupcakes, Eric was transported back to San Sebastian. So, they are pretty darn close!

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