Burnt Basque Cheesecake
The first time we visited San Sebastian, we had a long list of recommendations on what to eat – not just what to eat, but where to eat, because San Sebastian is one of the world’s great gastronomic destinations.
At the top of that list was the Burnt Basque Cheesecake at La Viña. Located in the city’s old quarter, La Viña is always packed with locals and tourists looking to taste the sweet but bitter, smooth and oozy cake they have become world-famous for.
The dessert started life as an experiment 29 years ago by Santiago Rivera, owner of San Sebastian bar. At first glance, burnt Basque cheesecake almost looks like a savoury raclette, but the scorched, blackened top layer gives way to a centre that flows out like thick, gooey lava. Charred on the outside and undercooked inside, a Burnt Basque cheesecake breaks all the rules of baking, but anyone who’s tried it will tell you that’s what makes it so uniquely delicious.
At La Viña, the cake isn’t the entire experience – you must also accompany it with Pedro Ximenez sherry.
Years later, we rediscovered the Burnt Basque Cheesecake at Hart Bakery in Copenhagen, and the idea of making our own started to grow. We spent the winter of 19/20 experimenting with different recipes. Everyone was involved. We made almost 100 cakes, but the results weren’t good enough. We finally got it right by the winter of 2021, thanks to our dedicated bakery team, Karolina and Jesper.
At Örum 119, our Burnt Basque cheesecake is now a signature, and you can have it the Swedish way with a cup of freshly brewed coffee or the Spanish way with a glass of sherry.
And if you’d like to experiment at home, you can try this recipe for Burnt Basque cheesecake.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes
1 kg of cream cheese, cold
400 grams sugar
7 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
200 ml heavy cream, cold
Preheat your oven to 260°C (210°C fan-forced) for a minimum of 30 minutes.
The oven’s heat is the one thing that can make the biggest difference to how your cake turns out. We want to cook the Burnt Basque Cheesecake at a high heat for a relatively short amount of time.
Use a large piece of baking paper to line a deep tin, and make sure the batter comes up to about 1cm below the top; if your cake tin is too wide or shallow, you won’t have the right texture. The baking paper should be taller than the cake tin and folded over the sides as much as possible – it doesn’t need to be flush with the sides.
Put all the ingredients together and blend until very smooth – about 7-10 minutes – so that the mixture is thick and silky throughout.
TIP! If you think your mixture is not cold enough, you can sit it in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking.
Pour the batter into your cake tin and pop it into the oven as quickly as possible to avoid losing heat.
Keep the temperature at 260°C and bake your cake for 25 minutes or until the top looks brown and burnished and jiggles a little in the middle so as to suggest it might be runny inside. If it looks loose at the edges, pop it back in for another 10 minutes. Always keep the opening of the door to an absolute minimum, so the over stays very hot.
Let your Burnt Basque Cheesecake cool for at least 5 hours before serving. Your cake will be soft but firm in the outer layers and gooey at the centre.
If you happen to have leftovers, they will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
No te preocupes (Don’t worry)
The perfection of a Burnt Basque Cheesecake lies in its imperfection, so don’t worry if yours is not perfectly even or has rough, baking paper creased edges.