San Sebastian cheesecake, also known as Basque cheesecake, is a crustless cheesecake with creaminess inside and a signature burnt top.
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Preheat the oven to 430 degrees F/220 degrees C for at least 30 minutes; even better, longer! Pro tip: The oven preheating more extended guarantees the signature burnt look of cheesecake.
Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan and line it with two damp, crushed parchment paper. Pro tip: Try to overlap two sheets of parchment to match their center and press the paper at the bottom and against the edges to adhere to the pan. Let the parchment stick up at least 2 inches (5 cm) above the sides of the pan; don't let it overhang down! If you fold down the parchment, some batter might overflow during baking. Also, don't try to line the mold perfectly. Instead, the parchment has to be pleated and folded around the outer edges by design to bring the iconic look to Basque cheesecake.
In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat Philadelphia cream cheese and sugar at medium-low speed for about 2-3 minutes, until creamy. Pro tip: Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula regularly while making the cheesecake batter.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each. Then add heavy cream and mix at low for about 30 seconds. Finish with the sifted flour mixing at a low speed until smooth. Pro tip: If you use a KitchenAid stand mixer, mix the cheesecake batter on speed "2" from the moment you add eggs.
Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared pan, using the back of a spoon, and smooth the top. Bake on the oven rack for 40 minutes, until it is nice dark brown on top. Pro tip: Bring the pan into the hot oven fast. Don't let the hot air escape!
With a convection oven with a fan, bake the cheesecake on the middle rack. With a conventional oven (no fan), bake the cheesecake on a rack higher than the middle one. But make sure to have a space till the oven's ceiling: the paper shouldn't touch the heating element of the oven!
Watch the last 5-10 minutes carefully so that it doesn't burn beyond that. The center must be a little jiggly, shaky, like a flan. If the cheesecake doesn't look "burnt" after the recommended bake time, turn to broil/grill it for 1 to 2 minutes. But be careful - don't overdo it! Pay close attention - broiling/grilling will darken the cheesecake very quickly!
Take it out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature for at least 4 hours. Leave the cheesecake with parchment paper until it is ready to be sliced and served; otherwise, it might start to lose its shape. Serve it the same day or chill in the fridge overnight. For serving, unmold the cheesecake, carefully peeling away the parchment from the sides of the cake.
Keywords: San Sebastian cheesecake, Basque cheesecake, burnt Basque cheesecake