Here is my favorite delicious dessert! This cheesecake recipe comes from the Spanish Basque country — more precisely from a Restaurant called La Viña, where fresh cheesecakes line the walls and smell like the sky.

Honestly, I don’t know why this cheesecake (Tarta de Queso in Spanish) is called the Basque cheesecake here. We should call it the cheesecake of la Viña or the cheesecake of Santiago Rivera to pay to the man who created the concept in 1990.

We enjoyed the real deal during our honeymoon in San Sebastian in 2019. We spent the evening walking around the old town, trying Pintxos and sipping a wonderful inexpensive white plonk wherever we went, as you do in San Sebastian. I insisted that we make room at la Viña for the magical and mythical cheesecake, so we followed our noses around the corner until we found it.

Fast forward a few years, and we are running out of sleep with a baby at home. My husband brought home a Basque surprise cheesecake from a local store. Since then, we have been recreating it passion at home, trying different methods and proportions. I am very happy to share the perfected recipe with you today.

6 reasons to love Basque cheesecake

  1. Before we get to the recipe, here’s why you’ll love the Basque cheesecake. It’s an experience!
  2. The Basque cheesecake is remarkably tasty. It’s creamy, rich and spicy with a deep caramelized crust on top that offers tons of flavor.
  3. Basque cheesecake is the simplest homemade cheesecake. If you have the ingredients, you can prepare it on a whim for any occasion — for Valentine’s Day, for a festive dinner, for a potluck with friends or simply as a fun weekend project. Keep in mind that it takes about an hour to cool, and this is a great recipe to prepare a day in advance if that time suits you.
  4. A double boiler is not necessary for Basque cheesecakes. In fact, we want the Top to crack. Kiss him!
  5. There is no crust to be treated. Take back the experience. With the amount of flavor in the caramelized top, you won’t miss it.

It’s not too cute. Traditional cheesecake can be way too sweet, and Basque cheesecake isn’t overwhelming that way. The following recipe offers a range of sugar contents so that you can adapt it to your taste buds.

  1. Basque cheesecake freezes well. Store leftover cheesecake in the freezer for several months or bake an extra cake that you have on hand for your next festive occasion. You can also cut the cheesecake when it is frozen, so you can remove a slice at any time.

Ingredients for the Basque cheesecake

Here’s what you need to prepare this wonderful cheesecake:

Cream cheese

Like other cheesecakes, this Basque cheesecake also relies on cream cheese for its weight, creaminess and flavor. You will need two pounds for this recipe, or four eight-ounce blocks of cream cheese. Do not replace this recipe with “cream cheese spread” or whipped cream cheese.


Plain old sugar is the best here. I tried to make the recipe with honey and it just wasn’t as good or as creamy. For a slightly sweet cheesecake that still tastes like a treat, use one and a quarter cups of sugar. For a more traditional sweetness, add another quarter cup. Sweetness is subjective, but we found sweetness cloying when we were closer to two cups.

Thick Cream

The cream dilutes the cream cheese mixture without diluting it. We need a pint of cream for this recipe. We will use some of it in advance with the cream cheese to mix it, then we will add the rest after.


The cheesecake relies on eggs for its structure. Half a dozen eggs are perfect; seven eggs have a distracting taste of eggs.

Vanilla extract

Although technically optional, a light touch of Vanilla adds a little flavor.


A small amount of flour will absorb excess moisture, which will be more obvious the next day. You have several options. All-purpose flour works well, as does sifted whole wheat flour (Not sifted will leave small bran stains in your cheesecake). To make the cheesecake gluten-free, we successfully used gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour from Bob’s Red Mill.

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