San Sebastian Cheesecake with Salted Caramel

A while ago I made a San Sebastian cheesecake because I was constantly seeing videos of people eating….I felt extremely left out.

I loved it, it was so creamy. It’s so different from the cheesecakes I’m normally eating but it was so good.

I ate it with melted chocolate poured on top. All the videos I was seeing served it like this but I just knew it would taste so much better with some salted caramel….so here we are!

The san sebastian cheesecake on a wooden chopping board, with a slice taken out of it.

Video Tutorial

San Sebastian Cheesecake

If you’ve never tried or seen San Sebastian cheesecake before, also known as a burnt basque cheesecake, here are some of the main characteristics of it:

  • The creaminess – compared to a New York style cheesecake, this cheesecake is much creamier.
  • The burnt top – this is probably the first thing you notice when you see this cheesecake. The top of it is burnt slightly, but burnt in a good intentional way; it gives the top of the cheesecake a caramelised flavour.
  • The rustic-ness – most cheesecakes are typically perfectly round, however traditionally a San Sebastian cheesecake has a more rustic look. So when lining your baking tin, instead of adding a circle to the bottom of the tin, just get a large piece of baking paper and push it down into your tin. The baking paper will have folds and wrinkles in it, but this is the look we’re going for!

This cheese cake originated in San Sebastian, Spain. From what I have seen, it is usually served on its own or with fruit.

However, there is a restaurant in Turkey the sells this cheesecake but with melted chocolate on top. This cheesecake from this restaurant went pretty viral on TikTok, I saw videos of people going to Turkey just for this.

Honestly, this is the lifestyle I want to be living, I want to fly out to different countries just for dessert.

Anyway I digress, I ate it with melted chocolate too….it’s tastes great like this but it’s a whole different experience with salted caramel.

A slice of the San Sebastian cheesecake on a white plate, with salted caramel poured on top.

Ingredients for the cheesecake

This cheesecake uses pretty much your basic ingredients, but there are a few I wanted to talk about:

The brown sugar

Usually San Sebastian cheesecake is made with white granulated sugar, but in this recipe I used soft light brown sugar instead.

Instead of the only pouring salted caramel on top, I wanted the actual cheesecake to taste a little caramely as well. So brown sugar helped with this.

You can just use granulated sugar though!

The yoghurt

I like to add some plain yoghurt to this recipe, it helps give the cheesecake a slight tangy flavour as well as helping with the creaminess.

You could substitute this with sour cream.

The lemon juice

I added a tablespoon of lemon juice into this, as well as a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Both of these ingredients are just for flavour.

If you wanted too, you could leave the lemon juice out. Don’t try leaving the vanilla out though, this is needed!

The full San Sebastian cheesecake on top of a wooden chopping board.

What to do if your cheesecake doesn’t brown on top?

One of the main characteristics of this cheesecake is the burnt top. Like I mentioned, this gives the crust of the cheesecake a caramelised flavour.

From what I have learnt, depending on your oven, your cheesecake might not brown on top. For me, it has never browned.

If this happens, don’t keep baking it until it browns, it will just end up over baked.

Instead, put it under your grill for a minute or two. Keep an eye on it though, it will brown pretty quickly.

Side note, if you’re American, I think you call this a broiler!

The cheesecake inside of a silver cake tin before being baked.
The San Sebastian cheesecake inside of a silver cake tin after being baked.

Tips on making the salted caramel

There are 2 ways to make caramel. The first way is by boiling water and sugar together, then adding butter and cream. This is called a wet caramel.

The second way is by cooking sugar on its own, until it melts, and then adding butter and sugar. This is called a dry caramel.

I prefer making it the 2nd way, I just find this way easier.

Here are a few tips when making the caramel:

  • Keep your heat on medium – when melting the sugar, it can burn easily. So make sure not to increase the heat, you want to cook it slowly.
  • Constantly stir – again, sugar can burn easily, so make sure to keep stirring to stop this from happening.

So….yeah that’s the tips, I don’t know why but I felt like I was going to have more but the rest of the steps are pretty simple!

Looking for more cheesecake recipes? You should take a look at some of these:

San Sebastian
Cheesecake with Salted Caramel

Ingredients

  • For the cheesecake:
  • 600g cream cheese

  • 240g brown sugar

  • 40g corn flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 200ml double cream

  • 100g plain yoghurt

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 4 eggs

  • For the salted caramel:
  • 300g granulated sugar

  • 150g unsalted butter, softened

  • 180ml double cream, warm

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Salt (I used 1/2 teaspoon, you can add more or less)

Directions

  • Making the cheesecake:
  • Start by pre-heating your oven to 200c/400f. Also line an 8 inch cake tin with a large piece of baking paper.
  • In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, sugar, corn flour and salt. Mix these together until smooth.
  • Add half of the cream into this, mix this in. Then mix in the rest of the cream, as well as the yoghurt, lemon juice and vanilla.
  • Now add in the eggs and mix just until they are incorporated and you get a smooth batter.
  • Pour this into your cake tin, then slam the tin down on your counter a few times to get rid of any bubbles.
  • Bake this for around 40-45 minutes, it is done when the edges look set but the centre is still quite jiggly. At this point, if your cheesecake hasn't browned on top, don't continue to bake it. Just put it under your grill for a minute or two.
  • Once baked, leave to cool at room temperature for an hour. Then leave it in your fridge for at least 2 hours.
  • Making the caramel:
  • In a non-stick pot, add the sugar then place this over medium heat.
  • Keep heating this, whiles constantly stirring, until the sugar has completely melted and has turned a deep amber colour.
  • Take this off the heat then add half of the butter. Mix this in, then add the rest of the butter.
  • Now slowly pour in the cream, whiles stirring. Once all of this has been added, add the vanilla and salt.
  • Place this back onto medium heat and let the caramel boil, whiles stirring now and then, for about 2 minutes. This is just to thicken it.
  • At this point, if you feel like there is lumps in the caramel, you can sieve it. If not, just pour it into a bowl or jug and leave aside to cool.
  • Eating the cheesecake:
  • Once your cheesecake has chilled, you can now dig in. Just take it out of the tin, cut a slice, pour some caramel on top, and then enjoy!
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