The Great Cheesecake Battle

Ricotta vs. Basque Cheesecake

You’ve definitely heard of ricotta cheesecake–that fluffy, creamy, tangy delight that shows up on menus across the country–but what about Basque cheesecake? These distinctly different desserts are two sides of the same cheesy coin. We’re taking a deep dive into each and seeing how they’ve changed the cake world as we know it.

Let’s break down the basics: cheesecake, traditionally, is made from a mixture of only a few simple ingredients. A mixture of fresh cheese, eggs, sugar, and often cream cheese is blended atop a crisp graham cracker crust, and voilà–international dessert bliss.

Calabro Ricotta di Bufala

The ricotta cheesecake is a classic variety made with–you guessed it–ricotta. While some recipes rely on goat cheese to provide that lactic tang, this version utilizes the traditionally curdy Italian cheese to add a bit of fresh, cool flavor. Popular in Italian culture, this family favorite provides a delicate texture and bright essence. No need to add cream cheese here, the ricotta takes care of the lemony sweetness required of a truly authentic cheesecake. Personally, we like this version topped off with fresh fruit like strawberries or raspberries.

La Viña’s Basque Cheesecake (source:

Basque cheesecake, on the other hand, is a fairly new creation hailing from a single restaurant in San Sebastián, Spain. La Viña, a popular neighborhood spot in this coastal capital city, developed their own unique cheesecake recipe about 30 years ago with delicious results. Most recognizable by its burnt brown exterior, this creamy dessert features no traditional crust, a blackened top, and an oozing interior that’s closer to custard than cake. Though not as clean and crisp looking as its Italian counterpart, this creation holds its own with a mouthwatering flavor profile of browned butter and caramel. And you don’t have to go to Spain to try it–this recipe has blown up across the world, so you can find it in restaurants or make it in your own kitchen.

Want to try your hand at a Murray’s cheesecake? Check out our recipe for New York style cheesecake made with goat cheese and creme fraiche.

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