The hosts raced out of the blocks at the Abe Lenstra Stadion as Mark Uth was brought down in the box by Leonard Nienhuis to earn his side the fastest penalty in Eredivisie history inside eight seconds.
Uth made no mistake, dusting himself off to stroke the ball home and give his side the lead.
Things got even better for the hosts four minutes after the break when as Luciano Slagveer's cross forced Cambuur's Marlon Pereira to divert the ball into his own net.
But the visitors kept going and pulled a goal back six minutes later through Bartholomew Ogbeche.
That gave Cambuur momentum and they finally secured a deserved equaliser after 67 minutes when Etienne Reijnen headed home, and they even came close to a winner late on, but Kristoffer Nordfeldt was on hand to deny Furdjel Narsingh's effort.
The result leaves Heerenveen in sixth place, while Cambuur, who have only tasted one defeat so far this season, move up to third ahead of PEC Zwolle, who were beaten 3-2 in a thrilling Ijssel derby away to Go Ahead Eagles.
As was the case in last season's corresponding fixture, the home side found themselves two goals ahead within the opening 15 minutes in Deventer.
Jeffrey Rijsdijk opened the scoring after just seven minutes following Fernando Lewis' brilliant cross, with the Alkmaar loanee getting on the scoresheet himself seven minutes later after taking advantage of Maikel van der Werff's error.
A thrilling opening 20 minutes saw Zwolle pull one back when Stefan Nijland fired home from distance, before Bart Vriends restored the hosts' two-goal lead with a towering header nine minutes before half-time.
Tomas Necid's header halved the deficit once again 15 minutes from time to set up a nervy finish, but the home side held on for their second consecutive league win.
Meanwhile, Dordrecht sit four points adrift of safety after succumbing to a 3-1 defeat at home to Utrecht.
Ruud Boymans headed home to give the visitors the lead after nine minutes, before Dordrecht defender Josimir Lima diverted the ball into his own net midway through the second half.
Rick ten Voorde pulled one back with 15 minutes to go, but any hope of a comeback was extinguished when Yassine Ayoub curled home a free-kick late on to consign the home side to their sixth league defeat of the season.
Elsewhere, Excelsior extended their winless run to five games, after they were held to a 1-1 draw away to Groningen in the day's only other game, with Eric Botteghin's strike before half-time cancelling out Maikel Kieftenbeld's own goal.
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