Basque-Style Cheesecake (Tarta de Queso)

If you’re a cheesecake fan, you simply have to try this recipe. Beneath its blistered exterior you’ll find a meltingly smooth and creamy interior that just may change your cheesecake game forever. Developed by Santiago Rivera (chef and owner of La Viña in San Sebastian, Spain) this unique crustless cake, with its blackened top, appears in various forms in American restaurants and around the internet; our version here was adapted from several different sources.

Prep
20 mins
Bake
25 to 30 mins
Total
55 mins
Yield
one 9” cheesecake
Basque-Style Cheesecake (Tarta de Queso) - select to zoom
Basque-Style Cheesecake (Tarta de Queso) - select to zoom
Basque-Style Cheesecake (Tarta de Queso) - select to zoom
Basque-Style Cheesecake (Tarta de Queso) - select to zoom

Instructions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 500°F.

  2. To prepare the pan: Take two sheets of 16 1/2" x 12 1/4" parchment and crumple each into a ball. If you don’t have parchment that size, you’ll need enough to cover roughly a 15” square.

  3. Uncrumple the parchment completely and overlap the two sheets in a cross, pressing them into a 9” springform pan to completely cover the bottom and sides of the pan. The paper won’t lie flush with the sides, but crumpling it first will make fitting it into the pan easier.

  4. Fold the overhanging parchment down over the outside edge of the pan to ensure that the top of the cake remains visible and open to the oven’s heat.

  5. To make the cake: Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment (11-cup capacity is best; see "tips,” below, for alternatives).

  6. Process the batter until it’s smooth and lump-free, about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl about halfway through.

  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and transfer the pan to the middle rack in the oven.

  8. To bake the cake: Bake the cheesecake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is a deep-dark brown, the edges are just set, and the center is still quite jiggly. A digital thermometer inserted 1" from the edge should just barely read 185°F. For best results, start checking your cheesecake at the 25-minute mark, and continue to check at 1-minute intervals until the desired doneness is reached. Taking this cheesecake out of the oven at just the right point is critical to its success; see “tips,” below.

  9. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place it on a rack; cool the cake to room temperature before slicing. Serve the cheesecake at room temperature or refrigerate and serve chilled.

  10. Storage information: Store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Tips from our Bakers

  • If you don’t have a food processor, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir on low speed, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice, until the batter is well combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Lumps of cream cheese may still be interspersed throughout. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use an immersion blender (or a regular blender, working in batches if necessary), to blend the batter until it’s smooth and free of lumps, about 5 minutes.

  • If you remove the cheesecake from the oven too soon, it’ll be soupy in the center; too late, and its decadent just-firm-enough texture will be lost. If you have a thermometer, use it; if not, follow the doneness cues above, understanding that the cake really shouldn’t look done in the center when you take it out of the oven.