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Although I’ve always enjoyed the occasional slice of cheesecake, it’s never been a favorite dessert. So when Basque cheesecake started trending a handful of years ago, I sort of just skipped over it. How could it really be that much different from New York-style cheesecake?
It took a trip to Spain to realize how wrong I truly was. Every morning in Barcelona, we walked across the street from our rented apartment to Funky Bakery, where we fueled ourselves with cortados and their rotating treats. I couldn’t resist trying their Basque-style cheesecake one afternoon and I became a convert with a single bite. The crustless, burnt-on-the-outside, ridiculously creamy-on-the-inside slice was a revelation. Once home, I searched far and wide for a recipe that would live up to what I tasted. It was King Arthur Baking Company’s version that assured me I wouldn’t have to fly back to Spain to satisfy my sweet tooth. I’ve been making their perfect recipe ever since.
Why I Love King Arthur Baking Company’s Basque-Style Cheesecake
This Basque-style cheesecake is a four-ingredient (five-ingredient, if you count salt) wonder. Unlike New York-style cheesecake, there’s no need for a water bath when baking it. You simply bake it at a fiery 500°F, which causes the cheesecake to rise and fall almost like a soufflé while the exterior caramelizes and becomes crust-like. The original Basque cheesecake is credited to Santiago Rivera, chef and owner of La Viña in San Sebastian, Spain. His recipe is in metrics and calls for a 10-inch springform pan, which doesn’t compute with standard U.S. pan sizes, so King Arthur Baking Company spent months fiddling with the recipe to perfect it in a standard 9-inch pan and ensure success for the home baker.
While I am not gluten-free myself, I particularly love that while Rivera’s original recipe includes a little bit of all-purpose flour, King Arthur Baking Company figured out a way to leave it out completely. To me, that means there’s nothing standing in the way of sweet, custard-like cream cheese.
How to Make King Arthur Baking Company’s Basque-Style Cheesecake
The most brilliant part about this recipe is you don’t need to wait for cream cheese to come to room temperature. Simply toss three 8-ounce packages of cream cheese straight from the fridge into a food processor and blend with 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 5 large eggs, and 3/4 cup heavy cream until a lusciously smooth batter forms.
After lining a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, pour the batter into the pan and bake at 500°F until the top is deep golden-brown and caramelized, the edges are just set, and the center is still a bit jiggly, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool the cheesecake completely in the pan before unmolding it and serve it at room temperature or chilled.