Often replicated, never duplicated, La Viña’s signature cake is simpler than it might look. Take the basic proportions and tweak them to your tastes and textural preferences: Try it with less sugar for a sharper cheese flavor, vanilla or any citrus zest can be nice, and Ranelli likes to serve hers with some quince paste, another Spanish specialty.
When made as written, this recipe will produce a version very similar to La Viña’s cheesecake, and Rivera says it’s the recipe he uses. But the speed of his mixer, the type of cream cheese he prefers, the temperature and humidity of his oven on that day will all impact the final product. The only way to taste the real thing is to visit La Viña in San Sebastián.
- Preheat oven to 500°F for at least 30 minutes. Use a large piece of parchment paper to line a 10-inch cake pan with a removable bottom or 10-inch springform pan. At least 2 inches of parchment paper should be hanging off the sides of the pan. The paper will not lie completely flush with the pan's sides; this is by design.
- Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. This will take at least 7 minutes on high speed in a 13-cup-capacity food processor. This can also be made in a mixer using the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer using the whisks. The mixture should be thick but homogenous.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the oven as quickly as possible to avoid losing too much heat in the oven. Bake at 500°F for 18-20 minutes, or until the top of cheesecake is dark brown and the center still jiggles like it is completely liquid underneath. Cool for at least 5 hours in refrigerator before serving. Texture should be soft and fluffy around the exterior and soft and molten in the center.
- Cheesecake keeps, covered, in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Daniela Galarza is a writer and reporter who covers food, restaurants, cooking, and culture. She used to be a pastry chef. These days she puts her culinary degree to use by making birthday cakes for friends. She lives in New York with her dog Frito.