I remember seeing what looked like a Basque burnt cheesecake on the cheese stalls at the local farmers markets in Paris. Much like my beloved pain d’epices, it could be found sitting atop the glass sneeze guards. Back when we were all a little bit less precious about health and safety. I mean you couldn’t just reach and grab them, but they were there, just above eye level. Their “skin” dark and burnt like nothing else, with the inside bright and fluffy looking. Gateau au fromage blanc, we would call it. And tell you what, you couldn’t have paid me to give it a lick.

Currently, it is believed that Basque burnt cheesecake was created in the 90’s in Spain by Chef Santiago Rivera of La Vina fame in San Sebastian. Me, I’m not so sure, I’m absolutely convinced I have seen this combination of intimidatingly charred and blindingly white and creamy, soft-set, flan like insides before. But again, maybe I just have an active imagination!

All I know, that this is a wonderful cheesecakes, for people who don’t like cheesecakes. I’m not normally keen on the tangy kick they have but the Basque burnt cheesecake’s crust offers enough of a sweet and caramel touch to offset any sour notes.

And to shake things a bit more, I added a touch of miso to up the salinity of the batter. This however, I can’t claim to have thought of myself at all. This was inspired by the most intensely delicious dessert I’ve had in a while. Circa in Terenure sent me a sample of their menu a while back so that I could try it and share it with my followers online. Those kinds of treats are never taken for granted, especially when they come from a quality restaurant (with their own bib gourmand don’t you know). And to me, the sign of a great meal, is when one of the flavour combinations is new to me and impacts me enough that I want to try and introduce it to my own repertoire. The dessert in question was a miso brioche pudding and it made my ears tingle. I don’t actually have the vocabulary to describe what notes that dessert hit in my mouth, and that will tell you all you need to know about why I am not nor will ever be a restaurant reviewer!

But back to my Basque burnt cheese cake and it’s injection of Circa style miso. This is not a light dessert but I found it memorable and a small slice will go a long way. The miso lifts what would otherwise be a simple vanilla and caramel flavour combination. In future, I can see miso appearing in my vanilla based desserts, it just works. Well done Circa!

While this cake will sit in the fridge for a couple of days, I do feel it is better if you eat on the day. The other thing to make an effort to remember is an important one, especially if you’re making this cake by hand. Bring all ingredients to room temperature, I can’t recommend this strongly enough. You’ll find it next to impossible make the batter otherwise! While I used mascarpone, any cream cheese will work with this!

Basque Burnt Cheesecake -


  • 600 g of mascarpone (that’s about 2 and half small tubs)
  • 175 g of sugar
  • 3 large eggs (4 medium or 5 small ones)
  • 1 heaped table spoon of white miso
  • 300 ml of cream
  • 1/2 table spoon vanilla extract or paste
  • 50 g of corn flour


  • You will need to heat up the oven to 200C.
  • I used an average size round springform cake tin. Given the amount of fat in the cake, I didn’t feel I needed to grease the tin and right enough it came out very easily once I ran a sharp knife around the edges.
  • I used my kitchen aid but even electric hand mixers would be just fine if your ingredients are at room temperature.
  • Start by beating the sugar into the cream cheese until it’s all smooth. Depending on the strength of the motor you’re using and the firmess of the cheese, this could take anything between 5 and 10 min.
  • Keep on beating and add the eggs, one at a time, taking the time to make sure the batter is homogenous before you add the next one. Once they’re all in start pouring the cream and keep beating or mixing.
  • At the end, add the vanilla, and miso and finally sieve the corn flour into the batter and fold it in gently getting rid of any lump that may form.
  • Pour the mixture into the cake tin and place in the medium of the oven. This cake will need to cook for a minimum of 45 minutes but up to 55 minutes. Because of the beaten eggs the cake will rise. This won’t last and it will fall back down, just like a souffle which I love. Also be aware that it will still have a bit of a jiggle in the middle. Much like a clafoutis really, it has a soft custard feel to it, which is just delicious.
  • You will see the photo of mine is quite on the extreme of the burnt look and still there was no burnt taste to it once you ate with the inside.
  • Make sure you wait until it’s completely cold before eating. That took nearly 3 hours for my basque burnt cheesecake!
Basque Burnt Cheesecake -
Basque Burnt Cheesecake -

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