Japanese cheesecake recipe
Japanese cheesecake is a delightful and unique twist on the classic cheesecake we’re familiar with in the West. Also known as “soufflé cheesecake” or “cotton cheesecake,” this light and airy dessert has gained popularity worldwide for its fluffy texture and subtly sweet flavor.
This Japanese cheesecake is renowned for its airy and jiggly texture. This is achieved by incorporating meringue into the batter, just like the way you do with the Japanese souffle pancakes. It has a light and soufflé-like consistency, less dense than its American counterpart.
The baking process of the fluffy cheesecake is also quite unique. It involves a water bath and a lower baking temperature than traditional cheesecakes. This gentle approach helps prevent the cake from cracking and contributes to its soft and jiggly consistency.
This Japanese souffle cheesecake is one of the hardest recipes I’ve ever made. I failed a couple of times, from instances where it failed to rise to occasions where it rose beautifully in the oven only to deflate upon removal, and even times when it deflated while in the oven.
I hope you won’t get frustrated if you fail the first time. Here’s how to make the Japanese cheesecake:
- 1 cup cream cheese
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 large eggs separated
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat your oven to 320°F (160°C). Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides.
- In a heatproof bowl, melt the cream cheese, butter, and milk over a double boiler. Stir until smooth, then remove from heat.
- Sift together the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually add this mixture to the cream cheese mixture, stirring constantly until well combined.
- Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, ensuring each yolk is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice, mixing until smooth.
- In a clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. This means when you lift the whisk out of the egg whites, the peaks should gently fold over.
- While still whipping the egg whites, gradually add the granulated sugar. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form and the texture is smooth and glossy. This might take a few minutes, and it’s crucial for the texture of your Japanese cheesecake.
- Use a spatula to carefully scoop 1/3 portion of the whipped egg whites and gently fold it into the cream cheese batter with a whisk. Repeat this process 2 more times, until all the whipped egg whites are incorporated. Remember to fold gently to maintain the light and airy texture of the cheesecake.If you whisk the white eggs and fold it correctly correctly, you will see that the mixture almost does not decrease in volume. It is very fluffy and smooth, with almost no air bubbles.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Place the cake pan in a larger baking pan. Add hot water to the larger pan, ensuring it covers about 1/3 to 1/2 of the height of the pan, creating a water bath for the cheesecake.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Once the cake achieves a golden color (around 40-50 minutes), quickly open the oven door. Cover the top with foil, perforated to prevent steaming. Continue baking for 60-65 minutes until the surface is puffy and rounded.The cake is ready when the surface appears puffy and rounded. To check doneness, gently press the surface—it should bounce back.
- Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven with the door ajar for about 20 minutes Then, refrigerate for about 4 hours or overnight before serving.
If your Japanese cheesecake didn’t turn out as expected, it could be attributed to two main factors: the meringue preparation or the baking process.
- Insufficiently fluffy or overly fluffy egg whites may be the culprit. Additionally, improper folding during the mixing stage can lead to burst air bubbles, affecting the cake’s ability to rise adequately.
- The baking time and temperature are not correct.
- If you use a mold that is too large for a small oven, it will increase the likelihood of the cake being undercooked in the center.
The key when making this cake is being patient. Don’t rush and open the oven door early during the baking process and take the cake out of the oven too early when it is not fully cooked.
Japanese Souffle Cheesecake Variations
Japanese cheesecake is already a delightful twist on the classic cheesecake, known for its light and fluffy texture. But the creativity doesn’t stop there! Here are a few variations that you can try to take this already delicious dessert to new heights:
- Matcha Japanese Cheesecake: You can add matcha (green tea powder) to the batter to give the cheesecake a unique flavor and a vibrant green color.
- Chocolate Japanese Cheesecake: Chocolate cheesecake is one of my favorites ever. Now I can elevate it in the Japanese way.
- Fruit-infused Jiggly Cheesecake: Incorporating fruit purees or extracts, such as strawberry or mango, can impart a fruity flavor to the Japanese fluffy cake.
- Cheese Tart Variation: Some Japanese cheesecake recipes are adapted into cheese tarts, where the same fluffy and creamy filling is encased in a buttery tart shell. These tarts often have a brûléed top for added flavor and texture.