japanese cheesecake

i know, i know…i’ve fallen off the posting wagon of late. i’ve got a lot of material and not a lot of time to type them up! at any rate, we’re back with japanese cheesecake! it all started with a hankering for cheesecake on saturday night.  we headed over to eileen’s cheesecake after dinner but found that they had closed up shop for the day.  then we found ourselves wandering thru little italy and onto chinatown.  i popped into a bakery that was still open and decided to settle for japanese cheesecake.  i remember being rather ambivalent about japanese cheesecake the first time i encountered it, maybe 10-15 years ago.  it has a hint of cheesecake but lacks the density, texture or intensity. it’s kind of like a cross between traditional cheesecake and a japanese sponge cake.  i’d even say that it’s what a cheese souffle cake might taste like — soft, airy with a hint of tangy creamy cheese.

for some reason, i became hooked on it that saturday night…so much so that i found myself looking up the recipe on the web last night (yes, i had a marathon baking session from 8-10pm last night).

i found one that’s been much replicated on Diana’s Desserts. it turns out a cake that is highly similar to what i ate on saturday night.  that said, i’ve re-written the instructions a bit to add more detail on methodology (and so as to prevent the lumpiness i ended up getting in my batter the first time i did this).

Japanese Cheesecake
(makes one 9″ round cake)

Cream Cheese 250g (9 oz)
Butter 50g
Milk 100 ml
Egg Yolks From 6 large eggs
Lemon Juice 1 tbsp
Cake Flour 60g
Salt ¼ tsp
Corn Starch 20g
Egg whites From 6 large eggs
Cream of Tartar ¼ tsp
Sugar 140g
  1. Butter a 9″ cake pan that’s about 4-5″ high and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. Combine cream cheese, butter and milk in a medium sized bowl and set over a water bath.  Stir until melted.  It should have the consistency of yogurt.  Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  3. In a small bowl whisk egg yolks together until smooth.  Then, pour the egg yolks into the cheese mixture from above and whisk until combined.
  4. Add in lemon juice and whisk until combined.
  5. Next, combine flour, cornstarch and salt in a bowl.  Give it a whisk to make sure it’s even combined.  Then, fold the dry ingredients into the cheese mixture with a rubber spatula.  Set aside
  6. Add egg whites and cream of tartar to the bowl of your standmixer fitted with the whisk attachment.   Whisk the egg whites at medium speed until it foams up and doubles in volume.  Then pour in the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form (about triple the volume).
  7. While you’re waiting for egg whites to form peaks, start boiling some water for the water bath you’ll need in the oven.  And, pre-heat the oven to 325°F.
  8. When the egg whites are ready, fold them into the cheese mixture.  Then transfer into the prepared 9″ cake pan.
  9. Set the cake pan into a large roasting pan (i use the pan i roast a turkey in) and then pour the boiling water into the roasting pan so that it’s about 1″ deep.
  10. Bake for 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean (internal temperature of about 180°F).
  11. Let the cake cool completely in the pan (you can leave it in the water bath so that the cooling is more gradual).  As the cake cools, the edges will separate from the sides and it will shrink in half.  Remove from pan when completely cool.  (You’ll have to invert it to remove from the pan, and then invert it again so that the golden top shows).
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