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This recipe is from Diana’s Desserts, which is very popular over internet. Many recipe bloggers use or adapt from this recipe and said that the cheesecake is really light and soft. Long ago, I tried this recipe and it turned out to be a disaster– the top half of the cheesecake had a fine cake crumb but the bottom half was wet and dense like bread pudding. I was discouraged… until recently I saw people posting beautiful Japanese cheesecake photos on their blog, and I decided to give it a try.

Here is the verdict–

The Look:

  • As you can tell from the picture, the cheesecake was still quite tall and handsome (I believe it’s because of the large amount of eggs used) even after cooling and shrinking.
  • I personally would like the cake browned a bit more to a beautiful golden brown with smooth top crust, not the wrinkly crust after cooling!–> maybe increase oven temperature to 350°F during last 10 minutes of baking?
  • After cooling, the cake surface sticks upon contact with cling wrap, finger… turning the cake quite ugly with patches missing everywhere. Why?? Could it be oven temperature too low/ too much steam/ not baked through??

The Taste:

  • I used low fat cream cheese so the cake didn’t have much of cream cheese taste to it.
  • Very very light lemon flavor too–> will increase amount of lemon juice and add grated lemon zest next time.

The Texture:

  • This time the cheesecake has the fine cake crumb texture. It’s moist but not wet like bread pudding. It’s very similar to my souffle cheesecake.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #1

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #1

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #1– recipe adapted from Diana’s Desserts (makes one 8-inch round cake)

Ingredients:

2/3 cups (140g) fine granulated sugar
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
4 tbsp (50g) butter
1 block/8 oz (250g) cream cheese
100 ml fresh milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup (60g) cake flour
1 1/2 tbsp (20g) cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Boil a pot of water. Prepare a shallow pan (I used my meat roasting pan). Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches above the rim.
  2. Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler. Cool the mixture. Sift in the flour and the cornstarch, mix well. Add egg yolks, lemon juice and mix well again.
  3. Whip egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and whip until soft peaks form (curly tip on the whisk when lifted upside down).
  4. Gently fold in whipped egg whites to the yolk mixture in 3-4 batches, until well blended.  Pour into the cake pan. Tap on the surface once.
  5. Put the shallow pan/roasting pan at the lowest rack. Pour in boiling water carefully. Then carefully place the cake pan inside the water pan.
  6. Reduce temperature to 300°F. Bake cheesecake in a water bath for 1 hour 10 minutes or until set and golden brown.
  7. After baking, turn off oven and continue let the cake sit in the oven for 30 minutes with oven door ajar open. Remove from cake pan and continue cooling on a rack. Chill completely before serving.

Regina’s Note:

  • Baking method: Water bath vs. steam bake–> I wonder if steam bake method will make the cake more dry and produce fine care crumb rather than wet pudding-like texture.
  • Cooling in the oven: Maybe removing water pan and take away extra steam will make the cake surface less sticky?
  • Oven Temperature: I used 300°F but original recipe uses 325°F. Could this make my cake look pale browned and sticky because not baked through?
  • Cream cheese: Should use full fat original version for a full flavor.
  • Lemon juice: Should increase to 2 tbsp next time for more lemon flavor, add lemon zest too.
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Western cheesecakes are usually very rich and creamy in flavor, and dense in texture. But Japanese cheesecakes, on the other hand are creamy and lighter, and it suits Asians’ taste better. Years ago, when I made Japanese cheesecake it was a disaster– the top half of the cake is like a cake, but the bottom half is so moist and wet like a pudding! Since then it has been out of my mind, until recently I have all ingredients on hand, and decided to give it another try.

Well, this time around my cheesecake turned out pretty good. I couldn’t wait for it to cool and chill, so I sliced a piece while it was still a little warm. I was kind of disappointed after the first bite– the cake is still a bit moist (at least it wasn’t like pudding moist this time!) compare to the store bought ones, but drier than the souffle cheesecake that I made before. I chilled the rest of the cake in the fridge and had some the next day. Guess what– the texture of the cheesecake turns out surprising differently! It is soft, light and yet a bit creamier than freshly baked– tastes just like those individually packed Japanese cheesecakes I bought at the Chinese grocery stores! Yes, finally I did it!

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake-- To leave a smooth edge after slicing, a serrated knife is needed.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake– To leave a smooth edge after slicing, a serrated knife is needed.

Japanese Cotton Soft Cheesecake– adapted from Diana’s Desserts (makes one ???  size round pan plus a loaf pan)

Ingredients:

Egg yolk mixture:
8 oz (1 block) cream cheese
4 tbsp unsalted butter
100 ml heavy cream
1/3 cup cake flour
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
6 egg yolks

Egg white mixture:
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 cup sugar

Method:

  1. Position oven rack on the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease cake pans. Prepare a deep roasting pan, and boil a pot of water.
  2. Melt cream cheese, butter and cream over a double boiler. Whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. Sift in cake flour and tapioca starch to cream cheese mixture, whisk to combine. Mix in lemon juice ,grated lemon zest and egg yolks, one at a time. Stir to combine.
  4. In a different medium mixing bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add in cream of tartar and whip until the mixture resembles of very fine bubbles. While the mixer is on and turning, gradually pour in sugar. Whip on high speed until soft peak (curl tip when lifted) forms.
  5. Add 1/3 of whipped egg whites to yolk mixture. Use a balloon whisk to gently mix well. Then FOLD IN remaining whipped egg whites in 2-3 batches.
  6. Pour batter to greased cake pans (about 70-80 percent full). Then place cake pans in a deep roasting pan. Carefully pour in boiling water into roasting pan. Water level should be about half the height of cake pans.
  7. Lower oven temperature to 300°F. Steam bake cheesecake at the lower third of the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour. Cheesecake will shrink. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Chill the fridge before serving. The flavor and texture is at the best when it is chilled. To leave a smooth edge on the cake, use a serrated knife to slice the cake, wiping the knife clean after each slicing.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake-- melting cream cheese, butter and cream over double boiler.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake– melting cream cheese, butter and cream over double boiler.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake-- cheesecake batter after folding in whipped egg white. See how fluffy the batter turns out?
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake– cheesecake batter after folding in whipped egg white. See how fluffy the batter turns out?
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake-- the cakes shrink after cooling in the oven.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake– the cakes shrink after cooling in the oven.

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