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I saw lots and lots of pictures, read up on lots and lots of recipes, but I still can’t make it right(frustrations!!).  Some recipe bloggers said it was pretty easy and the results are guaranteed everytime, but not for me– the cake sometimes turns out slightly better, but other times not! 😦 I think there will be at least a few more trials until I get it right (golden crust that’s not sticky, tall and not shrink horribly, moist and very fine cake crumb)– I believe I did the batter correctly– my problem might be the oven (temperature and/or moisture), which is more challenging than mixing the batter… sigh.

Here’s the result–

The Look:

  • I finally got that nicely browned top crust that I always look for in a Japanese cheesecake, and the crust doesn’t get sticky after cooling.
  • But the cake top cracked pretty bad, which indicates oven temperature is too high, and possibly not enough steam in the oven (found out, after baking, that water dried out during baking!)–> next trial, use 350°F/325°F or even 325 all the way, and more water.
  • I removed cake from the oven right after baking, cool for a few minutes then remove the spring-form side (I was afraid moisture will trap and make the cake wet). At first the cake was tall and handsome, but it started to shrink in no time, HORRIBLY!!–> next trial, turn off oven after baking, take out water tray (to avoid extra steam in the oven which may cause the cake too moist), and let the cake stay in the oven for at least 20 minutes with oven door ajar opened.

The Taste:

  • Very light, and mild cream cheese taste even though I used original full fat version.
  • Lemon flavor is too subtle for me–> next trial, increase lemon juice to 4 tbsp.

The Texture:

  • Very fine cake crumb and moist, but not wet like bread pudding.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2 (makes one 9-inch cake, spring-formed pan)

Ingredients:

Egg Yolk Mixture:
1 block (8 oz) cream cheese
4 tbsp unsalted butter
50 ml milk
1/4 tsp salt
5 yolks– room temperature
1 whole egg– room temperature
grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp lemon juice–> should increase to 4 tbsp for more lemon flavor
1/2 cup cake flour

Egg White Mixture:
5 egg whites– room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 cup sugar

Method:

  1. Fill a shallow pan with tap water to half way, place the water pan at the lowest rack in the oven. Place another oven rack at the second lowest level, this is where the cake bakes. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease, and lined the bottom and side of a spring-form cake pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches higher than the rim of the cake pan.
  2. Melt cream cheese and butter in a big bowl over double boiler (alternatively can be done in microwave), add milk and salt and hand whisk with a balloon whisk until smooth. Cool slightly if the mixture is too warm.
  3. Whisk in egg yolks and whole egg, one at at time, and blend well after each addition. Add in lemon zest and lemon juice, whisk to blend very well.
  4. Sift cake flour to the yolk mixture in 3-4 batches, whisk to blend really well before next batch and no visible small lumps.
  5. Whip egg whites on high speed (KA stand mixer speed 8) until tiny bubbles form and no visible clear egg whites, add cream of tartar and continue on high speed (speed 8). Scrap down the bowl if necessary.
  6. When the egg whites turn white and the bubbles becomes more fine, slowly add in sugar. Continue whipping on high speed (speed 8) for a few minutes. Scrap down the bowl at least once. When the egg whites has a sheen look like pearl, turn to low speed (speed 4) for a few more minutes to push out big air bubbles. Whip until its is soft peak (curly tip on the whisk when lifted upside down).
  7. Gently fold in whipped egg whites to yolk mixture in 3-4 batches until all blended well and no egg white lumps. Slowly pour batter to the cake pan (this will avoid big bubbles and last check for any egg white lumps, you can also sift batter through a strainer to cake pan). Tap cake pan a couple of times on a surface.  Then place cake pan inside a larger baking pan (to catch any spills if it happens during baking).
  8. Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325°F for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack slightly before unmolding.

Regina’s Note (learning from the failure, and hope for success!):

  • Oven temperature: next trial, use 350°F/325°F or even 325 all the way.
  • Water tray: next trial, use a deeper/wider tray for more water.
  • Lemon Juice: next trial, increase to 4 tbsp.
  • Cooling cake: next trial, cool cheesecake in the oven (with temperature off and water tray removed) for at least 20 minutes. Then cool completely before unmolding.
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