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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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