Cheesecake monster strikes again! Guys, I made another cheesecake and again, I’ve almost eaten the whole thing. Thank goodness for small batch things! I made this bad boy on Friday and as I’m writing this, it’s Saturday and it’s basically 75% gone. Mike had 1 slice and I had the other 3 and a half slices and there’s just one lonely slice, plus a half slice left. This is Madness! But this cheesecake is so fluffy and light and good, it’s kind of like eating air so maybe the calories don’t count?!
It might be likely that you haven’t eaten Japanese cheesecake before but you’ve seen the videos. You know, the ones of golden jiggling round cakes that are wobbly and cute and just look so…I dunno, happy? Japanese cheesecake is a different beast than the dense New York style cakes that are popular over here. They’re more of a chiffon-y sponge cake kind of deal with just a hint of cream cheese. Cheesecake is very very popular in Japan and they really have so many regional varieties, but the most well known is definitely what they call cotton cheesecake.
Just like Japanese soufflé pancakes, Japanese cheesecake is made light and fluffy by whipping up egg whites. But in this case, you don’t want a stiff peak, just a nice soft one which will help the cheesecake be soft and jiggly. I find that whipping up whites to the right consistency one of the things that I constantly doubt myself on. Just what are soft peaks?! In this case, they look almost like fully whipped egg whites, but when you pull your whisk up from the whites, the whites will gently fold over like the tip of a nice swirl of soft ice cream.
This is probably the exact opposite of the easiest cheesecake ever, but it’s still well worth it! I did worry more about cracks with this one – mine ended up cracking but a dusting of icing sugar made everything pretty – but it baked up tall and fluffy and beautiful and didn’t sink at all so maybe it’s not so finicky? I loved the texture of this one. I think maybe my ultimate would be having Japanese cheesecake and Basque cheesecake together on one plate. Or maybe like a cheesecake buffet!??! How awesome would that be?
Happy cheese caking friends!
PS – Just at the other half slice. Gonna hold out on that last slice just on the off chance that Mike wants it…who am I kidding? Probably gonna eat it later as an afternoon snack 😉
Small Batch Japanese Cheesecake Recipe
Makes a 6 inch cheesecake
Prep time: 40 minutes
Bake time: 40 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- 125 grams cream cheese (about 1/2 block)
- 18 grams butter (1 tbsp + 1 tsp)
- 90 grams milk (1/3 cup)
- 30 grams cake flour (1/4 cup)
- 23 grams cornstarch (3 tablespoons)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 75 grams sugar (1/3 cup)
Heat the oven to 320°F and move the rack to the middle of the oven. Lightly butter and line the bottom and sides a 6 inch cake pan with parchment paper. I made a sling as well, but found that it was much easier to just tip the cake out onto my hand after it cooled a bit. Do what you think will work for you.
In a double boiler, stir together the cream cheese, butter, and milk until the cream cheese melts and everything is smooth and incorporated. Remove from the heat and let cool completely, stirring to help cool faster.
Bring a pot of water to a boil – this will be for the water bath. Keep it at a simmer while you prep the cake.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl of whites in the fridge to chill.
When the cream cheese is cool, sift in the flour and cornstarch and whisk until throughly combined. Whisk in the egg yolks until smooth and combined.
Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until frothy and pale, adding in the sugar in bit at a time until the whites are whipped into a glossy thick soft peak meringue – one that holds its shape, with a beak that folds over on itself. Be careful not to over whip.
Add 1/3 of the whipped egg whites to the yolks and using a whisk, gently incorporate. Add another 1/3 of the whites and whisk again, being carefully not to deflate. Transfer the egg yolk mixture to the remaining egg whites. Whisk together and then use a spatula to fold together.
Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan and then tap it against the counter couple times to force the air bubbles to come to the top. Place into a deep baking dish and carefully pour the hot water 3/4 of the way up the pan. Place the entire thing in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes keeping an eye on it. If it starts to crack, it may be that your oven is too hot, so lower it by 20 degrees or so.
The cake will be done with the top is golden and it springs back when you gently press it. Crack open the oven door and let the cake cool in the water bath for about 15-20 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool, in the water bath for another 10 minutes or so.
At this point it should be cool enough to remove from the pan. Run a butter knife or offset spatula around the edges and then flip the cake onto your hand, then flip back right side up onto a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar if desired, slice and enjoy! Keep any left