recipe

Japanese Cheesecake: the best recipe for a fluffy, delicious Japanese dessert

Total time: 2H50
Difficulty: Low
By Cookist
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If you've never had Japanese cheesecake, prepared to be wowed. This ultra-light, fluffy dessert is so airy and soft, it practically melts in your mouth. Also known as Japanese cotton cheese, jiggly or soufflé cheesecake, this wonderful dessert is part rich, decadent cheesecake, part lighter-than-air soufflé.

Its secret lies in whipping a lot of egg whites to get an impressive fluffy and jiggly texture. Japanese cheesecake has a delicious, mildly tangy flavor, and you can easily customize it by adding other flavors and ingredients. Enjoy it hot or cold with any topping of your choice such as whipped cream, fresh fruit, fruit puree, chocolate sauce, or any other favorite for that matter.

If you want to make a beautiful dessert that is sure to be a hit, Japanese cheesecake is perfect for you!

What is Japanese Cheesecake?

Japanese cheesecake is a delicious, light, airy dessert that's similar to chiffon cake, but a little sturdier. It gets its light texture from egg whites and being cooked in a water bath. If you go to Japan, be sure to call this super fluffy dessert simply Baked Cheesecake or Soufflé Cheesecake.

There are three main versions of cheesecake in Japan: baked, which is similar to the classic American-style cheesecake; rare, which is a no-bake cheesecake in Japan made without eggs; and soufflé cheesecake aka jiggly cake, which is this recipe here.

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Japanese Cheesecake vs. American Cheesecake

Japanese cheesecake is different compared to American-style cheesecakes in several key ways. It's much lighter and airier compared to dense, creamy American cheesecakes. This is because egg whites are added to the batter, which makes Japanese cheesecakes much lighter. They're also not as sweet as traditional American cheesecakes, and don't have crusts.

Japanese Cheesecake Ingredients 

You don't need any fancy ingredients to make the perfect Japanese cheesecake.

Cream cheese, eggs, butter, and heavy cream will give it a wonderful silky texture, while cold egg whites are key to making the cheesecake lighter than air.

Sugar and lemon juice add flavor to the cake and lend a hint of tangy sweetness.

Because we want a light cheesecake, use cake flour – AP flour won't cut it.

Finally, you'll need a little apricot jam which you'll dilute with hot water to make a delicious glaze for the top of the cake.

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How to Make Japanese Cheesecake

Ready to make the best Japanese cheesecake? Before you get started make sure to measure all of your ingredients and set them up on your countertop. This will allow you to bake seamlessly. Place the egg whites in the fridge. They need to be cold to give your cake the fluffiest, lightest texture.

Now it's time to prep your pan. Line the bottom and sides of your cake pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper with butter or cooking spray. This is essential for easy removal once the cake has been baked. Next, preheat your oven to 350F and pour two inches of water into a pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid.

Making the Cream Cheese Batter 

Put the cream cheese, butter, whipping cream, and sugar into a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the simmering water, then combine the ingredients until they melt and become smooth. Take the cream cheese mixture off the heat.

Next, whisk the egg yolks into the cream cheese mixture one at a time. Sift in the flour. Sifting is a must because it will help make your batter lump-free. Whisk to combine. Strain the batter into a clean bowl. Whisk in the lemon zest and lemon juice.

Making the Meringue

Before making the meringue, pour some hot water into a baking dish and place it in the oven. Next, beat the egg whites until they become light and foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar and keep beating until medium to stiff peaks form.

Fold the egg whites into the batter one-third at a time. Pour the batter into your cake pan. Gently tap the pan a few times against the countertop to pop any air bubbles.

Baking the Japanese Cheesecake in a Bain-Marie

Set the cake pan in the baking dish. The water should reach about halfway up the side of the cake pan. Lower the temperature to 320°F and bake your cheesecake for 70 to 75 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300°F and bake for 10 more minutes. Switch off the oven and crack the door open. Let the cake cool for 15 to 20 minutes. This will help prevent it from collapsing.

While the cake is cooling, combine the jam and hot water. Remove the cake from the cake pan. Glaze the top of the cheesecake with a pastry brush, then leave the cake to cool completely before slicing. You can serve your Japanese cheesecake at room temperature or pop it in the fridge for an hour or two and enjoy it chilled.

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Tips for Making the Best Japanese Cheesecake

Don't take the cheesecake out immediately once you've finished baking it. This will make it collapse.

You can make Japanese cheesecake in an air fryer. Simply add hot water to the bottom of the air fryer, then bake the cake for 15 to 20 minutes. Leave it for 5 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan.

If your cheesecake tastes eggy, it might be due to overmixing the batter or not baking the cake long enough. Your Japanese cheesecake is done baking when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Make sure you've measured and set up all your ingredients before you start baking.

Use room temperature ingredients to make your cheesecake except for the egg whites. The egg whites should be cold. This will give it the lightest, fluffiest texture.

Make sure the bowl you use to beat the egg whites is completely clean. If there is any grease or oil, the stiff peaks won't form.

If you're using a convection oven, lower the heat by 25°F.

You can change the lemon flavor by adding the vanilla or your favorite flavor.

For a keto-friendly Japanese cheesecake, replace sugar with a natural sweetener and swap refined flour for low-gluten flour.

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How to Store Japanese Cheesecake

Cover or wrap your cheesecake and store it in the fridge for up to one week. Frozen Japanese cheesecake will last up to 3 months. Don't leave your cheesecake out at room temperature for more than a few hours.

Ingredients
large eggs, yolks and whites separated
6
Cream Cheese
10.6 oz
heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup + 4 tsp
Unsalted butter
4 tbsp
Sugar
4 1/2 tbsp
cake flour
2/3 cup
zest of half lemon
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp
Sugar
1/2 cup
Apricot jam
2 tbsp
hot water
2 tsp

Instructions

Measure all of your ingredients and set them up on your countertop. Place the egg whites in the fridge.

Line the bottom and sides of your cake pan with parchment paper. Generously grease the parchment paper with butter or cooking spray. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Place the cream cheese, butter, whipping cream, and sugar in a heatproof bowl.

Pour 2 inches of water into a pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Put the bowl over the simmering water.

Mix until the ingredients melt and become smooth. Take off the heat.

Add the egg yolks in one at a time.

Whisk each time.

Sift the flour into the cream cheese mixture. Whisk to combine.

Strain the batter into a clean bowl.

Whisk in the lemon zest.

Add the lemon juice. Pour hot water into a baking dish and place it in the oven.

Beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar and keep beating until medium to stiff peaks form.

Fold the egg whites into the batter one-third at a time.

Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan.

Tap it a few times to pop any air bubbles.

Place the cake pan in the baking dish. Lower the temperature to 320°F and bake for 70 to 75 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300°F and bake for 10 more minutes. Turn off the oven and crack the door open. Let the cake cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the cake pan.

Whisk the apricot jam and hot water in a bowl.

Using a pastry brush, glaze the top of the cheesecake.

Leave the cake to cool completely.

Slice, serve and enjoy!

Notes

Use a 9-inch cake pan for your Japanese cheesecake.

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