Japanese Cotton Cheesecake

Japanese Cheesecake – a light & fluffy, melt-in-mouth combination of a creamy tart cheesecake and a light & airy sponge. It’s rightly called a cotton cheesecake – a little pillow of joy on your plate!

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A meringue-based cheesecake, it doesn’t require as much sugar as regular cheesecakes too! It is baked in a water bath at low temperature for above an hour and gets a good rise in the pan with a smooth top. Once the cheesecake is cooked, you need to gradually let it cool to ensure it doesn’t sink. Do refer to my notes at the end for more tips and tricks.

I am happy to get a cheesecake that didn’t shrink or crack on the top in my first go πŸ™‚ I feel the key is the small tips and tricks (right meringue, low baking temperature, gradual cooling) which done right can make a huge difference to the outcome.

I, unfortunately, didn’t click a lot of pictures during the procedure, but I am making it again for my family visiting next week and will try to add πŸ™‚

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This cheesecake can be eaten as-is or paired with a fruit compote. You can also dust it with icing sugar and serve with fresh fruits.

Special shoutout to my new backdrop/base board from Madras Prop StoreΒ – how cool does it look!

Ingredients –

140g cream cheese
40g unsalted butter
80g milk
50g all-purpose flour
15g cornflour
about 100g egg yolks (from 5 large or 6 medium eggs)
about 150g egg whites (from 5 large or 6 medium eggs)
80g granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tbsp lemon zest to flavour

Procedure –

1. Preheat oven to 140 deg C. Line an 18cm springform pan with parchment paper at the bottom and sides to give room to cake to rise. Cover the bottom of the springform with 2-3 layers of aluminium foil so that the water doesn’t seep inside. Keep a baking tray bigger than pan ready for hot water to be poured into.
2. In a pan over low heat, melt the cream cheese and milk together, whisking it continuously. Once melted, switch off the heat and whisk in the butter till melted. Set aside to cool.
3. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and 2 tbsp of sugar till it’s pale and gains volume. Sift the flour, cornflour and salt and mix till no lumps remain. Whisk in the cream cheese-milk-butter mixture. Add vanilla/lemon zest and mix. Keep aside.
4. In a separate bowl with a hand whisk or a stand mixer with balloon whisk attachment, beat the egg whites till frothy. Gradually add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time and keep beating the egg whites until you get stiff peaks.
5. Using a spatula, gradually fold in the meringue into the yolk-cream cheese mixture, 1/3rd at a time. Make sure you are gentle in folding as you don’t want to lose the volume.
6. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan 3-4 times on the counter to get rid of any large bubbles.
7. Place the pan in your bigger baking tray and fill the tray with some hot water just about 2cm in height and not more.
8. Bake the cheesecake at 140C for 80-85 minutes. Once baked, switch off the oven and open the door slightly to let the cheesecake cool gradually inside the oven. After about an hour, remove it from the oven and unmold. For best results, chill the cheesecake for a couple of hours at least before cutting slices and serving.

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Notes –

1. If you do not have a springform pan, a normal 18cm/ 7″ pan will work as well with preferably 7cm/ 3″ height. You just need to be careful while removing the cooled cheesecake from the pan at the end. You can also use a loaf pan with paper hanging out for easy removal.
2. Preparing the springform pan is an important step. The aluminium foils need to be wrapped right so that no water seeps into the cheesecake. The parchment paper on the sides will support the cake rising in the oven.
3. The most crucial recipe element is the meringue. It is the meringue that’ll give your cake the beautiful rise since there are no raising agents added to the cake. Also important is the way you fold in the meringue into the mixture. Be very gentle.
4. Baking at a low temperature ensures a no-cracks top and tall cheesecake. The original recipe was baked at 155C for 80 minutes, but my oven only takes even numbers so I went with 140C for 85 minutes and got great results.

Recipe by Michael Lim’s Youtube channel

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