My parents love the Japanese Cheesecake over the usual New York cheesecake because of it’s light, fluffy and creamy texture. Think of it as a chiffon cheesecake, just that it’s slightly denser than a real chiffon ;) They constantly remind me to make it when we visit our favourite sushi joint, where their desserts are placed in a small display fridge just next to the cashier. My family will buy the mochi in the display, but hardly ever buy the cake. And remind me to make the cake again.
The company that open the Sushi chain, Ichiban Boshi, is the same one that introduced the Japanese Cheesecake to Singapore. They used to only have another Sushi joint, Fiesta and it was well known for its Japanese Cheesecakes with a cute cow character imprinted on top. It brings back fond memories as I remember having it way back when I was in Secondary School!
(Recipe adapted from Fantastic Cheesecakes by Alex Goh)
Makes a 8 or 9-inch fluffy cheesecake
160g cream cheese, softened
25g butter, softened
120g milk, room temperature
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla essence
pinch of cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1. Preheat your oven to 160 degree C / 320 degree F. Boil a pot of water, we’ll be doing a steambath for your cake. Grease and line your pan, make sure the side linings are about 1 1/2 inches high. (I didn’t and the tops cracked because it had no space to rise!)
2. Beat together cream cheese, butter and milk until smooth. You can do this over a waterbath, or microwave it a little to help if the lumps persist.
3. Once smooth, beat in the corn flour and flour. Add the egg yolks and vanilla.
4. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Continue beating and add the cream of tartar and salt, then gradually add in your sugar. Continue beating until you have soft peaks – this means when you lift your beaters, the egg whites are just starting to hold peaks, still soft and will fall back into the beaten whites. Beat the whites on medium speed if using a mixer, so that the beaten air bubbles will be small, helping the cake to be more stablised.
5. Fold 1/3 of your beaten egg whites into your cream cheese mixture. When well combined, fold in the other 2/3. Be gentle when folding as you don’t want to deflate your whipped egg whites!
6. Pour batter into your prepared pan. Place it in a baking pan and into the oven. Take your boiling water and fill your baking pan until it reaches about 1/3 of the cheesecake pan (use your judgement, just fill the bigger pan to as much as it can hold)
7. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the cake is firm and golden brown. If it gets too brown, quickly place a piece of aluminium foil (this is another reason for the high pan side linings, to ensure that the top has space to rise). Once firm and golden brown, switch off your oven and leave the cake inside for about 30 minutes with the oven door slightly open. Sudden temperature changes will cause your cake to deflat, hence it’s best to leave it to cool this way.
8. Once cooled, remove the cake from pan and leave it on the cooling rack.
9. You can take a slice and eat it now. Or chill it and enjoy it cold!