Saturday, March 26, 2011

Japanese Cheesecake

I have been dying to make this recipe because it looked so moist, fluffy, and cheescake-like when I came across it on Chrstine's Recipe blog. I didn't have time to make it when I first found the recipe but I knew the wait would be worthwhile. So, what is a Japanese cheesecake and how does it differ from the standard cheesecake? Well, Japanese cheesecake is not as sweet, rich, and dense.  Also, the texture is light and airy. I would compare it to a cross between a souffle and a sponge cake. If I can give a few words of caution, don't be deceived by the "cheesecake" name because if you have a craving for cheesecake, this is not your cake. The recipe calls for cream cheese but the cream cheese flavor doesn't come through as strong as the typical cheesecake. However, if you are looking for a cake (especially an eggy, sponge-like cake), this recipe is for you! The texture is a unique one because it's light and spongy, while being really moist. This makes the cake practically melt in your mouth like cotton candy (just not as quickly).

Overall, the directions were easy to follow and I recommend this recipe to anyone who wants to try something different. Also, this recipe requires to fold in egg whites and I was quite proud of myself in successfully whipping egg whites and folding it into the batter. A few years ago, I did not touch recipes that required whipping eggs but I'm practically fearless now. Practicing this technique is the only way to get good at this so it is definitely not an understatement! So, if you are one of those fearful egg whippers, give this recipe a try if you are interested in trying Japanese cheesecake!

I baked this with the intention of tasting like a cheesecake but with more of a cake texture. Needless to say, I was not expecting the cake that actually came out of the oven; however, my family liked the cake so I guess this recipe was a win! As for myself? I got my cheesecake fix at lunch today!

Japanese Cheesecake
compliments of Christine's Recipes

1 c. milk
1 c. cream cheese, cubed and softened
1/4 c butter, softened at room temperature
6 egg yolks
1/2 c. cake flour + 1 tsp
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 lemon zest
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 c. + 1 tbsp sugar

1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
2. On a double boiler (over simmering water), combine milk and cream cheese until cream cheese melts and the mixture is smooth. Stir in butter until melted. Remove from heat. Let mixture cool for ~10 minutes and then add the egg yolks and combined. Note: Be sure mixture is not too hot or else you will cook the eggs).
3. Sift flour and cornstarch into the cream cheese mixture in 3 additions, mixing well after every addition. Be sure there are no lumps. Stir in freshly grated zest. Set aside.
4. Place egg whites in a large clean bowl. (Note: Make sure eggs whites are at room temperature) Use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites for 3 minutes, then add cream of tartar and blend again. Pour sugar in the egg whites and blend until stiff peaks form.
5. Fold egg whites into the cream cheese mixture with a rubber spatula just until all ingredients are incorporated in 3 additions. Do not overbeat. 
6. Pour the mixture into a standard loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Test with a needle or skewer that comes out clean.
7. Turn off the oven. Leave the oven door ajar for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove from the pans. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Chill in a fridge for about 3 hours.

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