Japanese Style Cheesecake (FAIL)

I love cheesecakes. I love making cheesecakes. Up until now, the only type of cheesecakes I’ve made are New York style. New York style is rich and creamy and incredibly dense and sweet. I’ve only ever had cheesecakes this way until my pastry chef friend, Amy, introduced me to Japanese style. She gave me one as a gift and after one bite, I was hooked. After the first bite, I thought to myself, “This is cheesecake?” It was light, fluffy, creamy and not sweet at all. I immediately wanted to know how it was made.

My friend played coy with me. “Google it,” she says, “There are million and 1 recipes out there.” Clearly she didn’t want to give away her secret, which is totally understandable. So now I’m on a mission.

This entry will be for the second time I’ve ever tried to make this cake. The first was an epic fail, in my opinion. It turned out dense and ugly. I served it anyways with help from a friends who helped me decorate it with fruit. So now this is my second time and I learned from my failed first try.

Max’s Modified Ingredients
5/8 cup sugar
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
¼ tsp cream of tartar
¼ cup butter
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
0.4 cup milk
1 Tbsp lemon juice
5/8 cup cake flour
1/8 cup corn starch
¼ tsp salt

The ingredient measurements look unusual because the original recipe uses weight rather than volume. I looked online for the conversions to get these numbers. I think I will have to now invest in a digital scale since a lot of cake recipes use weighted ingredients.

Preheat over to 325 degrees F.


As usual, measure everything out first, and separate the egg yolks and whites.


I don’t own a double boiler, but you can easily create a makeshift one at home. Just have a bowl over a pot of boiling water. It’s important that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water or else whatever you are melting will scorch. So in this picture, I am melting together the cream cheese, butter, and milk.


Melt until creamy. Remove from heat and let this mixture cool.


After the cheese mixture has cooled, add the eggs, flour, corn starch, lemon juice, and salt to the mixture and gently fold them all together.


The mixture should be thicker and look more yellow. Set this aside for now.


In a separate bowl, whisk at high speed the egg whites and cream of tartar until it gets foamy, like in the picture.


Slow the speed down and slowly pour the sugar into the egg whites mixture.


Whisk until you have soft peaks. The peak should curl and droop as shown.


Pour the cheese batter into the egg whites. Be very careful in this step to not just dump it in. The egg whites are the key to keeping the cake light and fluffy because air is trapped. Dumping quickly can deflate the egg whites and will come out with a dense cake. Carefully fold it in until it has been evenly distributed.


This part is important too, butter, or grease the 8’ cake pan, even around the sides. This is to make sure the cake does not stick during removal.


Pour the batter into the cake pan.


Bake in a water bath for 1 hour 10 minutes. The water bath is important in that it slows the heat distribution from within the batter to keep it staying creamy during the baking process. The water level should be about halfway up the pan.


At the end of the baking process, you’ll see the cake has expanded and puffed up! Now here is the key to keep the cake light and fluffy. Do NOT take the cake out right away. I did that the first time and the cake quickly deflated and became hard and dense. A trick I found was to turn off the oven, leave the pan in the water bath and keep the oven door slightly ajar. After 10 minutes, remove the pan from the oven. My cake still deflated slightly but not completely like the first time.

Now, the cheesecake is actually good as is. But I wanted to decorate it some since this cake was going to a Japanese themed dinner party. So I made some fresh whipped cream using heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, sugar and food coloring and frosted the cake. My decorating skills suck, but the cake was not bad.


Here is how it looks from the inside.

Verdict:
– To me, it’s a fail because it is more of a dry cake than a smooth and creamy cake, like my friend’s. I didn’t really taste the cream cheese.
– It’s also a fail because my decoration skills need work
– in coloring whipped cream, I shouldn’t use liquid food coloring (red) because it messes up the consistency of the whipped cream. It bled and melted the cream. I used food coloring paste for the yellow and that turned out great.
– Using cake flour made a huge difference. The first time, I used AP flour which probably was one of the factors of making a dense cake. Cake flour is finer.
– Digital scale is needed next time. You can’t really eyeball measurement in baking because it’s almost an exact science.

Original Recipe: Diana’s Desserts – http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipes.recipeListing/filter/dianas/recipeID/2312/Recipe.cfm

– Max

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