Thursday, June 7, 2012

Light and Creamy Japanese Cheesecake


My family and I enjoy eating Japanese cheesecake and I have made it a number of times in the past. This time, however, I wanted to make a cheesecake that was not only light and fluffy, but creamy as well and not so cake-like in texture. The typical recipe for Japanese cheesecake uses milk and flour in addition to other ingredients like cream cheese and eggs. In making this creamy version, I've substituted the milk with sour cream and omitted the flour component. I did add a scant amount of cornflour as I figured it might help bind the ingredients (that's what I think anyway) and prevent cracks from forming on top of the cake while it's baking. Whether it helped or not, I can't say for certain, but my cake came out perfect with no cracks at all. It rose nicely in the oven, and didn't collapse in the middle while it was cooling down. In fact, the top of the cake came down slowly until it was just level.


If you must know, I was keeping a watchful eye over the cake from the time it was baking until it cooled down. As with most cheesecakes, it is important to ensure that the cake does not experience any sudden drop in temperature after it's baked, which is why they are usually left to cool in the oven. I think the Cheesecake-gods must have been kind to me that day because not only did my cake not crack, but it shrank ever so slightly that it the top became nice, flat and level (as if I'm not reiterating enough). Because of my constant "watchful eye" over the cake, I managed to catch it just as it was starting to pull off the sides of the pan. So I quickly took it out from the oven and loosened the edges of the cake so as to prevent any cracks from forming while it continued to cool down in the oven. And one more thing: I placed a pan of hot water at the bottom of the oven while baking because apparently the steam that is created also helps to reduce the chance of cracks forming over the cake.



The kids absolutely loved this cake because of its light, fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth texture. Don't expect it to be smooth and creamy like NY style cheesecakes though, because this one is made with a meringue base, and so it has an "airy" meringue-like texture, but creamy nonetheless. And delicious!


Light and Creamy Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust:
3/4 cup (about 100g) finely crushed Digestive biscuits (or other sweet biscuits)
3 tbsp (50g) butter, melted


Filling:
250g (8oz) Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp fresh milk
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cornflour / cornstarch
3 egg whites
 
Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Grease and line the base of a 20cm (8 inch) non-stick springform cake tin with non-stick baking paper. Prepare another pan (either roasting tin/cake tin etc is fine) with some boiling water (about 1 inch deep) which you will need to put in the oven later together with the cake. This provides moisture in the oven when the cake is baking and help prevent cracks from forming on top of the cake.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the crust with a spoon until evenly combined. Press the mixture firmly into the base of the prepared cake tin.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat cheese with milk on medium speed until smooth. Beat in the sour cream, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice, yolks and vanilla extract until well combined. Beat in the cornflour.
  4. In another bowl, whisk egg whites to soft peaks, and then add the remaining 3 tbsp sugar. Continue to whisk until they just reach stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the cheese mixture above until well combined.
  5. Pour into the cake tin over the crust. Place the pan of boiling water (step 1 above) in the lowest rack of the oven. Place the cake on the middle rack, and bake for 50 minutes or until lightly golden brown. The top of the cake will still have a slight wobble when you move the tin. Turn off the oven. Let the cake sit in the oven for 1 hour with the oven door closed. After that, you can leave the door ajar with a one-inch gap and let the cake cool for another 2-3 hours. You can leave the door closed too if you want (it will just take longer to cool!). While the cake is cooling, the top of the cake may start to come down slowly. That's fine. The top of the cake will be flat and level, and shouldn't collapse if you let it slowly cool down in the oven.
  6. While the cake is cooling, the sides will start to shrink and come off the side of the cake tin. At this point, you can remove the cake from the oven and run a sharp knife around the edge of the tin. Quickly put the cake back in the oven and close the oven door (or leave it 1 inch ajar).
  7. Once the cake has completely cooled (if it's just a little warm, it's okay too), remove from the oven and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
  8. Remove the cheesecake from the pan. Cut into slices with a hot sharp knife. Dust with icing sugar and serve with strawberries and cream if desired.

Nicely browned with no cracks on top




31 comments:

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar said...

This cheesecake looks fabulous!! Yum!

Natalie Atick said...

OMG this looks delicious!

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more said...

This is my type of cheesecake.. not too rich, but yet creamy.

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Fern, ABSOLUTELY STUNNING CHEESECAKE! I've been working on the cheesecake for a while as per my husband's request (he loves it). Trying to get perfection but it's very hard. This looks perfect!!! You totally nailed it!!! I wish I can have a piece... :-)

Mel said...

Oh wow, Fern, you baked this cheesecake so beautiful. I know for sure it must be very delicious and yummy. I got to baked this too one day.

Cheah said...

Wow, that's a lovely piece of cake and I can't help drooling over all those nice clicks in your blog!

Yummy Bakes said...

Nice yummy cake - so smooth and fine texture. Your photos are very well captured too.

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

Wow, your cheese cake look so beautiful and tempting! too bad, my family members seem do not appreicate heavy and creamy cheese cake, i can just drool over here... Love your beautiful pictures too.

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

@Sonia: Thanks! Maybe your family won't mind this version since it's more mousse like, and very light :)

Sharon @ Feats of Feasts said...

wah!!! I LIKE!!!

Rachel said...

Wow! Such a beautiful cake...

Ellena | Cuisine Paradise said...

OMG!!!! I can forget about my diet plan and just have this for breakfast, lunch and tea!!! It's look soooo yummy!!!!

Julie said...

I'm new to your site (found you through foodgawker). This cheesecake looks amazing- I think I'll try it with greek yoghurt instead of sour cream and see how it goes. I'm looking forward to browsing through your other recipes :)

daphne said...

those are great tips! my cheesecakes always crack on the top. I'm bookmarking to try this one day. :)

Hyosun Ro said...

Okay I'm going to borrow Nami's words - you nailed it!! That is one good looking cheese cake! I used to bake cheesecake a lot, but not any more some reasons. You've definitely inspired me to go back. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I made this today, but for some reason it's on the soggy side? And mine shrank from the sides alot..But this is finally the first time my egg-white folding didn't fail me miserably! :D Any possible reason to the sogginess? It still tastes like Japanese cheesecake though (yummy!) :) I am determined to try this again!
-Skye

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

Hi Skye,
Thanks for your feedback! I'm not sure what you mean by soggy though....was it too wet or soft? I can give a few guesses why. How long did you bake it for? Did you leave the oven door closed after turning it off? Did you over or under beat the egg whites? Did you mix in the flour properly? Only grease and line the base, sides should be ungreased. Let me know if you try again. I hope it turns out the second time. I think cheesecakes can be temperamental :)

Anonymous said...

It was too wet :\ I baked it for 55 minutes. Yup I kept the door closed...but I didn't leave it in there for 4 hours :P too impatient hehe. I don't know much about egg whites...I don't usually bake much so ^^' too busy with school :(
oops I greased everything haha
I couldn't find my electric mixer before the egg whites, so I used a wooden spoon to mix sour cream and stuff...I used a spatula for the folding though!
I will! (: I've always wanted to make this hehe. Thank you again!
-Skye

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

I am thinking to give this recipe a try..,

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

@Sonia: Let me know if you do. Hope it turns out because I've only made this once :D

stefani said...

hi! if i leave out the crust, do i need to add more corn starch? thank you!

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

@stefani: hi! You can use these amount of cornstarch

Celine Hoang said...

Can you bake 5 days ahead before the party starts?

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

@celine: 5 days would be too long. I 'd suggest one day ahead.

Andria Gao said...

do you know how long i should bake these if i want to make mini cheesecakes from this recipe or do you suggest i make a large one and cut it after baking?

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

@Andria: I've never tried making mini ones before, so not sure how they'll turn out. Probably best to make a large one :)

Anonymous said...

I've baked this cheesecake in a 9'' springform as i didnt have the 8''. I want to bake for the 2nd time but i want to have a higher height of the cheesecake. i wonder if i could make 1.5 of the recipe in 9'' pan and how long should i bake it for? the cheesecake was awesome.

Veronica Ng said...

Your cheesecake is absolutely perfect. No cracks and the texture look superb. I must give your recipe a go. Thanks for sharing.

crazycat said...

I am doing this right now and its already in the oven, fingers crossed hope it goes well. I will post after finished product. Thanks for this recipe!

Jenny Hearn said...

Would putting a bowl of water in the oven below an ordinary cake mixture prevent cracking too?

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

Hi Jenny, I think with an ordinary cake mixture, the bowl of water wouldn't help. You could probably place a sheet of baking paper over the top of the cake halfway through so that it doesn't crack / brown too much from the heat.