Japanese food is not really my type, sorry to all the Japanese enthusiasts out there. I mean, there’s something so alluring about unhealthy food, sweet desserts, grilled meat, fruits that will give you thousands of calories. And Japanese food is simply a bit too healthy to taste good to me.
But Japanese cotton cheesecake is different. It looks pretty, and tastes awesome too. It takes like forever to bake in the oven, but it’s worth the wait. It has the creamy rich flavor of cream cheese – the best variable of cheese on earth, the fluffiness of a sponge/foam cake, and, as always, the fragrant of vanilla. It melts in your mouth like cotton candy (maybe that’s why it’s called cotton cheesecake), and yet the sweetness and richness lingers – the same way that Japanese hospitality lingers in you long after you part ways.
Anyway, to mark my come back after exactly a month. (I was traveling, got another job and had quite a challenging time adjusting to it, oops, you should check out the website of my new employer too. We’re kind of like viator, but better, since we’re about cool, themed vacations – horse riding, cycling, culinary. The website is ebookingservices.com)
And here’s the recipe.
- Ingredients (to make a 15-cm diameter cake)
- 60 grams of cream cheese, room temperature
(Note 1: Cream cheese, if not at temperature, will create lumps in the batter. Not a big issue, we just need more time and effort to strain the batter.)
- 20 grams unsalted butter
- 45 ml milk
- 20 grams sugar
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/2 table spoon vanilla extract
- 20 grams all-purpose flour
- 10 grams corn starch
- 20 grams sugar
- 1/2 tea spoon cream of tar tar
- Line the bottom of the round baking pan with a piece of parchment paper and set aside
- Boil a little water in a pot
- In a bowl (the bottom of the bowl should be larger than the pot, so that we can put the bowl on top of the pot to make a double-boiler), put in the cream cheese, butter, milk, and sugar.
- Boil them until all melted and combined.
- Let it cool for 5 minutes
- Put in the egg yolks, and vanilla, mix with a whisk until all combined
- Sift the flour and corn starch into the batter, mix with a whisk until all combined
- Strain the batter through a fine-sifted mesh to remove all lumps.
- Turn on the oven at 150 degrees celcius
- Beat the egg whites with cream of tar tar and sugar until stiff peaks form
(Note 2: The one and only source that I used, said to not beat the egg whites until stiff peaks, but almost until stiff peaks. I’m just a really clumsy baker, so to make it safe, I just overbeat it. Don’t do that though, it takes a long time to fold the egg whites into the egg yolk batter, and during the process, the precious air bubbles in the egg whites may break.)
- Re-boil the water to prepare for the water bath.
- Put 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk batter, use a whisk to gently stir it until incorporated
- Put the other 1/3 of the egg whites, use a spatula and gently fold it into the batter.
- Repeat with the remaining 1/3 of the egg whites.
- Now, pour the boil water into a large pan.
- Pour the batter into a 15-cm round pan
- Put the round pan inside the large pan, so that the water level reaches about half the height of the round pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes at 150 degrees, then reduce temperature to 140 degrees.
- Around 60-70 minutes into baking, check the cake by gently pressing your finger on the surface of the cake. If it springs back immediately, then it’s done.
(Note 3: 45 minutes mean 45 minutes, and 60-70 means 60-70. Don’t be impatient, Chloe.)
(Note 4: If the top of the cake gets golden brown before it’s done, use a foil to cover it. Remember to put quite a lot of holes on the foil to make sure the steam do not ruin the cake.)
- Use anything to pop ajar the oven door and bake for 15 minutes more. The purpose is to make the cake adjusts to the lower temperature outside of the oven, and thus shrinks back gradually, so there is no crack. The cake should shrink back, and separates itself from the pan.
(Note 5: Do not open before this point, same thing you would do to the New York Cheesecake. Oh gosh, I miss NYC.)
- Remove from oven, let it cool on a wired rack.
- And bite into this delicious cheesecake.