Thursday, May 20, 2010
When my dad requested a cheesecake for his birthday, I took the opportunity to try out a new type of cheesecake, one that I hadn't baked before. I knew that a rich and creamy European baked cheesecake would be too filling after a big meal, and I thought a better option would be the light and fluffy cheesecakes I loved in Japan! I didn't have my own recipe, so did a bit of googling, and came across this one from Diana's Desserts that got some good reviews. Another blogger made it and her version looked pretty tempting, so I was quite confident it would turn out ok.
The main differences between this cheesecake and a standard European/NY baked cheesecake is that the Japanese version is crustless, it uses less cream cheese, and that it has a whole lotta whipped egg whites for lightness. It is super, super fluffy!
Check out the fluffiness!
I don't normally print recipes, but I've included this one below, as it has been re-printed on blogs before, and I've adapted it slightly for my tastes. If you're good with egg whites and water baths, then this recipe will be a no-brainer for you!
I baked the cake on a Sunday, and we ate it late the next night (after the epic Kenzan dinner). However, we did get to sneak a few tastes on Sunday night - there was too much batter for the 20cm tin I used, so I made mini cheesecakelets with the remainder.
As you can see, I swirled Nutella into a few of them as well. They only needed about 15 minutes to bake through.
I didn't think we'd finish all of these, but between Sandra and myself, we ate ALL of them in front of the TV in less than an hour. Oops.
In our defence, they're really small and super-light! In the miniature, they taste almost like chiffon cake, with the slightest hint of cream cheese. Dangerously easy to eat. The flavour and texture were both super-light, so the nutella ones were overpowered by the nutella flavour. I'd definitely skip the nutella next time.
My little flying-saucer cheesecakelet
Now, as for the actual cheesecake! We had it with tea after our huge dinner (green tea would be very appropriate here), and it was a huge success. Yay! It was moister than the mini-ones, and had a stronger cheesecake taste. After slicing, the pieces tended to dry out quite quickly, so unlike regular cheesecake, I'd recommend eating all of the cheesecake as soon as possible. Not that that'll be a challenge, trust me!
I loved it, loved it, loved it! I will definitely be making this again and again. I'm thinking mattcha flavour next time, or maybe a strawberry swirl...
Adapted from Diana's Desserts
1/2 a vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
250g cream cheese
100 ml milk
140g castor sugar
60g cake flour
1 tbs lemon juice
Split the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Place pod and seeds (or vanilly extract) into a double boiler, and add the cream cheese, butter and milk.
Place over a low heat, stirring frequently until melted and amalgamated. Remove the vanilla pod and discard.
Cooking point! Make sure the mixture is super smooth, without any lumps.
Allow the mixture to cool. Add in the flour, the cornflour, egg yolks, lemon juice and salt. Mix well.
In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add in the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.
Gently fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture, in 2 batches. Mix the egg whites in gently but thoroughly, so that you can maintain the volume whilst ensuring there are no white streaks left in the batter.
Line a deep 20cm springform tin, or a standard 23cm springform tin with greaseproof paper. Wrap the outside of the tin in 2 layers of cling wrap, and 2 layers of foil. The glad wrap isn't strictly necessary, but the idea is to create a waterproof barrier. For the record, I've never had cling wrap melt in the oven, and I find that it always comes away easily from the tin after baking. However, I can't make any guarantees for all brands of cling wrap - try this at your own risk!
Place the prepared cake tin into a roasting tray and pour in the batter. Pour water from a recently boiled kettle into the tray, to come halfway up the side of the tin.
Bake in an oven preheated to 160C for 1 hour and 10 minutes, until set and golden brown. Take it out of the waterbath straight away, and as soon as it is cool enough to bear, peel away the foil and gladwrap. Let the cheesecake cool in the tin on a wire rack.