Cottony Japanese Cheesecake from Modern Asian Baking at Home

Recipes excerpted from Modern Asian Baking at Home by Kat Lieu. Reproduced by permission of The Quarto Group.

Cottony Japanese Cheesecake

Cottony Japanese Cheesecake, Modern Asian Baking at Home

This recipe took me three years to perfect, so don’t feel too discouraged if yourJapanese cheesecake is not perfect the first time around. When a nearly perfectJapanese cheesecake comes out of theoven, it’s an ethereal experience. You’ll want to bake this airy, melt-in-your-mouth showstopper over and over again.

Note: Once refrigerated and “aged,” the cake will transform into a denser yet still light cheesecake. Depending if your oven runs too hot or too cold, you may need to adjust baking temperatures accordingly. If the top of the cake cracks, your oven may be running too hot. Try beating the meringue to firmpeaks instead of stiff peaks.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 65 to 75 minutes

Yield: One 8-inch (20.5 cm) Cake 

Ingredients 
FOR THE BATTER
About 1 cup (225 g)cream cheese
¼ cup (½ stick,or 55 g) butter
¼ cup (50 g)granulated sugar
5 eggs yolks (about3½ ounces, or 100 g)
About ¼ cup (30 g)cake flour
2 tablespoons (16 g)cornstarch
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ cup (120 g) milk
FOR THE STIFF PEAKS MERINGUE
5 egg whites (about 5½ ounces, or 150 g),room temperature
½ teaspoon creamof tartar
¼ cup (50 g)granulated sugar
FOR THE OPTIONAL TOPPING
1 tablespoon (8 g)confectioners’ sugar
Method
  1. Line an 8-inch (20.5 cm) cake pan with a parchment paper circle. Nestle a strip of parchment paper into the sides of thecake pan to form a collar.
  2. Preheat the oven to 320°F (160°C, or gas mark 3) and placea rack in the center.
  3. Make the batter. In a pot over low heat, mix the creamcheese and butter until smooth andcreamy. Remove fromheat. Whisk in the sugar and egg yolks until incorporated.Add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, vanilla extract,lemon juice, and milk and whisk until incorporated, scrapingdown the sides of the pot as needed. Set aside.
  4. Make the stiff peaks meringue (see technique on page 18).
  5. Add one-fifth of the meringue to the batter. Gently whiskuntil incorporated. Repeat two more times. Then pour allthe batter into the bowl with the meringue. Using a whisk,gently fold the remaining meringue into the batter, until homogenous, thick, and creamy. There should be no white streaks remaining in the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan againstthe counter a few times. Swirl the whisk over the top of thecake to smooth it out. Put the pan in a large baking dish.Place the baking dish on the oven rack. With oven mitts on,pull the rack out. Fill the baking dish with about 1½ inches(3.8 cm) of hot water. Bake for about 18 minutes, until the cakerises a bit. Crack the oven door open slightly for 10 seconds.Lower the oven temperature to 285°F (140°C, or gas mark 1)and bake for an additional 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
  7. With the door ajar, keep the cake in the oven for 20 minutes after baking.
  8. Remove from the oven. The cake will deflate a little.
  9. To remove the cake from the pan, place a plate over thecake. If the pan is still hot, use oven mitts. Flip the cake outonto the plate. While the cake is upside down, remove theparchment paper. Quickly place a serving plate on top of thecake (it’s the bottom part of the cake). Carefully flip again. Alternatively, if the parchment collar is supportive enough,hold two opposite sides of the parchment collar and simply lift the cake out of the pan.
  10. Dust with the optional confectioners’ sugar. Serve whilethe cake is still warm and jiggly.
For a matcha version of this cake, substitute 1 to2 tablespoons (8 to 16 g)of flour with matcha.

About the Author

Kat Lieu of Subtle Asian Baking and author of Modern Asian Baking at Home. Image credit: Kat Lieu

Grew up in South Brooklyn, New York, she obtained a Doctor of Physical Therapy to fulfil her Asian parents’ dreams in 2008. However, for the past 13 years, Kat Lieu has been constantly searching for her identity. “For many years, I was untrue to myself and constantly searching, always unsatisfied, and I became a serial resigner (I always had a template for a resignation letter ready!)”, she shares with Set the Tables.

During the peak of the pandemic, Kat started Subtle Asian Baking (SAB) on Facebook as a private group for like-minded home bakers. Within two years, it had snowballed to a community of 145.2k people (as of May 2022). Beyond supporting individual bakers, charities, and Asian communities, Lieu sees this platform as a place for connection and inclusivity for bakers of all backgrounds, not only those of East Asian descent. Her first cookbook, Modern Asian Baking at Home, will be released on 28th June 2022.

You can preorder your copy of Modern Asian Baking at Home here and on Amazon.

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