Japanese Cotton Cheesecake

Soft, moist and creamy Japanese cheesecake- I could eat the whole thing on my own :P

I love cheesecake. The first I baked on my own was an Oreo cheesecake. And to be very honest I haven't been baking cheesecakes lately though there has been a mound of Philadelphia cream cheese blocks in my fridge. Which is a good problem, of course. 

I have to say that I was really intimidated by Japanese cotton cheesecake. Like learning to make macarons, I failed this Japanese cheesecake many many times. The first time I made it for my birthday, the egg whites weren't whipped properly and the cake separated into 2 layers, a dense kueh-like bottom and a fluffy sponge on top. Not nice at all. The next few attempts resulted in the same outcome, slightly better in a sense that the bottom layer wasn't so thick and and the cake was a little lighter overall. 

So when the opportunity (cream cheese overload) came, I jumped on it. I have to say Japanese cotton cheesecake is my favourite cheesecake, and my family's favourite too. It's creamy and cheesy but not overly so, not like the usual baked cheesecake that I usually make which uses a ton of cream cheese. And I don't feel so bad after eating this cheesecake :) Here are some tips that will hopefully help you! 

1) Whip the egg whites to soft peaks

My first few failures were because of over whipped egg whites. Whipping the meringue for a Japanese cotton cheesecake is different from that of chiffon cake and macarons. You don't want to get a stiff of medium peak, but quite a soft peak that curls when you lift the beater. You want the egg whites to be smooth and glossy, but quite wet, and it should slip when you tilt the bowl (unlike stiff peaks where the egg whites stay when you flip the bowl upside down). 

2) Do not bake the cake in a removable base cake tin

Since you'll be baking the cake in a water bath, don't use a removable base cake tin. Even if you line it with layers of aluminium foil and parchment, water might still seep into the tin, you don't want a soggy cake bottom! 

Happy baking!! :) 

Japanese Cotton Cheesecake 
Makes a 6 inch cake 

100g cream cheese, room temperature, cut into cubes 
20g unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into cubes 
15g sugar 
85g milk 
2 egg yolks 
10g corn starch 
25g cake flour 

2 egg whites, room temperature 
1/2 tsp lemon juice 
40g sugar 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Lightly grease a 6-inch cake tin with butter, line with foil, grease the foil with butter and then place a circle of parchment at the base of the tin, and a long rectangle piece at the sides of the tin. 
In a small saucepan over medium low heat, whisk together the cream cheese, butter, milk and sugar until smooth. If the mixture looks lumpy, strain it. Let cool slightly, then whisk in the egg yolks. Sift the corn starch and cake flour, and fold into the cream cheese-egg yolk mixture. Set aside. 
In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or using a hand beater, whisk the egg whites until frothy, then add in the lemon juice. Continue whisking, adding in the sugar in 2 additions, until smooth and glossy soft peaks. 
Fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the cream cheese mixture, folding gently until just combined. Add the cream cheese mixture to the remaining egg whites and fold till combined. 
Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin, tapping gently to remove large air bubbles. 
Place the cake in a large baking dish and fill the large baking dish with warm water so that the water level is about 1/3 way up the cake tin. 
Place the cake tin in the baking dish with water in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 120 degrees celsius and bake for another 35-40 minutes. 
Let cool slightly before removing from tin and cooling on a wire rack. Let the cake chill completely before serving. 

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