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Japanese Cheesecake

Significantly lighter than its decadent New York counterpart, the Japanese cheesecake is soft as cotton and unbelievably light and airy.

Japanese Cheesecake fresh from the oven!

There’s this place in Toronto where people line up for as long as 2 hours (sometimes longer) to buy Japanese cheesecakes.

They only allow a maximum of 2 cakes per person and only sell a certain number of cakes per day. So it doesn’t matter if you’ve been in line for half your life on a very cold winter day; if they’re sold out, you go home (crying and/or pulling your hair out optional).

It’s gotten so crazy that they’ve set up a Twitter account to announce to the cheesecake-eating world how long the line-up is at that specific point in time. That’s how good their cheesecakes are.

Skip the lines, make your own Japanese cheesecake

However, I’m not really good with line-ups. In fact I kind of hate them.

So I looked for bakers in YouTube (I think Baking with Mi is my favourite so far) to see what it takes to make these cakes.

I certainly won’t stand in line for them but I will absolutely try to bake one myself.

Because Japanese cheesecakes are delightful – not too sweet with just a hint of cheesecake. What makes them so great is the texture. They are unbelievably light, unlike the very dense New York cheesecake that I think we’re all more used to. They are closer to chiffon cakes than cheesecakes really, but wonderfully softer.

Soft As Cotton Japanese Cheesecake

You can do it!

Making a Japanese cheesecake is essentially the same basic ingredients and set of very specific instructions.

I’m a self-taught baker so I have no idea if my technique is correct so all I can do is follow the recipe as best I can, handle the egg whites as carefully as possible, and watch the oven like a hawk.

And I am rewarded with a lovely cheesecake every time.

My point is: if someone like me can do it then certainly anybody can.

PS: The recipe I’ve been using measures ingredients by weight but I know not everyone owns a kitchen scale so I also provided the volume equivalents in the recipe below.

I tested the recipe using that (I got your back) and I’m happy to report that version turned out great too (just make sure all your ingredients are room temperature ok?).

Don’t let not owning a kitchen scale stop you from baking this (for lack of a more appropriate word) yummy Japanese cheesecake.

Japanese Cheesecake Slice - Soft as cotton!

Japanese Cheesecake

Author: Jolina
Significantly lighter than its decadent New York counterpart, the Japanese cheesecake is soft as cotton and unbelievably light and airy.
4 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Resting Time 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Asian
Servings 12 servings
Calories 107 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 60 grams (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) cake flour
  • 20 grams (3 tablespoons) cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 8-oz block cream cheese
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 100 ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 6 pcs egg whites from large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 140 grams (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • 6 pcs egg yolks from large eggs

Instructions
 

  • Line the base of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease with oil or butter. Since we’re baking this cheesecake in a water bath, wrap your pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil to avoid seepage later.
  • Sift cake flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.
  • Melt cream cheese in a double boiler then add butter and milk. Mix well until combined (see notes).
  • Remove from heat then add in the flour mixture and lemon juice, and stir until combined. This cream cheese mixture needs to cool so while waiting, preheat your oven to 325F and work on your egg whites.
  • Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form (you can also use an electric mixer or even whisk the egg whites by hand – just think of it as a mini-workout).
  • Gradually add the sugar until stiff peaks form.
  • At this point your cream cheese mixture should be cool so you can mix in the the egg yolks. Stir until well combined. To ensure there are no lumps, sift and transfer this mixture into another bowl.
  • Go back to your egg whites and gently fold a third into your cream cheese mixture. Add another third and fold. Then add in the rest of your egg whites and fold until just combined.
  • Pour your batter into your springform pan and lightly drop on your counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
  • Put the springform pan in a roasting pan with about an inch of cold water.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until set and golden brown.
  • Turn off the oven but to avoid cracks, leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door slightly open for another 5 minutes.
  • Then take the pan out and cool completely. Carefully remove the cake from the pan and chill in the fridge overnight to allow it to set.
  • Leave on the counter for about 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

I don’t like double boilers so I sometimes just use the “Soften” feature of our microwave to melt the cream cheese. I don’t melt it all the way – just until the point where I can finish the melting process myself by mixing the cream cheese with a spatula. I then add the butter and milk, pop it in the microwave for a quick 10 seconds and then mix again.

Nutrition

Calories: 107kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 55mgPotassium: 30mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 125IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information are estimates only.

Keyword Afternoon Tea, Celebration, Holidays
Tried this recipe?Tag @iamtheunlikelybaker I’d love to see your creations!

Happy baking!

Did you make Japanese Cheesecake? Tell me how it went in the comments section below. I’d love to hear all about it. There are more cake recipes here.

Rate the Recipe




LizzyD

Saturday 9th of April 2022

Made two of these today, 1 at 45 min and 1 at 43 minutes. Both cracked in the center. It’s absolutely delicious but any tips on how to prevent cracking? I left in the oven for 5 minutes after turning it off.

Jolina

Monday 11th of April 2022

Hi Lizzy, glad you liked them. This post is in my to-update list but I do give lots of tips for crack-free cheesecakes in my other cheesecake recipes like this Baked Matcha Cheesecake. Check it out, it's in the Expert Baking Tips section.

LizzyD

Friday 14th of January 2022

Hi, do I have to use the actual water bath or is it okay to just put the tray with the water on the rack beneath the cake? Thanks!

Jolina

Tuesday 18th of January 2022

Hi LizzyD, yes you can just put the tray with water on the rack beneath the cake. Years ago I used to do "proper" water baths for my cheesecakes but not anymore :) This recipe is definitely in my to-update list. Enjoy!

A_Boleyn

Friday 29th of March 2019

I made the cheesecake today ... a half recipe divided among four one cup ramekins. The only thing I got wrong was the top didn't brown. Otherwise, it was an easy and tasty recipe. Thank you for sharing it.

Jolina

Sunday 31st of March 2019

Doing it in ramekins is a great idea! Glad you liked it.

Anne M Hughes

Thursday 18th of January 2018

I know Instapots are all the rage now so I have started to use my Cuisinart Pressure Cooker (that does all the things the IP does) more often now. One recipe that keeps popping up is cheesecake. Would you recommend doing this recipe in one? Also - 1.. just 1 tablespoon of lemon juice is all the lemon that goes in this cheesecake? I am a huge fan of lemon things - this seems like a very small amount to get real lemony flavor.

Jolina

Sunday 21st of January 2018

Hi Anne. Believe it or not we don't own an Instant Pot (!!) so I can't say for sure if this recipe would work there. And it's not meant to be a lemon cheesecake. If you're looking for one, this is one of the most popular recipes on the blog: https://theunlikelybaker.com/best-lemon-cheesecake-ever/

Divya Prakash

Tuesday 16th of August 2016

Japanese cheesecake looks perfect! I have been wanting to try this cake for sometime now. Your recipe seems great, will give it a try soon.