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By March 29, 2016 , ,

I am not normally a biggest fan of cheesecake as I often find them a little too dense, a little sweet for my liking. However, recently I've stumbled upon a recipe that promises a cheesecake with a lighter yet creamy texture. Aptly named the Japanese "cotton" cheesecake, I was surprised by its fluffy, chiffon-like texture.

As with all chiffon-type cakes, egg whites are beaten to a stiff-peak and remember to not over-fold the batter. All the air created from beating the egg white is what makes the cake rise and retain it fluffy texture. I forgot to drop the pan onto the kitchen bench before putting it in the oven, that's why you will notice some air bubbles in the cake.

The cake is baked using the water-bath method on the lowest (or second lowest) rack for about 70 minutes. It's quite a long time to "cook" the cake but slow and steady wins the race, especially for such a delicate "cotton" cake. After removing the cake pan from the oven, it is important to remove the cake from the pan as soon as it is out from the oven to prevent shrinkage.

I'm not sure what caused the cracks on the cake's surface, but some other fellow food bloggers suggested to beat the eggs until close to stiff peaks formed. But don't underbeat the egg whites either, just make sure the meringue stays on the bowl when you lift the bowl upside down. It's a risky move and I haven't tried it either. So let me know how you go if you've tried this method.

Despite the cracks, the cake still taste great, and even better after refrigerated. It's a recipe that I will return to and hopefully no more cracks for me next time!

Japanese Cotton Cheesecake

For one 8" cake pan

250g cream cheese (I used a block of Philadelphia Cream Cheese)
70g caster sugar
60g butter (salted)
100ml fresh milk, cold from fridge

5 egg yolks (about ~65g each)
1/4tsp salt
1tbsp +1tsp lemon juices
60g cake flour
20g corn flour

5 eggs white
1/4tsp Cream of Tartar
70g caster sugar

Line bottom of a 8in x 3in aluminium round cake pan and grease the sides (I used canola oil). If you use a removable bottom cake pan, wrap with aluminium foil and also grease the sides.

Melt cream cheese (cut into small cubes), butter and sugar over a double boiler. Using a silicone spatula, mix it together and almost melt, then change to a hand whisk, stir the mixture till smooth. It’s ok if you noticed that the mixture is slightly grainy.

Remove the bowl from heat. Add in cold milk, and whisk until combined.

Transfer the mixture into a large and clean mixing bowl (the mixture is slightly warm at this time), then add egg yolks one at a time and use a hand whisk, stir until smooth for each addition.

Add in salt and lemon juices, and stir well. Sift in cake flour and corn flour (3 batches), until fully combined. It’s if the mixture slightly grainy.

Beat the egg whites until foamy, then add cream of tartar into egg white, beat till foamy. Gradually add in sugar in 3 batches and beat till stiff peaks are formed

Take 1/3 meringue and mix with egg yolk batter using a balloon hand whisk. Change to silicone spatula, fold in 1/3 of meringue till slightly combined, then fold in balance 1/3 meringue and gently fold till mix well. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan (pour from 2’ height as to remove air bubbles), also lightly tap on countertop to remove air bubbles.

Bake over the waterbath method: Place the cake pan in another bigger pan ( about 1” -2” extra but not too big), fill with 1/2cup-1cup hot water. Bake at pre-heated oven at  155C for 70mins at lowest level.

To minimize shrinkage, remove cake pan immediately from the oven once done. Place on a wire rack to cool down. When you see the cake pull away from the sides, place a piece of non-stick baking paper (large enough to cover the whole cake) on a piece of flat board, then invert the cake pan onto the flat board, peel off the baking paper. Finally, invert back the cake which is on the flat board onto a cake tray or plate and continue to cool down completely.

Chill the cheesecake to have better flavours and texture. Serve with cream or berries for extra flavour.

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