Japanese cotton cheesecake is a light and fluffy treat for the discerning cheesecake connoisseur. Often described as a combination of the more classic creamy cheesecake and a soufflé. This wonderfully airy treat is one you don’t want to miss!
Come closer, bestie. I’ve got a secret to tell you.
A little closer.
…You are so going to love this recipe!
This Japanese Cotton Cheesecake recipe has been one of my most requested recipes ever since I posted my fluffy Japanese pancakes recipe. And I’ll be honest, I’ve really taken my time with it. I’m always super thorough when testing my recipes (it’s a long, delicious process). But when it came to testing and perfecting this Japanese cheesecake recipe, I really took my time. A whole year.
And sure, you can argue part of that was because I’d eat my cake without waiting to take photos every time I made it. Or because I wanted to keep this recipe to myself (like some kind of ancient Japanese souffle-treasure). Or because I made no less than six of my Japanese-speaking friends check over the katakana spellings in the section below…multiple times, because the way I was spelling “cheesecake” (in Japanese) just looked off. But the truth is, you’ll never know.
Seriously though, does the spelling look off to you? Don’t you think it would look right with an extra ケ instead of the キ? Just me? Okay.
What is Japanese Cotton Cheesecake
Japanese cotton cheesecake is a light and fluffy treat for the discerning cheesecake connoisseur. Often described as a combination of the more classic creamy cheesecake and a soufflé.
In fact, if you’re in Japan, you’ll find that Japanese Cheesecake is actually referred to as soufflé cheesecake (スフレチーズケーキ). If you just ask for cheesecake, you might end up getting a slice of ベイクドチーズケーキ…that is, ‘baked cheesecake’ – which is essentially the same as the cheesecake we have here in North America.
This wonderfully airy treat is one you don’t want to miss.
How is Japanese cheesecake different from American cheesecake
Japanese cheesecake differs from American cheesecake (aka. baked cheesecake) in two main ways – preparation and flavour/texture. While the standard baked cheesecake batter is whipped together and baked, a Japanese cheesecake incorporates a meringue (this requires separating and preparing the egg whites separately) before baking in a bain Marie.
The result is an airy cheesecake with a cotton-soft texture, and a more subtle flavour, with a lot of jiggle. It’s usually less sweet than a baked cheesecake which usually aims for creaminess, and not much jiggle at all!
What makes Japanese cheesecake so jiggly
Cotton cheesecake is prepared by mixing an egg white meringue into the cheesecake batter, and baked using a bain Marie (which is fancy French-speak for a hot water bath – “Marie’s bath”) – essentially, a bowl containing hot water in which another bowl is placed.
Adding the meringue into the cheesecake mixture brings structure and room for air into the cheesecake. The baking process, tempered using the bain Marie, allows for the cheesecake to delicately rise and set. The result is a souffle-like texture, and the ability to jiggle!
Tips to make the best Japanese cheesecake
The perfect Japanese cheesecake can be a fickle mistress. There are three areas that tend to cause the most problems:
Getting the perfect meringue consistency
It’s important to whip your meringues to a “medium” peak – so don’t let that stand mixer go crazy on your egg whites, bestie. I know, I know…usually, it’s a soft peak, or a hard peak…but here I am telling you to find a medium peak. What you want is something that won’t flop about everywhere, but also something that doesn’t stand to attention like it’s auditioning to join a pastry military.
Quick tips for meringue mastery
- Refrigerate the egg whites in a large clean mixing bowl until it’s time to use them.
- Make sure your beaters and mixing bowl are clean and dry. A speck of oil or egg yolk on either one can negatively impact the volume of the meringue that will be made.
- Avoid using plastic bowls as they often hold oily residue more than other materials (yes, even after they’ve been washed!). That said, if the only thing available is a plastic bowl, you can still find success here.
How to prevents cracks
Cheesecake and cracks have a long contentious relationship. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a cracked cheesecake. However, I understand that for many, this is an aesthetic element that’s crucial to a successful cheesecake.
The key is to bake at a low temperature for a long time, and then reduce the temperature to prevent the cheesecake from drying out too quickly. If you follow the recipe instructions, you should be fine on this front.
Using a bain Marie (water bath) is quite important to this recipe in general. But if you want a crack-free cotton cheesecake, it’s a mandatory measure. The steam from the bain Marie helps to cook the cheesecake while maintaining moisture, and thus preventing cracks (especially since the bake time isn’t exactly short).
How to stop your cheesecake from deflating
Once you’re done baking your cheesecake, this recipe requires that you turn off the oven, leave the oven door open, and allow the cake to cool inside the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes (if you have time, you can actually leave it there longer till to allow it to cool even more). It’s important to note that your cheesecake will deflate.
However, what we’re trying to avoid is the type of deflation that occurs when you introduce a rush of cool air suddenly to the hot cheesecake, whereby the inflated cake can almost collapse on itself – it’s a sad sight. Take my word for it, bestie. Don’t ask me how I know.
What if my cheesecake cracks
Sometimes you can do everything right and still end up with a cracked cheesecake. This can be the result of any number of unforeseeable things (such as the humidity in the air that day, or something specific to the oven being used).
It’s important to note that the flavour of a cracked cheesecake is exactly the same as a crack-less cheesecake.
Luckily, we have a solution built into this recipe that bakers have been secretly using for years. All you need to do to cover the cracks is apply a little extra apricot glaze. It works like magic.
Seriously, ever bought a cake and wondered why there seems to be a little extra frosting? It’s not because the baker was in an extra good mood that day. Whispers: It’s because the cake cracked.
(I hope you appreciate me revealing these secrets. The pastry Illuminati will likely try to silence me after this. If you don’t see any more posts from me, let the world know of my sacrifice. Tell them the truth about the pastry Illumina-…
Hello. I am Riz. Everything is fine. Please carry on.
How to prepare the apricot jam glaze
The traditional topping for a cotton cheesecake is an apricot jam glaze. It’s by no means a compulsory part of the recipe. In fact, if you’re looking for a Japanese cheesecake recipe that’s less on the sweet side, I’d suggest you omit it.
You have two options here. The first is just to spread apricot jam on top of your cheesecake. I personally don’t do this as the viscous jam can sometimes tear the delicate cheesecake. Instead, I mix two tablespoons of jam with 2 teaspoons of hot water, and then carefully spread on top. (If you want more glaze, just double or triple the amounts)
How to decorate your cotton cheesecake
If you’d prefer not to use the more-traditional apricot glaze, another popular option is to sprinkle icing sugar over the top of the cheesecake. I’ve actually seen some beautiful souffle cheesecakes that have patterns made by icing sugar being dusted on top of the cheesecake (you can use a stencil or a doily to create the patterns).
Storing a Japanese cotton cheesecake is pretty much the same as any other type of cheesecake – it’ll be fine in the fridge for 2-3 days, ideally in an airtight container to prevent it from drying up. But be honest without yourself, bestie. It’s not going to get to the point where you need to store it.
Can you freeze Japanese cotton cheesecake
I wouldn’t recommend it. The airy texture of the cheesecake doesn’t thaw well.
More cheesecake recipes
- Burnt Basque Cheesecake
- Raspberry Cheesecake-stuffed Pound Cake
- Chocolate Covered Raspberry Cheesecake
- Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake
- Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes
- No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake Bars
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So. Have you ever tried Japanese Cotton Cheesecake? Did you enjoy it? Or do you prefer a regular baked cheesecake? Tell me all about it in the comments below.
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