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Japanese Cotton Cheesecake

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4.8 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Riz | Chocolates & Chai
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: 1 Japanese cotton cheesecake 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


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 airy treat is one you don’t want to miss!


Units Scale
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 6 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 6 egg whites, refrigerated
  • 300g cream cheese (10.6 oz), room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp whipping cream, room temperature
  • 5 tbsp + 8 1/2 tbsp white sugar (keep them separate)
  • 9 tbsp cake flour, sifted
  • 1/2 lemon, zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice


Prepare the pan

  1. Generously grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter. Wrap the bottom and up the sides of the pan with a sheet of tin foil, this will prevent water leaking into the pan while baking. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F.

Prepare the batter

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, butter, whipping cream, and 5 tablespoons sugar. 
  2. Whisk in the egg yolks, one yolk at a time, ensuring that each egg yolk is fully incorporated into the batter before adding the next one.
  3. Mix the cake flour into the batter.
  4. Pass the mixed batter through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Mix in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside.
  5. Set up a Bain-Marie in the oven (make sure it’s large enough for your cake pan!). Make sure to close the oven door afterwards.
  6. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium speed until they become opaque, foamy and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Continue mixing, and add the 8 ½ tablespoons of sugar – it’s best to do this in 3-4 instalments.
  7. Increase the mixer speed to high, beat the egg whites until ‘medium’ peaks form (that is, not so soft that they flip flop everywhere, but not completely stiff. If you turn the beaten whites on a whisk, you want it to resist and hold its shape for a couple of seconds before flopping over).
  8. Whisk in a third of the beaten egg whites into the cream cheese mixture until incorporated. Delicately fold another third into the mixture. And then finally, gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
  9. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Tap the bottom of the cake pan a few times on your kitchen counter to release air pockets hiding in the batter.

Time to bake a Japanese cheesecake

  1. Place the cake pan into prepared Bain Marie in the oven. Bake for 75 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and skewer inserted comes out clean. Don’t remove your cheesecake from the oven just yet.

Let it cool

  1. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar for 15-20 minutes with the cake inside. (Taking the cotton cheesecake out of the oven immediately could cause the cake to shrink or collapse.) Allow the cake to slowly deflate to about half the height it was when you turned the oven off – about 2 inches tall. Remove the baking pan from the oven. Remove foil from the pan, and open the spring-lock so that the cake can be carefully removed.
  2. Optional Brush the apricot glaze (recipe instructions are in the post) over the top of the cheesecake. If you’d prefer to not brush the cake with the traditional apricot mixture, that’s totally fine. You can leave it as is. Or decorate it with dusted icing sugar (after it has cooled).
  3. Let cool to room temperature. Chill the cake for at least 2 hours before serving. Celebrate by eating.


  • This recipe can be a bit of a handful, bestie. I’d recommend preparing and measuring out all your ingredients in advance, as well as getting familiar with what a bain Marie is (hint: I’ve explained it in the post). 
  • You may notice that I’ve used weight for the cream cheese amount in the ingredients section. There’s a reason for this. We need the accuracy, and cup measurements just won’t work well for you here. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, just look at the cream cheese packaging as the weight is usually noted.
  • Refrigerate the egg whites in a large clean mixing bowl until it’s time to use them. You should also check out the tips section above to learn more about preparing the meringue correctly.
  • All-purpose flour and cake flour are not the same thing. Cake flour is more delicate, and if you use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, the texture will be dense and tough. There are a couple of methods to effectively turn all-purpose flour into cake flour, but none that I feel confident recommending at this point. (If you’re feeling brave, google away bestie!) Cake flour IS however the same as pastry flour, so no worries there!
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Japanese
Maple syrup being poured on to a stack of three Japanese souffle pancakes.

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