When I was living in Taiwan, something that was insanely popular at bakeries were Japanese baked cheesecakes. A famous shop for selling cheesecake tarts there was called Uncle Tetsu’s. Well, they’re opening a new Uncle Tetsu’s in a mall here in Vancouver so I thought that it would be the perfect time to make one of my own.
I’ve always wanted to try making them on my own, but I always seem to forget about it because the things I want to bake start to stack up. That and I hear that it’s a bit on the temperamental side when it comes to being baked. Although I should never let that hold me back from trying something new so I went off to the store and bought myself a block of savory cream cheese to start my new baking venture.
I’ve actually made something similar before called the Cotton cheesecake. I would say that this Japanese cheesecake is similar ingredient wise but it is much denser in texture and richer in flavor. Like all bakes that involve a water bath or the word souffle, I understand that they can be intimidating so here are my best tips and tricks.
- Prepare ahead of time – removing the cream cheese and butter from the refrigerator 2 hours before baking allows them to cream together better when they are in the double boiler. Taking the eggs 1 hour ahead of time allow them to separate easier and hold their peaks better when you’re making the meringue.
Use springform– Using a springform pan allows for easy removal of the end product
Use a waterbath – Using a waterbath keeps the cake nice and moist when you bake it in the oven. The cake bakes for over an hour which is longer than the usual baking time for cakes. This means that it’s important to keep it moist or you’ll be left with a dry cake. This is why it’s essential to use a waterbath. It keeps the cake insulated and allows it to bake at a consistent temperature leaving you with a fluffy and moist texture.
Be gentle – Make sure you do not whip or mix your egg white batter into the cream cheese mixture. This will deflate the egg whites and leave you with a dense cake instead of a fluffy one. Fold it in!
Watch the temp – If your cake ends up cracking on the top, it means that the heat is too high or the cake is too close to the heating elements in your oven. Remember this and lower the position or temperature by 25F next time.
- Be patient – The cake will shrink when it’s done but leaving it in the oven after it’s finished will help prevent this so leave it in! Once cooled, be sure to pop it in the fridge for 4 hours before eating. This helps set the cream cheese and greatly improves the flavor and texture. I know it’s tempting but trust me it’s worth the wait!
I hope these tips and tricks help you on your Japanese cheesecake baking journey. Have you made these before? How did it turn out?
- 140g fine granulated sugar
- 6 egg whites
- 6 egg yolks
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 50g unsalted butter
- 250g cream cheese
- 100 ml fresh milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 60g cake flour
- 20g cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler. Fold in the flour, the cornflour, salt, egg yolks, lemon juice and mix well. The mixture should be smooth.
- Using an electric mixer, make the meringue by whisking egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar ⅓ at a time until stiff peaks form.
- Take ⅓ meringue and lightly fold it into the cheese mixture, then fold in another ⅓ of meringue. After incorporated, pour the batter back to the remaining ⅓ meringue and fold.
- Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 8-inch round cake pan.
- Bake cheesecake in a water bath for 1 hours 10 minutes or until set and golden brown at 325 F.
- Refrigerate the cake (with or without the cake tin) for at least 4 hours or overnight.