Whip up a fluffy cheesecake from Japan this week

Japanese cheesecake has a completely different texture than traditional cheesecakes. It’s a lighter, fluffier cake, best served with fruit or chocolate.

I spend a bit of time each week scrolling through my Pinterest feed, hunting down new recipes I might want to try.

It’s funny how certain recipes start trending suddenly. I’ve seen people get super excited about hot cocoa bombs, charcuterie boards and overnight oats. It starts as a trickle of posts, and pretty soon, there’s every variation of whatever hot, new idea is out there.

It was several years ago that a trend came and went for Japanese cheesecake. A 2016 article in “Delish” notes that these cheesecakes “[…] have a more fluffy, sponge-like texture than classic cheesecake […]” because the recipe calls for separating the eggs and whipping the egg whites before incorporating them into the batter.

When Japanese cheesecake was trending, I placed a few recipes for it on my Pinterest board, and then I never actually tried making one. But, in direct conflict with my grade school D.A.R.E. classes, I finally gave in to the peer pressure this week and gave it a try.

The recipe I tried came from the blog “Foxy Folksy.” You can find the original post at https://www.foxyfolksy.com/japanese-cheesecake/. I didn’t mess with the ingredients, but I did refine the directions below.

Japanese Cheesecake

Ingredients

10 ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar, divided

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

5 eggs, separated

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

powdered sugar, for sprinkling

fruit or chocolate sauce, for topping

Directions

Line the bottom of an eight-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Wrap the outside with two layers of aluminum foil, making sure the pan is as water tight as possible.

In an oven-proof pan or pot large enough to fit your springform pan in, fill it halfway (or enough that it won’t splash over the top of your springform) with water and place it in the oven. Preheat to 390 degrees.

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, microwave the cream cheese, stirring every 30 seconds, until it’s melted and smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup of sugar. Whisk in the milk and lemon juice and then whisk in the egg yolks.

Sift the flour and cornstarch into the cream cheese mixture, continuing to stir until the batter is smooth.

In another mixing bowl or in a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on low for about two minutes. Add in the cream of tartar and beat on medium speed until the mixture starts to get foamy. Then add 1/4 cup sugar, while continuing to beat the mixture over medium or medium-high speed. Continue to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold the beaten egg whites until everything is well-combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and tap it on the counter to get any air bubbles out of the mixture.

Place the springform into the preheated water bath in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 300 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes.

Do not open the oven door, but just turn the heat off and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for another 30 minutes.

Finally, open the oven door a bit and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Serve immediately while warm or refrigerate the cheesecake before slicing and serving.

Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and then top the slices with your favorite fruit or with chocolate sauce.

I chose to serve my cheesecake cold with some strawberries, and it turned out really well. It was a lightly sweet dessert with a very different texture than I’ve ever tried.

And now I understand why Japanese cheesecake became such a trend online. I might have to give a few other popular dishes a try. I still don’t understand the draw to kombucha or sushi burritos, but maybe you’ll see me experiment with those in a few years, too.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly recipe column by Lindsey Young, who describes herself as an enthusiastic amateur cook and can be reached through her website at spiceupkitchen.net.

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