Japanese Soufflé Cheesecake

All men love cheesecake. At least, that’s what my mother claims. I’m not so sure that gender identity has anything to do with dessert preference, but I do know that it made me chuckle to make a cheesecake on International Women’s Day, just because it should presumably be made for the men in my life. Whatevs.

If you’re looking for a rich, dense, New York-style cheesecake, try googling New York Cheesecake because this recipe will leave you sorely disappointed. While completely different from what I traditionally think of as cheesecake, this Japanese Soufflé Cheesecake is a delight in its own special way. It has all the flavor of a cheesecake- creamy, hints of subtle lemon- but rather than being dense and creamy it is light, airy, and jiggly.

The first time I made this recipe was for our quarterly Supper Club Japanese Night. We were tasked with the dessert course and I found the recipe on the fantastic website Just One Cookbook . While the recipe is somewhat involved, it is well worth the effort. It’s been nearly two years since I last made one, but alas, we are hosting another Japanese Supper Club tonight and I couldn’t resist. Along with some homemade Mochi Ice Cream, we will be fat, happy, and sugar high later this evening.

Japanese Soufflé Cheesecake
Recipe from Just One Cookbook

Ingredients

6 large eggs (separated)
300 g cream cheese (10.6 ounces)
60 g unsalted butter (4 tbsp)
200 g heavy whipping cream (200 ml)
60 g sugar (5 tbsp)
80 g cake flour (9 tbsp)
zest of one lemon
30 g lemon juice (about one lemon)
100 g sugar (8.5 tbsp-this is for beating into the egg whites)
2 tbsp apricot jam (for glaze)
2 tsp hot water (for glaze)

Instructions

Prepare your cake pan (you will need a 9 or 10 inch pan with very high sides- 3-4 inches high). A springform pan can work for this if you don’t have a cake pan with high enough sides, just be sure to wrap the bottom with foil before placing it in the water bath! Cut two parchment strips to be criss-crossed at the bottom of the pan. You will use these crossed strips to help lift the cake out of the pan later. Place those at the bottom of the greased pan (I use cooking spray). Then cut a parchment circle to cover the bottom of the pan. Lay this over the crossed strips. Finally, cut long strips to line the sides of the pan (3-4 inches wide to come up the sides of the pan). If you want a visual aid, head over to Just One Cookbook– her recipe has fantastic pictures of how to do all of this.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180C). You’ll bake the cake at 320, but when you open the oven it will quickly cool, so don’t turn it down to 320F until you’ve placed the cake in the oven.

Separate your eggs- place the whites in the bowl of your stand mixer, and put them in the fridge until you’re ready to whip them into oblivion.

Set up a double boiler (a medium sized pot with a couple inches of simmering water), and place a glass or metal mixing bowl with your cream cheese, butter, heavy cream, and the 60g of sugar. Stir this until the butter and cream cheese are melted. Remove from heat and whisk until very smooth.

Into the warm cream cheese mixture, gradually add the 6 egg yolks, one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition.

Using a fine mesh strainer, sift the cake flour into this batter, whisking until smooth.

With the same mesh strainer, strain this mixture into a clean, large bowl.

Zest your lemon into the strained mixture, and then squeeze the juice of the lemon into the batter as well, mixing until completely combined. Set this bowl aside.

Put a baking sheet into the oven and pour some very hot/boiling water onto the sheet pan so that it comes up at least half an inch. This is your Bain Marie – hey cute French name for a sheet pan full of water.

Go to the fridge and get out your bowl of chilly egg whites.

Mix your egg whites on medium speed until they start to get frothy. Then slowly add about a third of the remaining 100g of sugar. Turn your mixer speed up a notch or two, and add another third. After that has whipped up a bit, add the final third and beat until soft peaks form (this looks like thick, white, marshmallowy egg whites- when you take the beaters out you should see the egg white be a little floppy, not too stiff, not too soft!).

Fold one third of the whipped egg whites into the batter, whisking until combined. Then add another third and gently fold it into the batter. Finally empty this folded mixture back into the egg white bowl with the remaining egg whites and fold those in ever so gently.

Take your batter and gently, but quickly put it into the prepared cake pan. Place the cake pan on the sheet pan full of water and close the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 320F and bake for 70-75 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300F after the first 70-75 minutes of baking. Bake at this temperature for another 10 minutes.

Turn oven off and prop the door open. Leave the cake in the oven for 15-20 minutes with the door propped slightly open.

Remove the cake from the oven and gently pull it out of the pan using the long strips.

Mix together the apricot jam and warm water and brush this mixture over the top of the cheesecake.

Let the cheesecake come to room temperature and then store in the fridge.