Japanese Cheesecake with Rose Whipped Cream

Seeing is believing, and in this case, tasting is believing. Here, we have a Japanese Cheesecake. Lighter on the palette and boasting fluffier naughty bits than its Western cousin, it deceives you into thinking that it is good. But no, if you look beneath its angelic exterior, you will find that the cream, the cheese, the fattening bits are all in there; they’ve only been whipped into shape by egg whites. The mere incorporation of air fools us into thinking that the Japanese Cheesecake is healthier….but is it?

*pause for dramatic effect*

OH BUT WHO THE HELL CARES?! Sorry for the outburst but okay, maybe I ain’t sorry, Japanese cheesecakes are just too good to ignore, alright?! I first had one when Fiesta (a Japanese sushi chain in Singapore) churned out all sorts of flavours many moons ago. My favourite was the plain one, and it was impossibly light and creamy. I remember wondering, ‘How does a cheesecake get so light?’. Back then, I was a real noob at baking, and I didn’t know how to make a cheesecake, let alone a Japanese one. It took years for me to figure it out.

Incidentally, I have recently been the worst nightmare of eggs. I dismember them, I turn my nose up at the yolks and I go in for the kill. I whip the egg whites till they beg for me to stop, and then I coerce them into macarons and chiffon cakes. When M’s birthday came around, he requested for a cheesecake; all I could think of was to fashion a Japanese cheesecake out of ’em poor egg whites. Dictator of eggs or not, I was scared shitless. I had no idea how the cake was going to turn out, I was convinced that it would be a flop, quite literally so. Thanks to a trustworthy recipe, the Japanese cheesecake was anything but. It was light and somehow creamy at the same time. Biting into it is very much akin to pinning a cloud, impossible but so very gratifying when you do so. Think cotton candy, but on a cheesecake. You sink your teeth into a whole chunk, only for it to pull a disappearing act seconds later, and then two days later, you find an even bigger paunch (for those who find a paunch that wasn’t there in the first place, good for you because hey, you don’t have a jelly belly to begin with). That, my dears, is the prestige worthy of Houdini. Just be careful not to suffer a death by Japanese cheesecakes; dangers do lurk in magic, even if it’s light and creamy.

Here are the recipes. The ones in parentheses were the first quantities I tried when I was practising. By following the recipe, and changing it to include the ones in parentheses, you’ll get a creamy, slightly heavier cake with an egg-ier flavour. I preferred the other recipe (turned out to be similar to the original recipe by Alex Goh, it is also the one that I followed for M’s birthday cake), which yields a lighter and less egg-y cheesecake. I also frosted the cake with rose whipped cream; the addition of rosewater masks the otherwise distinct milky taste of whipped cream and gives an understated hint of fruitiness to the creamy cake. You could add rose essence instead of essence of rosewater to give it a more floral kick. I would, if I had rose essence in my pantry.

Japanese Cheesecake with Rose Whipped Cream

Japanese Cheesecake
(adapted from Alex Goh’s Fantastic Cheesecakes)

Ingredients that yield a lighter cake:

160g full-fat cream cheese
25g unsalted butter
100ml full-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
40g plain flour
20g corn flour
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
100g caster sugar

Ingredients that yield a creamier, egg-ier cake:

160g full-fat cream cheese
80ml whipping cream
25g unsalted butter
50ml full-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
40g plain flour
20g corn flour
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
80g caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celsius (fan). Grease and flour an 8-inch cake tin (with removeable base) generously. Wrap the sides of the cake tin in aluminium foil.

2. Sift flours together and set aside. Beat egg yolks in another bowl and set aside.
3. Melt cream cheese, milk, butter, vanilla paste (and cream, if using) in a double-boiler (over barely simmering water) until smooth. Leave mixture to cool slightly.
4. In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar till foamy, then add pinch of salt and caster sugar. Whisk till you get soft peaks.
5. Mix the sifted flours into the cream cheese mixture until relatively smooth. Then, mix in the beaten egg yolks until well-combined.
6. Next, gently fold 1/3 of the meringue from Step 4 into the mixture from Step 5. Gently fold in the remaining meringue until batter is well-combined.
7. Place the cake tin (which has been wrapped with foil) in a deep oven tray, pour batter into the tin, and gently rap it on the tray a few times to get rid of air bubbles.
8. Place the tray with the tin into the oven, and carefully pour boiling water into the tray till water level is about one-inch high. Do not be overzealous with the pouring, in case the tin starts floating and water seeps in.
9. Bake for 35 minutes at 140 degrees Celsius, with a piece of foil loosely covering the top of the cake tin. Remove the foil after 35 minutes (or when cake has risen and threatens to stick to the foil…), and continue to bake for another 20 minutes. Switch off oven and let the cake cool in the oven, with the door left ajar for 1 hour. You might want to do a skewer test before the cooling process, the skewer should not be wet, and should be almost clean.
10. Remove the cake from the oven, and turn it out to a cooling rack to cool further.
11. Frost with rose whipped cream (recipe below).

Rose Whipped Cream
250ml whipping cream, cold
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon essence of rosewater

1. Whisk whipping cream till frothy, add sugar and whip till thick and of piping consistency.
2. Add essence of rosewater and whisk briefly to combine.
3. Frost cooled cheesecake. Plonk some raspberries on the cake. Dust the raspberries with some edible gold lustre, and there you have it, magic!

I have been working on a fundraising event on my blog for the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. You can visit this post here to find out more details. I’m pledging a USD100 Amazon gift card to one lucky donor who donates before 31 March 2011, so please, please dig deep and help! – Updated: We have a a winner, and we raised £1510!!

Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

Also check out my other food adventures.

*Updated: This post has been featured on Foodgawker. Check out my profiles on Foodgawker to see my other featured posts!

25 thoughts on “Japanese Cheesecake with Rose Whipped Cream

  1. Joy

    Hey I tried to make Jap cheesecake the last time and the moment I opened the door ajar after it was done, the cake started to deflate. This was even when I still left the cake in the oven standing. Any tips on that?

    Reply
    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Joy: You might want to try just leaving the door ajar with the help of a wooden spoon, which will help reduce the gap instead of just plainly leaving it to the hinges of the oven door to do the work. That’s what I did, the cake did deflate a little, but I still had a dome on top.

      Reply
  2. Kasia

    Hallo🙂 this cake looks so delicious that I decided to try it! But I am not sure where that foil is supposed to go – outside or inside the tin? And should it cover only sides, not the bottom?

    Reply
    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Kasia: The foil goes outside the tin, and it should cover the tin such that water wouldn’t seep in through the removeable base, so wrap it like a cupcake liner round a cupcake, it should cover the sides and bottom.

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Just Because… « The Pleasure Monger

  4. krisz

    I wish to try this but I’m confuse with the following :-

    1) ingredients in brackets (i.e. the whipping cream & 50ml full-fat milk)

    2) Step 7 (for cake) where you wrote “and gently rap it on the tray a few times to get rid of air bubbles.” – do you mean after covering the cake tin, I must cover the tray?

    Thanks🙂

    Reply
    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      krisz: Hi there!

      1) I’ve changed the ingredients list to make it clearer for you, one set gives you a lighter cake, and one set gives you a creamier texture. I prefer the lighter one.

      2) To rap it on the tray means that you lift the cake tin by holding onto its sides, and very gently bang the bottom of the cake tin on the oven tray.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  5. Jacqui

    Hi,
    Lovely blog you have.

    If I dun have a 8inch round cake tin with removable base, can I still bake this cake? How do I remove my cake from a normal tin?
    Do I grease and flour tin sides and base?

    I would like to bake this for 2 galfrens party later this week.

    Thank you in advance.
    Jacqui

    Reply
  6. Erlin

    Hi,

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful yummy cake. I’m planning to make this cheesecake for my son’s birthday. *fingers crossed*. I bought it at a Japanese bakery and he loved it so much he couldn’t stop eating.
    The thing is, I want to try make the cake using icing/fondant. Do you think the soft and airy textures can hold the weight of the fondant?

    Thanks a lot.
    Erlin

    Reply
    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Erlin: I think it might be tough for the Japanese cheesecake to hold the weight of fondant. I have not worked with fondant but get the impression it can be quite heavy, and this might be the reason why it’s often used for dense cakes?

      Reply
      1. Erlin

        Thanks for replying my comment. I finally bought an instant red velvet cake mix for my sons birtfhday. Lol. Fail proof. :p

        Anyway, I read your latest blog. Congrats on the beautiful newborn bundle of joy. So cute. And you look so pretty too😉

  7. Amani

    Thanks for the recipe, I made this cheesecake today and it turned out really flat, about 2 inches! I think it sunk but I’m not sure why, I followed all your steps & left it to cool in the oven with the door ajar. Any advice would be much appreciated🙂

    Reply
    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      I think a flat Japanese cheesecake comes as a result of two things, the meringue should be stable (under or over whipping it will cause it to collapse) and folded in as gently as possible so the cake doesn’t lose air, and the drastic drop in temperature will cause the cake to flatten during cooling. Did you try just having the oven door ajar using a wooden spoon? You don’t want too huge a gap, although I can’t say for sure as I am not sure what your oven is like…

      Reply
  8. Teresa

    Hi. I made this cheese cake and it was a success! So moist and creamy! Wish I can post a photo here of my cake. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

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