Prior blogging, I have baked Japanese cheesecake before. I can't remember which recipe that I used but never as "drama" as these cakes that I baked for this bake-along. Maybe I wasn't seeking perfection at that time and all that matters is that the cakes have to be edible! - LOL!
When Lena from Frozen wings suggested cotton soft cheesecake as the theme for our bake-along with Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, I knew immediately that this recipe at Wendy's blog, Table for 2... or more is the one that I want to bake!
This Asian-style cheesecake recipe originates from the book, Fantastic Cheesecake by Alex Goh and I have came across many great reviews on this particular recipe. Despite that the fact that this cake is very light, soft and delicious, it actually quite difficult to bake. I have read that some bloggers have to bake this recipe more than once to archive its most ideal texture and look. I did the same but still didn't managed to do it! With the help of Wendy's informative blog to refer, I have baked this recipe twice and there are what I did...
For my first bake, I was "acting smart" by baking the cake in a smaller tin and the cake rose and cracked like crazy.
For my second bake, I baked the cake using the same method and baking tin but with two-third of the recipe. The cake was getting lesser cracks but shrunk tremendously into an extremely small cake. To avoid these cracks, I had baked both cakes with low oven temperature (125ºC fan forced) and with steam bake for more than 80 minutes. The taste and texture of these cakes were good but their looks were very disappointing.
Thinking of baking cotton soft cheesecake again... Nah! I thought that I had enough of cheesecakes baking and my family and I were kind of sick of eating cheesecakes. However, on the other side of my head, a little tough angel was whispering to me... Never give up, Zoe! Never...
"If you want to bake another Japanese cheesecake, please do not use the same recipe again..." As I was complaining to my husband about my cheesecake baking problem, he told me that I should try baking another recipe... Sorry, Wendy! Clearly, this recipe had not been working well for me and my family was giving me the ultimatum... LOL!
Ok ok... Here is my one last Japanese cheesecake! This recipe is from a popular Singapore blogger, Ju from The Little Teochew. I did a comparison on both recipes; proportion-wise, I realise the The Little Teochew one contains lesser milk, more cream cheese and only 1 extra egg than Wendy's one. In The Little Teochew's post, Ju shared lots of her tips on her cheesecake baking and here I am giving this last shot again! See this is what I have achieved...
|Cotton Soft Japanese Cake - Yippee!|
|My first failure!|
|My second failure!|
|Not too bad-looking after it shrunk...but into a very small cake!|
|Texture is very featherlight but I'm not satisfied with its look.|
|Using Ju's recipe to make my third cheesecake|
|smooth batter but finger-crossed...|
|Baking the cake using Ju's tips|
|To minimise the sudden collapse of cake due to dramatic change of temperature|
|This is how I feel with all my cheesecake baking...|
|Nice and soft silky texture!|
|... with perfect sweetness and beautiful milky taste!|
|I'm in love :)|
Here is the (two-third amount) recipe that I mostly adapted from The Little Teochew.
90g fine granulated sugar
4 egg whites
4 egg yolks
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
165g cream cheese
65ml fresh milk
40g cake flour (with 8% protein content)
15g corn flour
1/8 tsp salt
Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of a 16 cm round removable-bottom cake pan with greaseproof baking paper.
Preheat the oven at 160°C (or 125ºC fan forced). Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler. Cool the mixture. Fold in the flour, the cornflour, salt, egg yolks and mix well. Pour mixture through a sieve to avoid having lumpy batter.
Whisk egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and continue whisking at low speed until soft peaks form.
Add the egg whites to the cheese mixture to and fold well. Pour into the cake pan.
Pour 2 cups of boiling water into four ramekins and place them below the baking rack at four corners. Try to avoid using a tray to minimise large evaporation water surface. Cover the pan loosely with a foil and bake cheesecake with for 1 hour 30 mins or more at 160°C (or 125ºC fan forced) until set and another 5 to10 mins at 170°C (or 150ºC fan forced) until golden brown. (Original recipe suggests baking cheesecake in a water bath for 1 hour 10 mins or until set and golden brown at 160°C)
Leave to cool in oven with door ajar, about 30 mins to 1 hour. Sudden changes in temperature may cause the cake to cool too quickly and collapse.
Here are the tips from The Little Teochew that have worked well for me.
Tip One: Beating the egg whites
Beat egg whites on high until they start to stiffen, but beat at low speed at the last 3 to 4 mins to stabilise the sizes of the air bubbles. With smaller bubbles, the cake will have a smoother texture. In contrast, the larger bubbles will yield a fluffier texture. Either way, the cake will have a cottony soft cake.
Tip Two: Sieving the cream cheese batter before folding in the egg whites
Totally optional but this will help to archive a lump-free and smooth batter.
Tip Three: Baking with steam bake
Ju recommended placing boiling water in 4 small oven-safe containers (ie ramekins or tart moulds) below the baking rack and at four corners of the oven. Avoid using a tray to minimise large evaporation water surface and condensation at the bottom of the cake tin.
Tip Four: Lining the cake tin
Line the bottom and sides of your cake tin. Make sure the baking paper extends higher than the cake tin by about 1.5 inches. If you prepare the batter correctly, you will notice that it rises very well during baking. You need that extra height from the baking paper to prevent possible spillage.
Tip Five: Tenting with a foil
Cover the cake loosely with a sheet of aluminium foil to avoid over-browning of the cake top. Remove the foil at the last 5-10 minutes of baking time for a nice brown cake colour.
Tip Six: Over-bake is better under-bake
As long as the cake is not burn on its top, over-baking the cake slightly is actually "safer". A slightly over-baked and drier cake is less likely to collapse or shrink after baking.
Finally... after baking, keep the cake in the oven door slightly ajar for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This will minimise the sudden collapse of cake due to dramatic change of temperature.
After baking this cake, the only thing that I regret is not baking this cake with its original size. It is very light and delicious and we are craving for more after we finished the last slice.
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Please note that the linky tool for bake-along is no longer available.