Monday, June 24, 2013

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake

Should I give up?
 

NO!

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 milky Japanese cheesecake
Cotton Soft Japanese Cake - Yippee!
This is what happens when I baked my first two cheesecake using Featherlight Cheesecake recipe from Table for 2... or more:

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.
This is how I baked my final cheesecake using Japanese cheesecake from The Little Teochew:

 
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
Finally!!!
This is how I feel with all my cheesecake baking...
Nice and soft silky texture!
cotton soft milky Japanese cheesecake
... 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
30g butter
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. 

Tip Seven:
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.

Happy Baking
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Please note that the linky tool for bake-along is no longer available.

68 comments:

  1. Wow - the last one looks perfect. I have researched this dish in anticipation of this bake along and had bookmarked Ju's recipe too. I hope it works for me as well as yours did.

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  2. Oh! Looks soft and light! It was on my list since ages..I still haven't had a chance to try it :)

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  3. Hah! Hah! Hah! Zoe! This reminded me of my battle with this cheesecake. I am happy that you got your nice looking cheesecake finally. Hey, I should bake another one and join this bake along :)

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  4. Good morning Zoe,
    I wanted to bake this recipe at first, originally from Diana Desserts, since there are lots of good reviews about this cake. But somehow ended up baking the one from Alex Goh's just because I have lots of sliced cheddar cheese in my fridge! I might just bake this version sometime this week.
    Glad that your cake turns out great!

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  5. Congrats for successfully making nice Japanese cotton cheesecake!Looks great~ I think i should give it a try next time.

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  6. This looks pillow soft! I think you found the perfect recipe, although I bet the first two were delicious too. :)

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  7. Hi Zoe,

    Your cheesecake looks divine:) Would you do me a favor and email me at acalenda {at} gmail {dot} com. There's seems to be a tiny mix-up:)

    P.S. I tried to find your email but it doesn't seem to be available.

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    1. Hi Louise,

      I have just sent you an email a few minutes ago. I'm sorry that I'm a little slow... I can be like a grandma with emailing and typing :p

      Zoe

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    2. Hi Zoe,

      Everything is all fixed Zoe. Thank you. I AM a grandma when it comes to everything!!!

      Your cheesecake really looks light and fluffy:) And thank you for the step by step directions. This granny needs those too:)

      I am so glad you have joined us for the Picnic Game. We are going to have so much fun getting to know each other and filling our tummies with all kinds of goodies!!! "See" you there!

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    3. Hi Louise,

      Glad that I can join the picnic game. Thanks for including me :D

      Zoe

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  8. Thanks for sharing with us your experiment.

    I don't bake light cheesecake often, or rather any cheesecake but recently I baked one. As compared to Alex Goh's recipe, I still prefer Alex Goh's recipe (the one in my blog). Btw, I also got it right on my second attempt.

    I shall try your recipe from Little Teochew one day. :)

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  9. Baking a cheesecake can be quite intimidating. But, yes, never give up and now you're handsomely rewarded. For me, I'll try a recipe thrice, then I'll give up!

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  10. Hi Zoe,
    This looks so tasty , I will try it as soon as the Picnic Games are over .
    Glad to know I won't be the only newbie at the picnic ... oh Zoe what fun we will have .
    Thanks for stopping by the teapot is always on .

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  11. Hah! I like your spirit! ^.^ Congratulations, that's a beautiful cake ❤

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  12. Soft and fluffy. Thanks for the useful tips:P

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  13. This looks amazingly soft and yummy. Shall try with all your tips!!

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  14. Looks like everyone has to fight with this cake before we can get it right! Glad to see you finally succeeded:D Looks lovely!

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  15. I have baked this cake & know its difficulty about cracks. But seems you have overcome & succeeded in perfecting this cheesecake.
    cake looks perfectly done.

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  16. Hi Zoe,your second cheesecake perfectly baked, looks soft and smooth!!! Yummy :)

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  17. Zoe, I admire your courage to want to bake this cake again despite its difficulties although it looks easy. Your attempt looks very good!! Thumbs up for this :)

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  18. Congrats on never giving up!I tend to be lazy with sieving at all, so I usually do the melt everything method ;p I've linked up my cheesecake to the linky tool, but I was wondering - can i amend the name of my linked post? Somehow the page got corrupted and saved my link as just my name without the zebra cheesecake at the back :/

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    1. Hi Janine,

      I have included the name of your cheesecake for you. Cheers!

      Zoe

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  19. I love Japanese cotton cheese cake, did once before but that is very very long time ago...

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  20. I can't remember how long I did not attempt this cake again! I was refer to Ju's recipe and tips too. Glad that you finally done a nice cheesecake.

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  21. I used Little Teochew's recipe and it cracked like crazy! Haven't been able to bake a decent one to blog with... sigh.

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    1. No worries, Mich! I almost wanted to give too :p

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  22. hi zoe, any more cheesecakes for the coming months? i can imagine the disappointed look on your face on your first two attempts. I'm so glad that you finally get a very nice one..what's that smile and luckly? yogurt drink?

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    1. Hi Lena,

      These yakult-looking containers are money boxes! My son loves them!

      Zoe

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  23. Zoe....hahaha baking light cheesecake can be really frustrating at times and glad that you've found a recipe that works well! Actually I've tried out the featherlight cheesecake from Wendy's blog too! Will get it posted this 2 days! ;)

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  24. If at first you don't succeed... ;) Thanks for the tips!

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  25. This cheesecake looks amazing! I still have not attempted to make one yet but definitely going to come back here and check out all your posts when I do. Thanks so much for all these detailed photos and instructions :)

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  26. Zoe this cheese cake looks so soft and fluffy.. YUM!

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  27. Glad that a new recipe solved your probelms! Don't give up! That's right. (Just think: you've run a marathon without giving up. This is just a piece of cake!)

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    1. Yeah! You are right... running a marathon is worse than this :)

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  28. Wow! You've baked this cheesecake 3 times & glad that finally you've got the perfect texture . Looks beautifully baked & fluffy . Mine is not perfect but I'm glad that I've made it at last. Quite nerve wracking though! LOL

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  29. This cheesecake looks way too incredible :D
    And love the cute play on kakult containers!

    Cheers
    CCU

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  30. Thanks for all your experimentation Zoe...it sure turned out beautiful and great texture.
    Have a wonderful week ahead :D

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  31. ivy sew http://simplybeautifulhealthyliving.blogspot.comJune 25, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Zoe, the picture itself is already yummy. Reserve one slice for me in the picnic basket,plss... hahaha..

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  32. It's a shame that my family doesn't like cheesecake. I do enjoy the soft light flavour of this cake. Never give up brings you great success! Congrats!

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  33. We love this cake too but I dont think I've ever baked it. You have inspired me to try it at home too.

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  34. Looks like a ton of work but despite the cracks, less cracks or no cracks,
    it still look heavenly.
    I hope I can get the energy and patience like yours so I can try this delicious looking cake.

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  35. A lot of work but boy does it sound great! I have never tried japanese cheesecake before.

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  36. Gosh, your cheesecake looks so soft & fluffy! Thank goodness I've just had another food-tasting session with hubby at a Japanese cafe, else I'll be salivating all over my keyboard. Lol!

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  37. Hi Zoe, that's a very delicious looking cake! I'm so happy that yours turned out perfect in the end. :) Mine shrank tremendously while the cake is cooling, so even though it's creamy and not too bad, I decided against posting it as it's far from perfect. Hopefully I'll be able to participate in the next bake!

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  38. I bet even with those cracks , it still tastes fantastic ! Hopefully mine won't have huge cracks as well lol

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  39. Hey Zoe, Thanks for stopping by my blog to say hello. ;-) It's nice to *meet* you (and follow you too now). I am impressed that you persevered until you got the result you wanted--although all your cheesecake efforts look pretty tasty to me. Love the pictures and those cute little bottles.

    Aloha,

    Deb

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  40. Ohh my.. U baked these many times to perfect it.. I admire ur perseverance.. I too have baked it once, but didnt turn out to be perfect !!! Useful & great tips :)

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  41. Ahhh...I have to grab a few slices from here and then a few slices from Lena's plate as well. haha... So, my takeaway containers already half full just after visited only 3-4 blogger. I think I need a few more empty containers. Anyway, enjoy & have fun!
    Blessings, Kristy

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  42. I had to try different versions of my picnic game recipe too! Glad to hear I wasn't the only one! Your final cheesecake looks great--thanks for bringing!

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  43. Thanks for the tips! I've baked plenty of the "regular" dense cheesecakes, and now I think I need to try this version too.

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  44. How lovely! I've been wanting to try baking this Japanese cheesecake for ages. I'm so glad to find it on your blog. Can't wait to get baking! :)

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  45. Awesome mouth melting cheesecake...Having found this blog well written and also worth reading I nominate this blog for ABC award. Check here for details:
    http://enelm.blogspot.de/2013/07/accolade-received.html

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  46. Thanks for sharing. Luv your version of cheesecake :)

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  47. Hi!! Thanks for sharing this recipe! I tried baking this cotton cheesecake for the first time using ur recipe, n it turns out amazingly good, no cracks n taste yummy! Thank you for sharing! Pls continue baking!

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    1. Hi Missy Doroshi,

      Thanks for leaving a nice comment in my blog. Your encouragement has motivated with lots of baking and blogging. Cheers!

      Zoe

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  48. Hi Zoe! Just wanted to share my happy! I used your recipe and managed to achieve my desired texture; moist, creamy, light and kinda melts in your mouth. Was hoping to bake a light cheesecake akin to the ones sold by Tong Kee as my hubs loves it. I think I've done it! :D Thanksssssssss to youuuuuu....

    P/S: While whisking the egg whites, I thought I have overdone it as it refused to form soft peaks but was creamy and heavy. I thought my current attempt was bound to fail initially.

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  49. Hi Zoe, thanks for stumbling into my blog. It's the first time, someone from Australia visits me. A pleasure.
    I hope my yule log tips helps you to bake yours. It's easy and very satisfying to bake one. Mine is sugar free but I haven't noticed the difference.
    I baked this japanese cake and love it too. Your photos and explanations of the recipe are fantastic.
    Hope we can visit each other. My child is 21, a very big "child".
    Cheers from Valencia
    http://thermofan.blogspot.com.es/2013/04/cotton-soft-japanese-cheesecake-tmx-t.html

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  50. Hi Zoe, I'd like to try to bake this Cotton Japanese cake one day.
    Sooner or later, I'll do it. This is a promise!
    I will follow your recipe because it looks really good!

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  51. Hi Zoe I attempted this recipe by Ju a couple of times and I always faced the same problem - top of cake cracked and the cake fell a bit such that the sides creased into the baking paper. The taste is fine though. It just doesn't look good! Would really appreciate your thoughts and advice?! Thanks so much!

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    1. Hi Wei,

      I can understand your frustration of not getting a perfect look for your cake. I guess this might be due to different oven temperature setting that we experience and sad to say that I don't have a 100% fail-proof solution for you as you have try a few times to see what kind of oven settings works the best for you.

      From what I have observed from my oven and bakes, the cracking of the cake layer is due rapid rising with strong heat generated from the top of my oven. To counter that, I have covered my cake loosely with foil throughout the bake and remove the foil 10-15 mins just before cake is fully baked. I reckon this step helps but not sure it will work for you.

      You want to try??? Cheers!

      Zoe

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  52. Hi Zoe,
    For the full amount(not the 2/3amount), what is the size of the baking pan we should be using?
    Rgds,
    Evelyn

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    1. Hi Eve,

      You can use one 20 cm round pan to bake the full amount of this recipe which contains 6 egg yolks and whites. Cheers!

      Zoe

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  53. Hi Zoe, please let me know how to prevent the cake cracks when baking? Thanks a lot!

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    1. Hi,

      Your oven temperature setting is too high causing your cake to crack. Different oven can work differently. Most importantly, do not use fan forced oven to bake your souffle cake!

      Zoe

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