Thursday, May 7, 2015

Fail Proof Cotton Soft Japanese Soufflé Cheese Cake 不会失败的日式舒芙蕾芝士蛋糕

Am I (Zoe) baking another Japanese cheesecake? Yes, I am.

I'm baking another Japanese cheesecake for our 4th Bake-Along anniversary with Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings. And this time, I'm baking a fail proof Japanese Soufflé Cheese Cake.

Fail Proof? Absolutely! NO Joke! Yay that I don't have to be lucky to bake this cheesecake!!!

Remember that I was having lots of problems baking another Japanese cheesecake at here. Great that I have manged to resolve my Japanese cheesecake baking problem and have learned a lot from my previous failures. Today, I'm going to use my new baking method to bake this recipe from Happy Home Baking. HHB said that this recipe is quite a fool proof recipe and I feel the same too. Before proceeding on, here are my Japanese cheesecake baking tips to share:

One: The recipe
Looking at my previous Japanese cheesecake failures closely, I have noticed that the Japanese cheesecake with lesser amount of flour / cornflour or higher amount of egg whites are really difficult to bake but this Happy Home Baking recipe and the previous one that I baked have never failed me. If you are not a confident Japanese cheesecake baker like me, please remember to choose the recipe wisely!

Two: The size of your eggs
Different eggs can weigh differently. Although the difference of each egg can be minor, I noticed that the accumulative difference in more than 5 eggs can cause detrimental failures in some fussy recipes like French macarons or Japanese cheesecakes. Nevertheless, it is always better to weigh your eggs if you are baking a fussy cake.

Three: The oven
Do NOT bake your Japanese cheesecake with fan forced function. Here are a few baking strategies that you can try:

1) According to ieatishootipost, you can bake your Japanese cheesecake in a preheated moderately hot (200ºC) oven with top and bottom heat plus steam bake for the first 18 minutes, lower the temperature to slow (160ºC) and bake for the next 12 minutes and turn off the oven and leave cake in the closed oven for 30 minutes. Open the door of the oven slightly at the end of the baking for 10 minutes for cake to cool.

2) According to HHB, you can bake your Japanese cheesecake in a preheated slow (150ºC) oven with top and bottom heat plus steam bake for 60 minutes.

3) According to me, you can bake your Japanese cheesecake in a preheated very slow (140ºC) oven with top heat with NO steam bake for 75 minutes. To avoid the top part of the cake to be over-heated, I have placed the baking rack in its lowest position and placed an empty tray on the highest position as a heat shield for the cake. For a nice browning top, I removed the empty tray at the highest position at the last 5 mins of the bake.

Having said that, I like to strongly emphasize that all oven can work differently! Please feel free to adjust your temperature setting and timing according to the optimal condition of your oven.

Four: Steam baking
I hate steam baking!!! ... because the different amount of water used for steam baking can create a lot of differences in the overall oven temperature. I have tried baking my Japanese cheesecakes with NO bottom heating and NO steam baking and it works! In this case, no worries for me!

Five: Cooling the cake
To minimize any shrinkage or collapsing of the Japanese cheesecake, I have adapted the cake dropping method which is also used by HHB to treat this cake and it works alright for this recipe!

Although the cake did shrink quite minimally, I'm not going to conceal the fact that the cake can look a little wrinkly after cooling. Hey, I did said that the cake is 不会失败 (meaning fail proof in Chinese) but didn't say that the cake is 不会缩小 (meaning shrink proof in Chinese)... LOL! Despite its wrinkly top, it did shrunk well enough into a reasonable look!

This lighter kind of fluffy cheesecake is quite different from the one that I have baked previously. This Japanese cheesecake is like a hybrid of sponge cake and cheesecake whereas the other one is slightly denser and creamier with a touch of fluffiness and slightly stronger milky and cream cheese taste. Which is better? I think the preference can be very subjective. I think both are equally good in their own way but my little boy said that this lighter one is his kind of cheesecake.

Update on 22 Mar 2017: I have baked this cheesecake again and with steam baking! And, I have updated the recipe with more baking tips.

My second Japanese Soufflé Cheese Cake, baked at 2017.
So moist and soft because it is steam-baked.
fail proof cotton soft Japanese soufflé cheesecake
My first time baking this fail-proof Japanese cheesecake recipe at 2015.
To start, I have to do this.
Allow the mixture to cool slightly before doing this...
I have included this sieving step to ensure a 100% non-lumpy texture.
Meanwhile, combine egg whites and lemon juice and beat until frothy.
While beating, add sugar gradually until the mixture reached its soft peak stage.
Do NOT use fan forced to bake Japanese cheesecake! This is the setting that I have used.
And, this is how I positioned my cake in the oven.
It looked really good when it is still warm but became wrinkly later.
Happy Birthday Bake Along!
It has been wonderful baking along with friends like Joyce, Lena and you?
Happy that this cake is fail proof and YUMMY too!

Update on 22 Mar 2017: Testing testing... It has been a while since I have baked Japanese Soufflé Cheese Cake and it was 2015 when I first baked this cake. At that time, I was using my ex-Blanco oven with NO bottom heating to bake the cake 1) at 140ºC with top heating and NO fan forced 2) with NO steam bake 3) at the lowest rack 4) for 70 mins 5) with an empty baking tray placed at the highest position as a heat shield. 6) I removed the empty baking tray after 70 mins of baking and increased oven temperature to 150ºC and continue to bake for another 10 mins or until the top of the cheesecake turned golden brown in colour.

Based on an optimised steam bake at here (cocoa cotton soufflé sponge cake), I know that my current Ariston oven is very different! As it is typically warmer than most ovens, I was baking this cake again 1) at 135°C instead of 150°C with top and bottom heating and NO fan forced 2) with steam bake using a standardised volume and area of 2 cup (500 ml) of boiling water in 35 cm x 25 cm (14 x 10 inches) baking tray 3) at the middle rack 4) for 60 mins. 5) with an empty baking tray placed at the highest position as a heat shield. 6) I removed the empty baking tray after 60 mins of baking and increased oven temperature to 150ºC and continue to bake for another 10 mins or until the top of the cheesecake turned golden brown in colour. As 150ºC in my oven is still a little too hot for soufflé cakes to handle, there is a small crack on my cheesecake cake even though that it is not visible when the cake is completely cooled to room temperature. To be absolutely perfect for my subsequent soufflé cheese cakes, I will increase oven temperature very slightly to 140ºC or even allow it to remain at 135ºC after the heat shield is removed.

My second Japanese Soufflé Cheese Cake
So moist and soft because it is steam-baked.
Although there is a small crack on the cake, the crack is not visible after cooling!
Wow! The texture is so beautiful!
So soft and cottony!
Yummy too!

I sincerely hope that you can bake this cake too!!!

And this is why I'm more than happy to share lots of baking tips plus this quick video showing how I baked this Japanese Soufflé Cheese Cake.

I must say that mixing the cake batter is pretty straightforward. The only thing that I reckon that is the most difficult is actually knowing your oven and knowing how to use your oven to bake this cake with the right oven settings!

Recipe updated on 22 Mar 2017 with more helpful tips and details.

Here's the recipe that I have mostly adapted from Happy Home Baking.

Makes one 8 inches or 20 cm round cake

125g cream cheese, cut into cubes
60g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

75g egg yolks, about 5 yolks - please use exact weight
125g milk
1 tsp lemon juice

75g cake flour (with 8% protein), sifted
35g corn flour, sifted

200g egg whites about 6 whites - please use exact weight
1/2 tsp lemon juice
120g caster sugar
500ml hot boiling water for steam baking, if required

Preheat oven - See the below Baking Options to know which setting to use to preheat your oven.

Line the inside bottom of a loose bottom or springform pan with NO non-stick surface with baking paper. Do not line or grease the internal side of the cake pan. If you are baking this cake with steam baking, wrap the outside bottom of the cake pan with foil to prevent the water for steam baking from seeping in.

For A:
Place cream cheese and butter in a large mixing heat proof bowl. Place the mixing bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and make sure the mixing bowl is big enough to sit on the top of the saucepan. While heating, keep stirring the cream cheese mixture until it looks soften. At this stage, it is ok if the mixture looks curdy. Remove mixture from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly for 5-10 mins. If you are steam-baking your cake, do not discard the simmering water as you can use it later for your steam baking.

For B:
Whisk egg yolks, milk and lemon juice into the cream cheese mixture one egg yolk at a time. Whisk until mixture is just combined. Do not over-mix mixture. Pour mixture through a sieve to avoid having lumpy batter.

For C:
Sift cake flour and corn flour into the cream cheese mixture and whisk until both flours are well incorporated.

For D:
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and lemon juice with a low medium speed until foamy, about 5 mins. Increase the whisking speed to medium. While whisking, add sugar in 3-4 batches and gradually and continue to whisk at medium speed until soft peaks form. Please do not use high speed to avoid forming large and coarse bubbles. To stabilise the air bubbles in the mixture, decrease whisking speed to low speed and beat for another 1 to 2 mins.

Using a hand whisk or a spatula, gently fold in the egg whites to the cream cheese mixture in 3-4 portions. It is ok to mix the 1st portion of egg white more vigorously into the cream cheese mixture but the subsequent portions must be folded in very gently. Make sure that most of the white is not visible after folding.

Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and tap the cake pan gently a few times on your table top to remove excessive bubbles and use a skewer to draw a zigzag to remove air bubbles only on the surface in the batter.

To bake, you can use either one of these options:

Baking Option 1, with steam baking:
If you have an oven that has top and bottom heating, you can preheat the oven at 150°C*.

To set your oven up for steam baking, place a baking rack in the middle position for your cake and another in the highest position for your heat shield. Just before baking, place the filled cake pan in a 35 cm x 25 cm (14 x 10 inches) baking tray and poured 2 cup (500 ml) of boiling hot water into the tray. Nothing more or less as any difference in this standardised volume and surface area will affect the oven temperature eventually and bake the cake with steam baking for 55-60 mins or until thoroughly baked and set.

*Based on an optimised steam bake at here (cocoa cotton soufflé sponge cake), I know that my current Ariston oven is typically warmer than other oven and so I'm baking my cake in the middle rack, slightly lower temperature, 135°C instead of 150°C for 60 mins with steam baking.

Baking Option 2, with no steam baking:
If you have an oven that has top and bottom heating, you can preheat the oven at 140°C. Place the cake on a tray and bake the cake for 55-60 mins or until thoroughly baked and set. Although this method is better by creating a more constant temperature setting, the cake will be slightly less moist than the one baked with the steam baking method.

Baking Option 3:
If you have an oven that has fan forced or top heating options only, please do not use the fan forced option! Besides placing a baking rack at the lowest position of the oven for your cake, place another rack with a baking tray at the highest position of the oven for your top heat shield. Preheat oven at 140ºC with top heat and bake the cake for 70 mins or until thoroughly baked and set with NO steam baking.

For all options 1, 2 and 3:
After baking for 55-70 mins, remove the "top heat shield" baking tray at the highest position of the oven and increase the temperature to 160ºC**. Continue to bake for another 5-10 mins or until the top of the cheesecake turns golden brown.

**After 60 mins, I removed the "heat shield" and baked the cake 150ºC for 10 mins and yet the heating in my oven is still too hot for my cake. To be absolutely perfect for my subsequent soufflé cheese cakes, I will increase oven temperature very slightly to 140ºC or even allow it to remain at 135ºC after the heat shield is removed.

Remove cake from oven and immediately drop the cake with the pan on at a height of about 30 cm onto the table top. This helps to prevent the cake from shrinking upon cooling.

Unmould the cake immediately after removing it from the oven. Place the cake on a wire rack to allow it to cool completely. Please be careful that the cake can be very hot when you do this.

Slice and serve the cake when it is completely cooled.

Happy Baking
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  1. Japanese souffle cheesecake is my Dad's favourite! I have tried to make one but it seemed to fail. Yours is so perfect and I should definitely try your fool-proof recipe :)

  2. geesh time flies, I was about to bake that viennese cookie theme. I must be living in my cave. Your this fool proof cheese cake is def tempting.

  3. Hi Zoe,
    The texture of this cake is really nice. And yes, knowing your oven is definitely one of the steps to successful baking, and you know yours very well! Now you are making me crave for soft cheesecake, let's see if I have time to bake one... :)

  4. O my God, this cake is looking so beautiful <3 pass me the slice dear.. i shall try it soon

  5. Wow... looks so soft and amazing... thank you for sharing all your detailed tips... this definitely looks like one of the many I have to try from your blog! :)

  6. Your cotton cheesecake looks so light and sweet, my favourite, I can finish the whole cake! Looks like sponge cake+rich cheese cake, both, yummmzzzz..

  7. Fail proof cheesecake, it is music to my ears! Thanks for sharing all the tips Zoe.

  8. I'm tempted to bake the Japanese Cheesecake after attending the AMC Cookware Event recently. But after reading your post, I got frightened off. Hahaha! Seems like mission impossible for an amateur baker like me......

  9. I've not baked Japanese cheesecake for such a long time, time to try making this again. Thank you for the many fail-proof tips and the beautiful and delicious-looking photos!

  10. Hi Zoe,
    For past 1 year, I really enjoy the Bake Along sessions (although not every BA) with you, Lena & Joyce and some blogger pals. Indeed, learn a lot from you all too.
    This fail proof cheesecake is so inviting ^-^!
    Cheers ! Happy 4th Anniversary !

  11. Wow...your Japanese Scouffle Cheesecake looks so perfect! How I wish I can bake like you.

  12. Happy 4th Birthday Bake-Along gels !!!!! A need a fool-proof Japanese cheesecake in my list :D Gotta try this sometime !

  13. the japanese cheesecake that i baked last time also turned out to be wrinkly when it was cooling down...i guess i just hv to try a few more and know more about the appropriate oven temp for baking these tricky japanese cheesecakes.

  14. Omg Zoe! This looks like perfection! I love LOVE soft japanese type cheesecakes! I rarely eat them but I do LOVE them! I've made western cheese cakes before but I would love to take the challenge to make this...once I have a mixer soon! :p

  15. Wow, this looks divine. Japanese cheesecakes are one of my favorite desserts. I'm tempted to try your foolproof recipe.

  16. I also bookmarked HHB's recipe to make for my sister-in-law's birthday!! It looks amazing! I've never made before so praying hard it turns out!

  17. so soft and love your pictorials for every bakes

  18. Happy 4th Anniversary Bake Along ;)

  19. yumm, can I have apiece of that please.

  20. Zoe, you are really motivating me to bake cotton soft Japanese cheesecake again!

  21. I've been researching Japanese cheesecake and this post of yours is most motivating!! I'mm loving the last picture of the cheesecake! So inviting!

  22. Che mervaglia questa torta!!!

  23. Hi Zoe, your souffle cheesecake looks absolutely tempting! Will give this fail-proof method a try in the future. Thanks for sharing it to BREE!

  24. Certainly is foolproof, I did read your careful instructions but my oven has a fan which I can't turn off, then I had only salted butter, I softened my cream cheese in the microwave, I was in a hurry! I did make a collar out of baking paper because my tin was no where near deep enough, oh and it was gluten free too, the cheesecake took only 55 minutes to cook the texture was perfect it and was delicious.

  25. Hi Zoe,
    D bottom of my cake didn't rise and its dense.
    But d upper 1/3 rises quite well. So I've to trim d bottom part
    Do u know which step has gone wrong?

    1. Hi Lizzie,

      I'm sorry to hear that your cake didn't turn out well. I think the problem lies with your oven setting and I think your oven is too cold. You can either use 150 deg with top and bottom heating with steam bake or 140 deg with top heating only and no steam bake and adjust the temperature according to your oven calibration. Please do not use fan forced function to bake this. Cheers!


  26. Thanks Zoe.
    I will try it again 🤗💪

  27. Thanks Zoe, i had follow your caking tips carefully, especially turn off the fan force and bake at 140 c, the cake turns out not shrinking!

    1. Hi Lisa,

      That's good to know! I didn't have a non-fan-forced oven when I baked this cake. Nice to know that this recipe has worked well baking at 140 deg with no fan forced and no steam baking :) Cheers!


  28. My oven has grill, fan forced, fan x grill and defrost. Which would you recommend?

    1. Hi, Please do not use fan forced function to bake this cake!!!

  29. Hi Zoe. Thanks for ur useful tips. I have a unique situation while baking the cheesecake. After about 65 mins. I tested the middle with a skewer and it came out clean.. So I left the cake in the oven (half open) for abt 30mins to cool down. However, after I took it out of the cake pan the base became very wet. Really not sure what happen? Is it really bcoz I left it in the oven for too long until it "melted"?
    So in the end I had to put it back to bake it again and it became base dense.
    Any advice for me?

    1. Hi, the cake hasn't "melt"! The wet base is due to the condensation in the cake. Thus, please do not leave the cake in the oven when it is done. Follow the steps in my recipe and remove the cake from the pan immediately. Good luck with your next bake :)

  30. hi zoe. i couldnt fine cake flour and corn flour everywhere. the baking shop ask me to use superfine and cornstarch instead. are they the same?

    1. Hi BeeTeng, Cake flour is flour with less protein which is about 6-8% and it is commonly available in supermarkets in almost all countries. I'm actually shocked to hear that you can't find it!!! Likewise for corn flour too... corn starch and corn flour are not the same :p

  31. Zoe: what size cake pan is this cake for, please? Thanks

    1. Hi, the recipe above says 8 inches or 20 cm round cake.

  32. hey! is super fine flour same as cake flour? was thinking to use that as i have it in the fridge :)
    also is low fat milk ok? or need full cream type?

    hope to hear from you soon!

    1. Super fine flour is finely milled flour and can be low or high in gluten. Can't say that it is exactly cake flour! I have used milk with 4% fat. Cheers!

  33. thanks for sharing. is it possible to add abt 1cm jelly on top of the cake. I was thinking of making it pretty with sakura flowers!

    1. Sorry that I have not tried doing that but I think it should work.