I’ve been daydreaming about this cheesecake ever since I laid eyes on it a few months ago. The ingredients are simple: cake flour, fresh milk, eggs, sugar, cream cheese. It is proof positive that ordinary pantry items can be transformed into something extraordinary when handled just so.
This confection was created by Japanese chef Tomotaro Kuzuno who was inspired by a local käsekuchen cheesecake (a German variant) during a trip to Berlin in the 1960s. Today, we have many variants of this cake, but all are light as chiffon, a bit wobbly, and cotton soft under a fork.
To clairify -this cheesecake is a textural masterpiece.
Yes, those are bold words for a cheesecake, but entirely true. Like the name indicates, it is light and cottony and its sponginess will have you tearing it apart with your bare hands just to examine the beautiful interior. It’s a sponge cake-slash-cheesecake hybrid. A beautiful thing.
Ordinarily, cheesecakes need a water bath to set properly. This one is no different. I used my roasting pan filled with hot water and sat the spring-form pan in the middle of the removable rack.
I have converted the recipe to cup-and-spoon measures so casual home bakers (in the US) can enjoy this recipe, but if you are an avid baker or otherwise inclined to use a scale for measurements, you can find the original recipe (in grams/oz.) here.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake
- 9 oz. cream cheese one 8 oz. brick plus 1 oz. of another brick
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup fresh whole milk
- 6 eggs room temperature – whites and yolks separated
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup extra fine granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tsp. cake flour
- 3 tbsp. corn starch
- Melt cream cheese, butter and milk in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally to break up cream cheese and combine the ingredients. Remove bowl from heat and allow to cool. Mixture will be thick. If lumpy, use a whisk to vigorously beat the mixture until smooth. Set aside.
- When mixture has cooled, fold in the egg yolks, flour and corn starch. Fold until thoroughly incorporated.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and mix again, gradually adding the extra-fine sugar a little at a time until soft peaks form. Note: Soft peaks: mixture should be white and opaque, and meringue will fall onto itself when the beaters are lifted from the bowl.
- Add the cheese mixture to the egg white mixture and fold together until well incorporated.
- Pour into an 8-inch round spring-form pan that has been lightly greased and lined (sides and bottom) with parchment paper. Place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the cake so it does not brown.
- Bake in a water bath for 1 hour 10 minutes. When timer sounds, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes with the oven door cracked.
- Carefully remove pan from water bath and let stand until cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove spring-form ring and serve.
One tablespoon of lemon juice may be added to the cooled cheese/butter/milk mixture for flavor.
Sprinkle matcha green tea on finished cake, or top with fresh fruit for serving.
Wow! That cake looks gorgeous!
this cheesecakes looks so "tastefull".
Greetings from Chile
This looks positively magical – who new a cheesecake could be so light and fluffy with just a few changes?
I think it might even pass muster with my cheesecake-fearing BF, since the texture looks so much more cake-like than regular cheesecakes.
Will have to get my hands on some cake flour so I can give it a try!
Oh my goodness… these photos are amazing! We really like heavy cheesecakes, but this recipe is very intriguing. Thanks for sharing it.
So sweet. So ethereal Heather. I would have to seriously be in control in front of a slice of this pillowy goodness.
It looks heavenly and so light! What a delight. Beautiful and tempting.
This is the most beautiful cheesecake I have seen in a long time. Unique! And the texture! Just by your pictures I can tell this dessert is out of this world good. Bookmarked this recipe to try in future. Thanks for sharing!
Made it once myself and it was the lightest cheesecake ever. What a presentation!
I have a serious cheesecake addiction so this is definitely going on the "to be baked" list.
Thanks so much for sharing.
I cannot even find words for how I feel about this cake.
But I do have feelings for it.
You,my dear friend, are a dessert wizard. The Dumbledore of dessert food. 🙂
This cheesecake looks so amazing and PERFECT! I've never made one, I'm just too scared!
Lovely photos too!
Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe. I baked this as soon as I saw your posting. It came out looking exactly like yours except for the fact that there was a thin yellow-colored layer at the bottom. While it didn't affect the overall taste very much, it just bothers me that there is something that's not supposed to be there. It is yellow, thick, and tastes like cream cheese. Could it be that the cream cheese mixture settled on the bottom as the cake baked? If so, should I have folded the batter a little more? I would… Read more »
This looks beautiful!
Hi Jennifer! It does sound like the batter could have been folded a little more. I have experienced something similar – it took me three tries to get this cake right. First attempt I used homemade cake flour (thumbs down) and it fell completely. My second attempt had a custard-like… compressed(? hard to describe)layer at the bottom- this sounds like what you experienced. I felt that my batter was under-folded and my meringue was under-whipped. I beat the meringue a little longer and made sure everything was folded together thoroughly. Third time was the charm. I hope this helps! Thanks… Read more »
I have never seen a cheesecake more intriguing. I love all the wonderful sweet surprises you always have for us. 🙂
Well that is gorgeous!
How fascinating! That texture looks unbelievable!
Your cake looks so light and fluffy! Gorgeous~
oh yeah. Japanese Cheesecake is definitely my family's favorite. I make them so often I don't even need to look at my recipe any more. Yours look amazing with that matcha dust on top…so tempting!
That cheesecake is just gorgeous! It looks so light but decadent.
It's a brilliant work. Those cheesecakes became so light that you could not imagine. I love it.
Oooh. I shall be trying this recipe next weekend. X
I love Japanese cotton cheesecake – the texture is so beautifully light that it fools you into thinking that it's totally fat free. 😉 Gorgeous photos.
Heather, You always seem to find some of the most intriguing recipes, and then go to town with them. This recipe is no exception:) I'd love to give it a try! 🙂
Oh, that look so fabulous! I think Audrey needs to learn how to make cheese cake.
The green on top makes it. This would be a perfect replacement to a standard birthday cake with butter cream for someone who appreciates the unique!
This is great!
I am adding this to the list of "things I need to bake" (:
Thank you for sharing.
This to me, seems like it's screaming for key lime accents. Since you've tasted it, what do you think? I would do lime juice, zest, and perhaps a light key lime glaze. I value your opinion.
So beautiful in it's supremely white simplicity.
is extra fine sugar the same as powdered sugar?
Oo that looks amazing. I love the texture of the cake. So light and fluffy!
I've been meaning to give this recipe a try myself but I'm scared by the whole water bath baking process. ours looks totally worth the effort though, stunning!
Wow!! the cheesecake looks great, am craving for it now, looks delicious. Love the photos.
I love cheesecake (grew up with the classic German kind) and ever since I read about this Japanese version, I am intrigued! Yours just looks so airy and divine.
Wow, I'm amused with your photos and recipe!! Thanks 🙂
This sounds so yummy. Pretty too!
You always have such great pictures! This looks awesome. I am a sucker for cheesecake of any kind. I am going to have to try this one. Thanks!
The Lee Craft Table
I found Diana's recipe a few years ago and immediately had to try it. This is such a fabulous dessert, not too sweet and the texture is to die for!
Impressed and intrigued! I love all your whimsical creations so much, but this one really made me stop and look because, as you said, it's all about the method and technique, no fancy stuff, just amazing results. Very very nice!!!
I'm intrigued. This is so different than what I am used to so I am very curious. I wonder if it could be adapted for different flavorings. Curious indeed.
What size eggs did you use? Large, extra large?
Japanese cheesecake rocks! lovely pics, Heather 🙂
So pretty and fluffy I want to curl up and take a nap on it. Looks divine.
This is something I still haven't made. And I'm a spongecake FIEND. The matcha on top is even better than the proverbial cherry!
Congratulations, this is the first time i see your blog*! I'm fall in love with your blog, your desserts and your passion for it* i can see that
Thank you for your sharing!
Best wishes and good continuation. Good Luck
Ana , from Portugal
(P.S: I hope you understand what I wrote my English is not very good. )
This is perfect! Wow!
What a Delicious looking cheesecake! It's make me hungry! I can't wait to eat this 🙂
That looks absolutely amazing! Like a cloud of cheesecake!
you always amaze me!