Follow this Japanese lemon cheesecake recipe for the airiest cake on earth
If you are a dessert person who is conscious of your own weight and prefer something light and jiggly, there will be nothing better for you other than this Japanese lemon cheesecake recipe!
It is not difficult to notice that this fluffy and soft cake has been shared a million times on various social media platforms and I can totally understand the reason behind it.
A fat and jiggly cake. What else can be more adorable? Not to mention how incredible it tastes.
I prefer to call it the improved version of our normal, regular cheesecake. By adding the whipped egg whites into the batter, we end up it an airy, soft and seductive texture. Amazing.
One thing we all need to know, though, this Japanese cheesecake is actually not called the ‘Japanese cheesecake’ in Japan.
If you walk into a bakery shop, most likely you will see three types of cheesecake there and if we express these in our cake term, that will be:
- Rare cheesecake: No-bake cheesecake
- Baked cheesecake: Typical cheesecake
- Souffle cheesecake: Japanese cheesecake / Japanese cotton cheesecake
So, if you have a chance to visit Japan next time, remember, it’s called the Souffle cheesecake there and if you are ready, let’s dive into our topic today!
Japanese lemon cheesecake recipe – Tools we need
As usual, we are going to first list out the tools you will use in this Japanese lemon cheesecake recipe.
- A 9-inch baking pan
- A 2-inch baking tray
- Hand mixer/stand mixer
- Mixing bowl
- Baking parchment
- 270g of cream cheese
- 60g of unsalted butter (melted)
- 100g of milk
- 6 free-range large eggs (at room temperature)
- 45g of flour
- 40g of cornstarch
- 45 of caster sugar
- 20ml of lemon juice + some zest
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
Step by step instructions
- Grease and line a 9-inch baking tin. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Separate the eggs into yolks and egg whites and set aside.
- Set up a double boiler and simmer the cream cheese in a bowl until it has melted. Add caster sugar and milk into the cream cheese and stir until everything has fully-combined with the aid of your balloon whisk. Add the melted butter into the mixture and continue to stir.
- Remove the mixing bowl from heat. Combine the lemon juice and vanilla extract into the mixture. Add the yolks into the mixture, one at a time and make sure each of them is fully-combined before you add another.
- At the same time, in another mixing bowl, start beating the egg whites on a medium speed by using your hand mixer or stand mixer. As the egg whites start to froth, turn the speed to high.
- When the egg whites become white and foamy, add sugar into the egg white in three batches and continue to beat until the mixture reaches the soft peak.
- Sieve the cornstarch and flour into the first mixing bowl and whisk until just combined. Fold in the lemon zest.
- Fold in the whipped egg whites into the mixture in three batches – be as gentle as possible to avoid damaging the foams.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and tap the tin against your worktop to eliminate the extra bubbles in the batter.
- Place the baking tin in another 2-inch deep baking tray and fill the tray with about an inch of warm water – we need to bake it in a water bath.
- Bake at 160°C for 25 minutes. Then, turn the heat to 140°C and continue to bake for another 35 minutes. Once the cake is done, do not take it out from the oven immediately. Leave the oven door ajar for a moment to allow it cool down slowly.
- Finally, decorate your cake by dusting some icing sugar on the cake surface or with some fruits.
The secrets in the perfect Japanese lemon cheesecake recipe
It isn’t hard to get a cake by following this Japanese lemon cheesecake recipe, but if a perfect cake is what you are looking for, there are several points you need to pay attention to.
For example, before you whip the egg whites, make sure that they are at room temperature – this allows an easier whipping process and a greater result. The mixing bowl needs to be totally free of oil, water and yolk or the egg whites will not reach the desired volume.
Note that we only need to whip our egg whites to the soft peak stage – the peak can be pulled to a two to three centimetres but will not hold its shape. If you invert the whisk, the peak will flop over. The reason we are stopping at the soft peak stage is if we go for the stiff peak stage, the top of our souffle cheesecake will crack when we bake it. The cracks do not affect the taste but it definitely affects how it looks.
The other point worth mentioning is that you should avoid vigorous mixing in step six (when you are mixing in the flour and cornstarch) as this will cause the formation of gluten and gives your cake a dense texture. This same principle also applies if there is a long gap between the time you add the flour and cornstarch into the batter and place the batter into the oven, so you should also avoid this.
The key to success in this recipe is the water bath. By baking in a water bath, any sharp increase in temperature will be prevented and the humidity in the oven is increased. These help to give an even and moist cake without cracks.
Also, do not open the oven door while you are baking as this drastic change in temperature will cause cracks on the cake top.
Here I have attached a useful video I found in order for you to have a clearer idea. The recipe is not the same but the steps are very close enough! Feel free to check this out.
Don’t have a 9-inch cake tin? No worries!
Before leaving you, I think it’s a good idea to share some other tips with you.
I know it can be a nightmare if you do not have the same size of cake pan as suggested in a recipe – I know because I experienced that same too. I would spend a whole hour trying to figure out how much of each ingredient I need to cut down until I found this really useful trick shared on the Food 52 blog.
All you need to do is just simple maths.
First, you need to find out the area of the pan suggested by the recipe. For example, the equation for you to work out the area of a round pan is 3.14(π) x radius x radius. Therefore, for a 9-inch cake pan, the area of it is 3.14 x 11.43cm x 11.43cm = 410cm2.
If you only have an 8-inch cake pan, the area of it would be 3.14 x 10.16cm x 10.16cm = 324cm2.
Then, you divide the area of your cake pan over the area of the recipe cake pan and that will be 324cm2/410cm2 = 0.8
Finally, here’s how the magic happens! That 0.8 you got from the last equation is the magic number. Simply multiply the amounts of the ingredients by 0.8 and you can fit this recipe into your baking pan.
Finally, we’ve got our cute, jiggly and tasty cake! For the best result, let it chill in the fridge for three hours before taking a bite of it. If one cheesecake is not enough for you, you may also check out my no-bake Oreo cheesecake recipe by clicking on the link below.
Anyway, I hope that you have enjoyed reading this Japanese lemon cheesecake recipe! If you have any question or is happy to share your tips with us, please feel free to leave them in the comment section.