Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake (For a Birthday)

Related post: Tips & Tricks on how to get that perfect Cheesecake!

Trust the Japanese to finetune and improve everything. Sometimes, reinventing the wheel does pay off. So you have cheesecakes and you have sponge cakes. Under the hands of the Japanese, these 2 cakes get married and voila! You get a Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake.

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See how soft and spongy the texture is? Very unlike your regular cheesecakes, which are creamy and dense.

I made this for my baby's first birthday. He turned ONE today. My baby is ONE!!! Was it not just yesterday I was getting ready to birth him??? Where did all the time go?


Hello world! This was him, 3 hours after birth.

I still remember my doctor saying during a postpartum check up, "Your baby will celebrate his first birthday on a very auspicious date (09.09.09)!" In Chinese, the number 9 sounds like the word "eternity". For that reason, 09.09 of any year is a favoured date to get married (for Chinese couples, at least).

Not only that, in ancient China, 9 was the number reserved only for the Emperor. If you have been to the Forbidden City in Beijing, you will notice that everything there is built according to multiples of 9. Whatever, because 09.09 will always be a special date to me :) It's my little emperor's special day!

Well, we had a nice lunch out, and then came home for the cake. I usually like to eat this cake as is, but since this was a birthday cake, I decided to frost it with some fresh cream. What is a birthday cake if we don't have some cake decorations, yes?

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Before frosting.


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After some very simple frosting, imperfections and all ... because this was a birthday cake and I didn't want to risk destroying it with my lack of frosting skills. Yes, my third frosted cake in my entire life! But you know what, it gets easier each time ;)

This soft, cottony cake was a hit with everyone. Even after 2 slices, you don't feel bloated like you normally do with regular cheesecake. So, it was more than half gone after we ate it. The remainder, I shared with my nice neighbours.

To my baby son: "Happy birthday, my dearest! Wishing you many, many, many happy returns of the day."

Recipe
(adapted from Diana's Desserts)
- 140g fine granulated sugar
- 6 egg whites
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 50g butter
- 250g cream cheese
- 100ml fresh milk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (I omitted this)
- 60g cake flour
- 20g corn flour
- 1/4 tsp salt

1. Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler. Cool the mixture. Fold in the flour, the cornflour, egg yolks, lemon juice and mix well.

2. Whisk egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.

3. Add the egg whites to the cheese mixture and fold well. Pour into a 8-inch round springform cake pan or removable-bottom cake pan (lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of the pan with greaseproof baking paper or parchment paper). Wrap the base of your cake tin with aluminium foil, to prevent seepage ... although I never do, and it has never seeped! ;)

4. Bake cheesecake in a water bath for 1 hour 10 minutes or until set and golden brown at 160 degree celsius.

My own observation:
5. Leave to cool in oven with door ajar, about 1 hour. Sudden changes in temperature may cause the cake to cool too quickly and collapse.

64 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful cake idea. Happy birthday to your little one!

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  2. Your cake looks beautiful Little T...you did a wonderful job!
    Happy birthday to your beautiful baby boy!
    I am glad that 9/9 is a good day...classes start in University for my baby boy today...a lucky day
    indeed!
    L~xo

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  3. Buon compleanno al tuo piccolo, è un vero imperatore, interessante la leggenda del 9.
    Complimenti per la torta dev'essere squisita.
    Ciao Daniela.

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  4. Happy Birthday to your little emperor! The cake looks delicious!

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  5. Oh dear you..you have a one year old also:)

    Tell us about all your children:)

    We have a 2 day old now.. MY baby had her 3rd baby yesterday:) Time flies~



    That's why I was away..I hope to have daylight for sweet photos soon..:)

    Your cake and your baby are scrumptious.

    Beautiful post!

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  6. This one looks wonderful and I can't wait to try it! Curiosity took me to the link you adapted from and for some reason your cake looks so tall and high and the other looks very flat. Did you use the exact same proportions and pan size? I can't wait to try but want mine to look like yours.

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  7. Happy Birthday to your son!!!! he is so adorable. This cake is gorgeous, so unique!!

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  8. Feliz cumpleaños al Bebe y gracias por compartir est receta, seguro que la voy a probar!!!

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  9. Hey! Happy 1st Birthday to your boy! Nice date nice cake! I love cheese cake!

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  10. Happy birthday to the little one!! He is sooooo cute. I have always to bake this cotton cheese cake but never get around to do it. I haven't tried it frosted. Interesting!!

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  11. Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes. I will show him this page when he is older :) Getting birthday greetings from all over the world for his first birthday is very special!

    Nana: You've got mail :)

    TakeTheCake: I followed the proportions and pan size exactly. I believe it all boils down to how you fold in your egg whites (quick but gentle) as well as how you allow the cake to cool (slowly). I was really happy with how the cake turned out :) Thanks for your compliments and I hope you get a tall, proud cake too!

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  12. Wow, nice cake!! And Happy Birthday to Your Baby, so cutie!! ^^

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  13. Oh Oh...your boi boi is so cute and lucky...everyday mummy bakes nice stuff...

    Veri well done cake!
    Yummy lei
    Bagus!

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  14. Beautiful baby (happy birthday) and beautiful cake .. gorgeous that's all I can say!

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  15. happy birthday to your baby boy!
    he shares the same birthday as my boyfriend :P
    and i LOVE japanese cotton cheesecake.
    have never gotten down to making it yet though.
    looks like it turned out perfect!
    your kids are so lucky to have a mum that can cook and bake! :)

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  16. Your son is so cute! Happy Birthday Little Emperor! And I love Japanese cheesecake...I will definitely try this!

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  17. Thank you again, dear friends. Wow, I feel very honoured and blessed to receive all your well wishes and compliments! :)

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  18. Oh-h-h how how cute...and what an auspicious birthdy...9-9-09! A very special child and the celebratory cake looks so wonderful and light!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Diane

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  19. Happy birthday Little T's son! The cake looks fantastic...and your lucky neighbours! : )

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  20. A very lucky & cute boy indeed to have a mommy who bakes so well. The cotton cheesecake looks so moist and soft!

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  21. How cute is he!! The cheesecake looks really good!

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  22. happy bday to your little one! I just became an Auntie for the first time yesterday!

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  23. this looks amazing I can't wait to try it! What kind of icing did you put on it?

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  24. Gillian: Just fresh cream that had been whipped with some icing sugar.

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  25. Adorable baby. :-) This recipe made way more than one 8x8 cake pan for us. Are you sure it isn't supposed to say two 8x8's?? Also, the recipe doesn't mention when to add the salt. And ours was done baking at 50 minutes, not 70. Sorry to say, but we were dissappointed in the outcome. :-/ We ended up putting on a homemade strawberry glaze that helped, but it just didn't taste nearly as good as we thought it would. Ah well. -- MHG

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  26. MHG: Sorry to hear it didn't quite work out for you. This recipe was taken from http://www.dianasdesserts.com/website/forum/printthread.cfm?Forum=8&Topic=170

    I merely republished it in my post for easy reference. Having said that, I didn't have any problem with the quantity/cake pan. As for salt - thanks for pointing it out. I omitted it. Hmmm, different ovens work differently. Mine was done in 60mins :) Thanks for the feedback, nonetheless ... and for reading my blog.

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  27. You're so lucky to have that so cute son. I'm sure he is as soft as the cake you made here. And the cake looks fantasic! I've never tried such a cotton soft cake before. With the cream, it gets much more appealing for me. I have all the ingredients right now, must give it a try.

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  28. hi! so for it to not crack on top, i hv to watch the temperature? too hot makes it crack is it?
    also, i tried the aluminium foil method so i dont burn the top, however it rose so much it stuck to my aluminium foil!! :( please advice

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  29. Hi Elaine, you are right. If your oven has cranky heating like mine, the best bet is to bake at a slightly lower temperature for a slightly longer time. As for the aluminium foil problem, obviously just use a deeper or bigger cake tin, yes? HTH! :)

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  30. hihi

    do we need a high water bath to prevent cracks on the cake surface? or just as long as there is water under the cake while baking?

    Serene

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  31. Serene: No need so much water. You just need enough water to create a gentle steam throughout baking. But take note, water bath doesn't guarantee that your crack won't crack. Too high oven temperature and/or overmixing etc, will cause your cake to crack too.

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  32. it's so amazing yours is so high and pretty! like no cracks no nothing! I've tried making it twice using this recipe, and twice it's not even close to urs!

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  33. Hi,
    what do you mean by water bath? Sorry I'm really new at cake baking...Am thinking of trying out this recipe of yours today. :)
    Thanks!

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  34. Anon: A water bath is a bain-marie. You should do a google image search. New to baking? I would not recommend this cake. I only dared tackle this cake 1 year after I successfully baked a simple butter cake. ;)

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  35. OMG I can't believe this. I chance upon your blog via another blog. I am also a mother of 3, a fellow Singaporean who now lives in the windy city, Chicago. I am much like u, started cooking when I became a mother. I am in my early 40's though and has always been a career woman and used to work and lived in HK. I am happy to find this recipe and now that fall is around the corner is time to start baking again. Thanks and sure will let u know how this turn out. Talk soon.

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  36. Hi i would like to know if i put the final pdt into 2 smaller cake pan, do i still need to bake it for 1h 10mins? or i can lessen the time?pls advise. thanks.

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  37. Anon: They will bake faster, so shorten the baking time, maybe 50 to 60mins. BUT you must keep a close watch, cos I am not sure how your oven works. But generally, keep a lookout at around the halfway mark ... I would start watching the cakes 30 to 40mins into baking.

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  38. Hi Ju,

    I've been reading your blog for a while now and I think it's absolutely great.

    I'm looking forward to trying this recipe, but I was wondering whether you keep the cake in the water bath as you let it cool with the door ajar?

    Thanks a lot,
    Izzy

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  39. Hi Izzy, I wouldn't recommend it. This is a very delicate cake, and anything like excess steam or heat could ruin it. Also, the problem of water seeping in. :)

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  40. Hi Ju,

    I've tried your recipe, but find the cake a little dense. Do you think adding the egg white will make it lighter?

    Sabrina.

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  41. Hi Sabrina, I don't quite understand your question. The cake already contains egg whites. You mean you want to add more? I wouldn't advise. This is a tried and tested recipe which has produced very light, fluffy cakes for a lot of people. So I really don't think it's necessary to tweak it. :)

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  42. Hi Ju, I personally find it not as light as compared to those selling in bakery, like breadtalk. It taste more dense/heavy.

    What i meant was adding more egg whites. Or what else do you suggest if i want it to be even more lighter?

    Sabrina

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  43. Just a little addition to your recipe. Need to use large eggs. If use small eggs, the cake is more dense, not light.

    Sabrina

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  44. Hi, what about the salt? When do you add it in?

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  45. Hello!

    Tried the cake, went pretty well! (:

    When I added the flour to the cheese mixture, it turned lumpy. But I decided to smoothen it with a sieve. Was wondering if it is meant to be lumpy to increase the fluffiness perhaps?

    Thanks!

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  46. Thanks for the recipe!!! :D

    ps. ur beautiful baby has the same bday as me! :D

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  47. Hi Ju,
    Have you ever tried this recipe in a chiffon tin (those with the hole in the middle)? I'm wondering if this will still turn out nice with a smooth flat top in a chiffon tin, and how to make sure it's easy to unmold.
    Hope to hear from you.
    NEL

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  48. NEL: Good question. Err, to be honest, I don't know! ;)

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  49. Hi there. I am new to your blog and by the way thank you for sharing all the delicious recipes with us. I am teochew too but because I am a mixed of everything (parents are teochew, I was born in VN and live in US and knows a little of Cantonese)...as you can see, I am a mixed breed of everything. Question re: this cotton cheesecake. Did you use an electric hand mixer with a whisk attachment to make this cake or did you use a whisk and whisk it away till your hand hurts?

    Issy

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  50. Hi Issy, I used an electric mixer. :)

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  51. Hi Ju,

    Can I use chiffon cake method to do this? To be frank i've tried this recipe out( it was my first attempt) but when i set the oven to 160c for 1 hour and 10 min.. the surface of the cake seems not dry and brown enough.. the cake look pale and moist. I was wondering why my convection oven took more than 2hrs to bake. I followed step by step n i read through your tips several times before i bake and i even write it out in a piece of paper all the steps easier for me to follow. you can view the pic of my cake via the link below:
    Please kindly enlighten me. Thanks
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150226014792603&set=a.114848352602.119300.781517602&type=1&theater

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  52. Hi Ju,

    May I mow which level/shelf of the oven I should bake this cake? As I read about Alex Goh's recipe he mentioned his is baked at the lowerst shelf.

    Thanks! Your baby is so cute.

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  53. Hi Ju,
    I know it's a really silly question, but how do I tell if the cake is done while it's still inside the oven? I was told that opening the oven will cause it to sink if it's not ready so I dare not risk it..

    S

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  54. Asther: Different ovens work differently, but I am quite surprised you needed so much more baking time. Perhaps you could increase the temperature to 175C the next time, and see if it works better. I saw your photo, and I thought the texture looks quite ok!

    Honey boy: I bake at the middle shelf. :)

    S: I would test with a skewer when the baking time is up ... very quickly, I might add. And if it comes out clean, I would shove it back into the oven for it to cool.

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  55. Hi little teochew,
    I've been following your blog for months now, it's great! ;D
    Tried this cake last night and it worked out well. Thanks for the tips. Things you cant get from cookbooks! It really helps.
    I'm wondering if you can tell me where I can find nice baking supplies and gadgetsin spore? I'm fr kl and will be in spore for a short holiday. Would love to check out the supplies there! ;)
    Thanks in advance,
    Grace

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  56. Grace: You can try Phoon Huat. Just google for their locations and opening hours. Also, ToTT. Good luck!

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  57. Hi Ju, I just tried this today. The top 3/4 of the cake was alright.The 1/4 of thr cakd was a slightly darker yellow colour than the 3/4 and was firm. Please enlighten me on this.i baked mine at 160 for 1hr 20mins.The sides and bottom were brown.Id if suppose to be like this?Thr top of my cake also sunk i by a cm.I opened the door of my oven slightly once the timer of my oven went off. Is this the correct way?

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  58. Hi!Do you think i can add milo powder to the recipe to bake a Cotton Soft Milo Cheese Cake?
    Thx!

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  59. Thanks for setting up this wonderful blog of yourss!! One question: Should i store this in the refrigerator?

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  60. Hi

    Many thanks for the recipe. Its great! Bcos i love baking chiffons, and The batter after folding is a huge portion, so I use a chiffon tube pan instead. The outcome is superb! Super cottony soft and the cheese fragrance is just nice though I cut 20gm of the sugar . Everyone Love it and within a day its gone ! thanks!

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  61. My children loves your recipe. Thank you!

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  62. Hi.. i really hope to make the same kind of cotton soft cheese cake but i tried so man times but i still cannot get it to be cotton soft.
    The cake raises nicely but sunk quite a bit till the texture became very dense...I left the cake in the oven with door a bit ajar for 30-40 mins.
    Hope you can help.. email me at werdnac@live.com.sg

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  63. A question... Is corn flour the same as corn starch? I am so confused? Thank you~

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