This is an easy and delicious recipe for traditional Japanese cheesecake. It’s light and airy and has just the right amount of sweetness!
Fluffy Japanese Cheesecake Recipe
I have to make a confession to make – I don’t like cheesecake.
I am one of those weird people who finds cheesecake to dense and cloyingly sweet. I’m more of a choux cream/ mille crêpe kind of girl, preferring light and airy desserts that aren’t too filling. But to say that I dislike all cheesecakes would be wrong since there is one type I’m crazy about – Japanese cheesecake! The flavors are pretty much the same except for the intensity level. On a scale of 1 to 10, American cheesecake is a 9 as far as sweetness goes while Japanese cheesecake is more of a 5. It’s also very light, almost like a mousse or a sponge cake.
A different type of cheesecake
The first time I had a slice of Japanese cheesecake was in Tokyo back in the 90s. I was buying a box full of dainty cakes from Cozy Corner – a famous Japanese cake shop chain – and decided to try their signature cheesecake. Japan is abound in cake shops. You can easily find one or two near a subway station or a major intersection. No special occasion is needed to enjoy a slice of cake, they are the equivalent of donuts in America.
I know what you’re thinking: How can Japanese people stay so skinny if they eat a lot of cake? Well, this is my own theory but I think it’s because the serving sizes are much smaller. A slice is about a third the size of what you get here in America. Also, I’ve seen many Japanese women swap lunch for cakes. Instead of ordering lunch and dessert, they order 2-3 cake slices and have that as their meal along with a cup of tea. Not very healthy but I guess it’s okay if you do this once in a while, which I’m guessing they are by looking at the size of their tiny waists!
Making Japanese cheesecake is very easy. You need 9 ingredients and about 15 minutes to prep. The secret to making this cheesecake so light is in the egg white and sugar mix that are beaten until stiff enough to make soft peaks. They are then folded into the cream cheese mixture, transferred to a cake pan and put in the oven for a whole hour and 1o minutes. This makes the cheesecake super fluffy and airy! You can serve it bare or dusted with confectionary sugar and topped fresh strawberries (amazing!) or pomegranate seeds. I’m sure it also pairs really well with chocolate or caramel syrup, walnuts or a citrus fruit like an orange (although I have never tried it).
Japanese cheesecake is one of those desserts everyone loves. Whether you are serving it to a group of adults or bringing it to a kids party, I can promise you there won’t be any leftovers!
Other light and easy Japanese recipes:
- Spicy tuna rolls
- Spicy miso tsukemen
- Japanese curry
- Chicken and spicy miso onigiri (rice balls)
- Yaki udon
Did you like this Japanese Cheesecake Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!
- One 8-ounce pack cream cheese (I use Philadelphia), at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup 2% milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 325ºF.
- Line a cake pan (8 or 9 inches round) with parchment paper, or lightly spray with oil.
- Put cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat until soft, using an electric mixer.
- One by one, mix thoroughly milk, ¼ cup sugar, flour, egg yolk, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Set aside and wash the heads of the electric mixer.
- In a separate bowl, add egg whites and cream of tartar and mix with electric mixer. Slowly add the remaining ¼ cup sugar and mix until peaks form.
- Gently fold in egg white mixture into the cream cheese mixture. Do this slowly and do not over mix.
- Pour mixture in the cake pan and place it on top of a square or rectangular baking pan or tray about 2 to 3 inches deep. Pour enough water into the square pan until half full.
- Bake in the oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown.
- Turn the heat off and leave it in the oven until it reaches room temperature.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.