Japanese cheesecake is probably my all-time favorite cake of any kind, cheese or not.

Recently, I’ve been making Japanese cheesecake after cheesecake, not to perfect a recipe or anything, but because they’re just so fluffy and addictive. Can you ever have too much cheesecake?

What is Japanese Cheesecake?

Japanese cheesecake is a soufflé cheesecake that’s quite different than the dense and thick New York style cheesecake we all know and love, but every bit as tasty. They are light and fluffy thanks to loads of whipped egg whites, are a little less sweet, and have a slightly tangy cream cheese flavor. They’re so fluffy that you can probably eat a whole cheesecake by yourself and not feel totally guilty about it. They’re like the cheesecake version of Japanese soufflé pancakes.

They look pretty darn cute and squishy and taste good too. This recipe bakes up beautifully, doesn’t crack and the inside texture is bang on, almost exactly the same as the cheesecakes I get in Tokyo. The key is baking it at different temperatures. It starts off high so it can get a lot of heat to help it rise, then goes low and slow so everything bakes evenly. 

The importance of cooling your cheesecake

After the baking, the cheesecake will spend an enormously long time to cool off in the oven. I’m pretty sure this is not how they do it in Japan because they take them out of the oven when they’re still super hot and jiggly, but this works for me so I roll with it. The super slow cooling keeps your cheesecake looking non-wrinkly and crack-free, which was a problem I faced the first few times I made this.

The only thing is, when you cool it in the oven, you don’t get to have fun jiggling it while it’s still hot. And really, the cheesecake is most jiggly when it’s warm. After it cools down, it deflates a bit and is more like a regular fluffy sponge cake texture rather than a jiggly puffball. If you don’t care about aesthetics, or care more about jiggling, or just want to eat cheesecake ASAP, feel free to shorten the cooling time or even take it out right away.

cheesecake cooling | www.iamafoodblog.com

Japanese Cheesecake Ingredients

The ingredients for this Japanese cheesecake recipe are are similar to regular cheesecake, but with a few important changes:

  • cake flour: if you don’t live in America, cake flour is low protein flour, usually about 8%-9% protein
  • corn starch: not corn flour. corn starch is used to get the protein content down even further to make the cake as light and fluffy as possible
  • cream of tartar: cream of tartar helps stabilize the egg whites, which are whipped into a meringue. Cream of tartar can be hard to find depending on where you live, so if you don’t have it but you’re pretty good at whipping egg whites to soft peaks, you could skip it. You can also order it online.

How to make Japanese Cheesecake

  1. Make the cream cheese batter: The cream cheese is melted over a double boiler so that it gets extra smooth and creamy. When it’s melty, mix in the butter, milk, egg yolks, and a bit of sugar.
  2. Sift in the flour and cornstarch: After everything is smooth you sift in the cake flour and cornstarch.
  3. Whip the egg whites: This is the part that is key. It’s not too difficult, especially if you’ve made meringue before. Just whip up your whites to about soft peaks.
  4. Mix: Gently fold together the whites and cream cheese batter, being careful not to deflate the whites too much.
  5. Bake in a water bath: Japanese cheesecake is a bit delicate so you’ll need to bake it in a water bath with a kitchen towel underneath so that it doesn’t contact direct heat in any way.
  6. Cool: If you like, you can remove it from the pan once it’s cool enough to touch and do the jiggly shake that I’m sure you’ve seen on the internet. Otherwise, just let it cool very slowly then you’re ready to eat!

Soft peaks

Japanese cheesecake is made light and fluffy by whipping up egg whites. We’re aiming for a soft peak, which will help the cheesecake be fluffy and jiggly. You want your egg whites to look like almost fully whipped egg whites, but when you pull your whisk up from the whites, the whites will gently fold over like the tip of a nice swirl of soft ice cream, instead of standing straight up.

Kitchen scale

The measurements in this recipe are by weight because Japanese cheesecake can be a little finicky when baking by volume. If you don’t yet have a kitchen scale, you should totally get one because they are cheap and will change your baking life forever. You’ll wonder why it took you so long to start baking by weight before, it’s so much easier!

This is a recipe that takes time and care but it’s totally worth it! Wishing you a fluffy Japanese cheesecake :)

japanese cheesecake | www.iamafoodblog.com

The Best Japanese Cheesecake Recipe

Just the right sweetness and perfectly fluffy and jiggly with a hint of tart cream cheese.
Serves 8
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Cooling time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins

Ingredients

Cream Cheese Batter

  • 250 grams room temperature cream cheese
  • 60 grams unsalted butter
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 70 grams sugar
  • 60 grams cake flour
  • 20 grams cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Meringue

  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 70 grams sugar

Special Equipment

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 390°F and lightly grease a 8” x 3” round cake pan with butter. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
    cake pan lined with parchment paper | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Pour boiling water into a large bowl or pan, then sit a smaller mixing bowl inside. Add the cream cheese to the smaller bowl and let soften while you separate your eggs. When the cream cheese is soft, whisk until smooth and creamy, then stir in butter and milk until smooth and incorporated. Whisk in the yolks until smooth, then whisk in the sugar. Remove the bowl from the hot water bath and sift in the cake flour and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth.
    japanese cheesecake batter | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until frothy and pale, adding sugar bit at a time until the whites are whipped into a glossy thick meringue that holds a soft peak. Be careful not to over whip.
    egg whites at soft peaks | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Take 1/3 of the whipped egg whites and whisk it into the bowl with the yolks until completely incorporated. Add half of the remaining whites and whisk into the yolk batter, being careful not to deflate.
    cheesecake with egg whites | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Transfer the egg yolk mixture to the remaining egg whites, whisk and then use a spatula to fold together. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan – it should come up almost to the top of the pan, about 1/4 inch from the top. Tap the pan against the counter to release any air bubbles.
    cheesecake batter in pan | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Place a kitchen towel into a large deep baking dish and place the cake pan on top (this ensures that the cheesecake doesn’t have any contact with direct heat), then put everything into the preheated oven and carefully pour hot water about 1 inch high.
    cheesecake in a water bath | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Bake at 390°F for 18 minutes, then drop the heat to 285°F and bake for another 30 minutes. When the 30 minutes is up, turn off the oven and leave the cake inside without opening the door for another 30 minutes. Finally, open the oven door and remove the water bath. Place the cake back into the oven and leave the door slightly open to let cool gently for another 30 minutes. The idea is to let the cake cool very gradually so it doesn’t crack.
    cheesecake cooling | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • The cake will have naturally shrunk from the sides and should be cool enough to touch. Use a cutting board (or your hands) to invert and remove from the pan. Flip back right side up and place on your serving dish. It should be soft, fluffy, and jiggly while it’s still warm.
    japanese cheesecake | www.iamafoodblog.com

Notes

adapted from craftpassion.com

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
The Best Japanese Cheesecake Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 326 Calories from Fat 188
% Daily Value*
Fat 20.9g32%
Saturated Fat 12.2g76%
Cholesterol 209mg70%
Sodium 246mg11%
Potassium 134mg4%
Carbohydrates 27.6g9%
Fiber 0.2g1%
Sugar 18.5g21%
Protein 8.3g17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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12 Comments

  1. Natalie says:

    This cake looks absolutely amazing! I love Japanese cheesecake ♥

    1. Imane says:

      You can add 1/2 tsp. Of white vinegar

  2. Jana sham says:

    Is cream of tartar nessesary?can’t be replaced by something else?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi jana,
      it really helps the egg whites fluff up and stabilize. if you are very confident in whipping egg whites you can try and skip it, but i would recommend it. there’s nothing that can really replace it unfortunately.

  3. Kelly says:

    Could you give the keto version of the recipe?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi kelly,
      i’d have to tweak it and bit and take photos, but yes, i will!

  4. Mel says:

    What is Cake Flour to those of us in Australia?

    1. Stephanie says:

      it’s low protein flour :)

  5. Paul Neri says:

    Corn Starch? Or Cor Flour? I’ve seen different recipes each way.

    1. Stephanie says:

      it’s corn starch!

  6. JAM says:

    Question- you bake this with the wet dishcloth in the larger pan? to promote even cooking? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi,
      yes, the wet dishcloth is to raise the cheesecake from the bottom of the pan :)

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