cheesecakes/japanese food/small batch

Small Batch Japanese Cotton Cheesecake

Posted March 3, 2019 by Stephanie

Cheesecake monster strikes again! Guys, I made another cheesecake and again, I’ve almost eaten the whole thing. Thank goodness for small batch things! I made this bad boy on Friday and as I’m writing this, it’s Saturday and it’s basically 75% gone. Mike had 1 slice and I had the other 3 and a half slices and there’s just one lonely slice, plus a half slice left. This is MADNESS! But this cheesecake is so fluffy and light and good, it’s kind of like eating air so maybe the calories don’t count?!

It might be likely that you haven’t eaten Japanese cotton cheesecake before but you’ve seen the videos. You know, the ones of golden jiggling round cakes that are wobbly and cute and just look so…I dunno, happy? Japanese cheesecake is a different beast than the dense New York style cakes that are popular over here. They’re more of a chiffon-y sponge cake kind of deal with just a hint of cream cheese. Cheesecake is very very popular in Japan and they really have so many regional varieties, but the most well known is definitely what they call cotton cheesecake.

Just like Japanese soufflé pancakes, Japanese cheesecake is made light and fluffy by whipping up egg whites. But in this case, you don’t want a stiff peak, just a nice soft one which will help the cheesecake be soft and jiggly. I find that whipping up whites to the right consistency one of the things that I constantly doubt myself on. Just what are soft peaks?! In this case, they look almost like 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.

This is probably the exact opposite of the easiest cheesecake ever, but it’s still well worth it! I did worry more about cracks with this one – mine ended up cracking but a dusting of icing sugar made everything pretty – but it baked up tall and fluffy and beautiful and didn’t sink at all so maybe it’s not so finicky? I loved the texture of this one. I think maybe my ultimate would be having Japanese cheesecake and Basque cheesecake together on one plate. Or maybe like a cheesecake buffet!??! How awesome would that be?

Happy cheese caking friends!

PS – Just at the other half slice. Gonna hold out on that last slice just on the off chance that Mike wants it…who am I kidding? Probably gonna eat it later as an afternoon snack ;)

Small Batch Japanese Cheesecake Recipe |

Small Batch Japanese Cheesecake Recipe |

Small Batch Japanese Cheesecake Recipe |

Small Batch Japanese Cheesecake Recipe |

Small Batch Japanese Cheesecake Recipe |

Small Batch Japanese Cheesecake Recipe |

Small Batch Japanese Cheesecake Recipe |

Small Batch Japanese Cheesecake Recipe |

Small Batch Japanese Cheesecake Recipe
makes a 6 inch cheesecake

  • 125 grams cream cheese (about 1/2 block)
  • 18 grams butter (1 tbsp + 1 tsp)
  • 90 grams milk (1/3 cup)
  • 30 grams cake flour (1/4 cup)
  • 23 grams cornstarch (3 tablespoons)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 75 grams sugar (1/3 cup)

via Fantastic Cheesecake by Alex Goh on Small Small Baker

Heat the oven to 320°F and move the rack to the middle of the oven. Lightly butter and line the bottom and sides a 6 inch cake pan with parchment paper. I made a sling as well, but found that it was much easier to just tip the cake out onto my hand after it cooled a bit. Do what you think will work for you.

In a double boiler, stir together the cream cheese, butter, and milk until the cream cheese melts and everything is smooth and incorporated. Remove from the heat and let cool completely, stirring to help cool faster.

Bring a pot of water to a boil – this will be for the water bath. Keep it at a simmer while you prep the cake.

Separate the eggs, putting the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl of whites in the fridge to chill.

When the cream cheese is cool, sift in the flour and cornstarch and whisk until throughly combined. Whisk in the egg yolks until smooth and combined.

Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until frothy and pale, adding in the sugar in bit at a time until the whites are whipped into a glossy thick soft peak meringue – one that holds its shape, with a beak that folds over on itself. Be careful not to over whip.

Add 1/3 of the whipped egg whites to the yolks and using a whisk, gently incorporate. Add another 1/3 of the whites and whisk again, being carefully not to deflate. Transfer the egg yolk mixture to the remaining egg whites. Whisk together and then use a spatula to fold together.

Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan and then tap it against the counter couple times to force the air bubbles to come to the top. Place into a deep baking dish and carefully pour the hot water 3/4 of the way up the pan. Place the entire thing in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes keeping an eye on it. If it starts to crack, it may be that your oven is too hot, so lower it by 20 degrees or so.

The cake will be done with the top is golden and it springs back when you gently press it. Crack open the oven door and let the cake cool in the water bath for about 15-20 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool, in the water bath for another 10 minutes or so.

At this point it should be cool enough to remove from the pan. Run a butter knife or offset spatula around the edges and then flip the cake onto your hand, then flip back right side up onto a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar if desired, slice and enjoy! Keep any left


  1. Monika says:

    What a beautiful little cake!
    Cheesecake buffet sounds like something I want at my wedding or next birthday party. All the cheesecakes of the world to try, just imagine that. <3

    1. Stephanie says:

      cheesecake buffet would be the dream!!!

  2. JoAnn says:

    Looks delicious! Do you think this recipe would work with adding different flavors, e.g. cocoa, matcha? At which step would you add?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi joann,
      hmm, i haven’t tried, but i’m guessing it would be best to add them into the yolk mixture :)

  3. Mani says:

    This looks so good!! I have to agree, Japanese cheesecakes are dangerous because they really do feel like eating nothing haha. I’ll definitely have to try out this recipe! :)

  4. Natalie says:

    I love Japanese cheesecake! Looks perfect!

    1. Stephanie says:

      thank you!! :)

  5. Carmen day says:

    Soooooo. U don’t use all of the egg white mixture?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi carmen,
      you do – transfer the egg white mixture that has been lightened to the remaining egg whites, whisk, then use a spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.

  6. Derek says:

    Can this be done in a 9 inch pan too?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi derek,
      i haven’t made it in a nine inch – this is a small batch recipe, hence the 6 inch pan. i think you can but it won’t be as tall and you’d have to bake it for less time. hope that helps a bit!

  7. Zinnat says:

    It’s look yummy. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe

  8. Quyen says:

    Keep any left….

    overs in the fridge?

  9. Monica says:

    May I ask if a 6 x 2 inch pan will work or do we need a 3″ tall one (or maybe make a taller parchment collar for the pan)? I have a 6×3 inch springform pan but I’m afraid of water seepage so would rather go with a regular cake pan. Going to attempt it this weekend. Thank you!

    1. Stephanie says:

      i think it might work, but i’m not quite certain so I don’t want to say yes, just because i’m not sure if the collar will support the cake while it’s baking. after baking the cheesecake was definitely higher than 2 inches tall. i agree with you on the seepage and wouldn’t use the springform.

      if you’re set on the 6×2, maybe you can fill that one and then use the extra batter to bake a tiny cheesecake in oven safe cup? it won’t look as pretty, but it’ll be cute cup of cheesecake just for you to snack on :) the one in the cup probably wouldn’t even need the water bath, though it might crack.

      let me know how it goes!

      1. Monica says:

        Thanks so much, Stephanie. I was hoping you used a 6×2 but it seemed unlikely and I’m glad you confirmed it. I am leaning towards using my 6×3″ cheesecake pan (it’s got a removable bottom, not a side release) and wrapping it twice in foil. We’ll see how it goes. I’m trying to make it for my niece who is a fan of Japanese sponge cake. : ) I’ll let you know but thank you for the suggestions. The extra cake is definitely an option!

        1. Monica says:

          I made it this morning! I ended up using my 6×3″ cheesecake pan but instead of wrapping in foil, I set it inside an 8″ cake pan and then put all that in a water bath (read this trick from Cook’s Illustrated…I think maybe a 7″ cake pan would have worked better but I only had the 8″). Anyway, it seemed to have worked out just fine! The cake cracked slightly upon cooling but it was smooth sailing overall. Thank you, Stephanie. I hope my niece likes it…it’s boxed up and in the fridge ready to go. : )

  10. Debbie says:

    This was delicious. Added lemon zest, extract,and juice from lemon. Then topped with blueberry compote. Great!

    1. Stephanie says:

      ooh lemon and blueberries sound amazing! so happy you loved it :)

  11. Kathleen says:

    Do I need to change the baking temperature for high altitude (Colorado)?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi kathleen,
      i think you would have to but i’m not super clear on how to adjust things for high altitude baking. i think you might have to increase the temperature. sorry i can’t be of more help :(

  12. Tom says:

    Can I double the recipe and bake two 6″ cakes at the same time?

    1. Stephanie says:

      i haven’t tried, but i don’t see why it wouldn’t work!

  13. PatzEl says:

    I’ve made this twice now… First time the bain marie leaked into my pan today they’re perfect … I added some orange zest to the custard before I mixed the egg whites and there’s just enough of a hint of orange… Thanks for such a small recipe!! It works perfectly!

  14. Rita says:

    I found a hint on line and did what it said. First I wrapped the pan in a turkey bag and then I wrapped it in two layers of foil. Am baking it now and will let you know how it goes. Love this recipe.

  15. Alex says:

    I tried it and I used a kitchen aid to whip up the eggs, Cream of tartar and sugar i slowly added the sugar and it just stayed like eggy whites and sugar . After 25 minutes still nothing happened

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi alex,
      if there’s any oil or egg yolks or fat residue at all on your bowl or whisk the egg whites won’t whip.

  16. Jane says:

    That is a lot of work for a small cake
    I use 3/4 cup flour and 3/4 sugar and 6 eggs plus more of the rest and lemon juice is great
    That would satisfy only one person at a time
    It is so delicious
    I made 2 yesterday

  17. Riddhima says:

    Can I skip on the cream of tartar if I don’t have any?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi riddhima,
      the cream of tartar is to help with stabilizing the egg whites. if you’re confident in your egg white whipping ability you can feel free to leave it out :)

  18. una says:

    Hi, any tips on how to avoid deflating the batter? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi una,
      the whites have to be whipped properly and you have to fold gently when mixing with the yolks. use a scooping and cutting motion :)

  19. Neeta says:

    Hello I would really appreciate a video of this recipe… would show us, exactly how you make this & get best results….thanks….it would be of great help……

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi neeta,
      we’re working on bringing video to you!

  20. Michelle says:

    how tall was your pan? should I get a 2in or 3in tall pan?

    1. Stephanie says:

      mine is 3” tall :)

    2. Kim says:

      What oven setting did you use ?? Fan ?

      1. Stephanie says:

        just regular, not fan :)

  21. Audrey says:

    Hi!! I’m so excited to make this! I was wondering if I could double this recipe and make it in 2 6-inch pans. Do you think that would work? Thanks so much!!!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi audrey,

      1. Audrey says:

        Ok. Should I pour the cream cheese/egg yolk batter through a seive before adding the egg whites to remove clumps?

        1. Stephanie says:

          hi audrey,
          when i did the cream cheese over the double boiler it was very smooth with no lumps, but you could absolutely push it through a sieve for extra insurance :)

  22. Sarah says:

    hi!! this is the perfect size! what if your oven only has 300 or 325 as a temperature setting? thank you!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi sarah,
      i would go for 325 then after 20 mins or so, lower the temp to 300 :)

  23. Melinda says:

    This cake looks like a cake I’ve eaten every time I visit the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. No where in the US, is there a cake like there. I’m wondering if perhaps it immigrated there. I’ve tried to duplicate, no success. Will try this recipe.

  24. afrin says:

    is the recipe will be the same if I use a 7×2 inch round pan?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi afrin,
      taste wise it will be the same, but it won’t be as tall. you might need to adjust the baking time as well so that it doesn’t overtake. take 5 minutes off the bake time and keep an eye on it!

  25. Michelle says:

    5 stars
    I made this and it came out great. I didn’t have a big enough foil to prevent water from seeping into the springform pan. As a result, it took an extra 30 min to cook and bottom of the cake was wet. BUT, resting overnight, the texture and flavor ended up perfect, just like the Japanese bakery. I used lemon juice instead of cream of tartar and a 7×2”springform, which was perfectly sized. Between two of us, it did not last 24 hrs.

  26. Avery says:

    5 stars
    Delicious cake! Satisfies my craving for those tiny ones that I get at the Japanese market. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. For all tries, I baked the cake in a 8×4 loaf pan, used no cream of tartar, and used a cashew/almond milk blend. For my first try, I didn’t have cornstarch so I so I added in a little more cake flour. Turned out delicious! For my second try, I subbed half of the cream cheese with low fat cream cheese. Still amazing! The hardest part of the recipe is getting the cake out of the pan and onto the cooling rack. It’s a very delicate and sticky cake. I can see why the convenience store versions are sold in paper wrappers.

  27. James Hughes says:

    Why no printy-printy button on recipes. So sad.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi james, the print button is at the top of the recipe on the right hand corner

  28. Leyanne Toop says:

    5 stars
    This was my 6 or 7th try & Finally came out absolutely perfect!! Thank you so much

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