What is Japanese cheesecake?
Japanese cheesecake (a.k.a. Japanese cotton cheesecake, bouncy cheesecake, souffle cheesecake, souffle castella or jiggly castella) is a variation of cheesecake that originated in Japan in the 1980s. Its texture is soft & fluffy, much more like a sponge cake than a rich & creamy American cheesecake. It is made with a combination of cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and cornstarch, and is often flavored with vanilla or lemon juice.
What makes Japanese cheesecake unique?
There are multiple factors that make Japanese cheesecake different from traditional American cheesecake.
It is made with a meringue, which is a mixture of egg whites and sugar that is whipped until stiff peaks form. This meringue is then folded into the cream cheese mixture, giving the cake its signature fluffy texture.
Another factor that sets Japanese cheesecake apart is its cooking method. Unlike traditional cheesecake, which is baked at a high temperature, This style of cheesecake is baked at a low temperature in a water bath. This slow and gentle cooking process helps to prevent the cake from cracking and ensures that it cooks evenly throughout.
Unlike American cheesecakes, it does not have a creamy topping or filling, nor does it have a crust.
What really sets this Japanese dessert apart is its mesmerizing ability to wobble and wobble…
What does it taste like?
Japanese cheesecake has a unique and delicate flavor that sets it apart from American cheesecake. It is less dense and rich than traditional cheesecake and has an airy, bouncy texture that is often described as soft and fluffy. In Japan, this extreme fluffiness is called fuwa fuwa which directly translates to “fluffy fluffy.”
It has a subtle sweetness that is not overpowering, and it often has a hint of lemon or vanilla that enhances its delicate flavor. Overall, this cheesecake has a delightful balance of sweetness and lightness, making it a perfect treat for those who prefer a lighter, less rich dessert.
Where can I get it?
If you can’t get to Japan to try an authentic Japanese cheesecake from one of the longest-standing Japanese cheesecake makers (Uncle Tetsu and Uncle Rikuro) you can find them at certain specialty Japanese bakeries in “Japantowns” across the US. Check out this interactive map to find places in the US that will serve this bouncy dessert hot and fresh to you…
How can I make it?
The one guaranteed way to get some of this jiggly goodness (if you don’t live near any places that sell them fresh) is to make it yourself. Here’s a relatively simple recipe you can follow.
- 1 1/8 cups cream cheese
- 2/3 cups fine granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup cake flour (super fine)
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 egg whites
- 6 egg yolks
- First, turn stove to medium-high heat. Put the cream cheese, butter and milk in a small pot and place over the heat until ingredients are melted. Mix the ingredients and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Add flour, cornstarch, egg yolks, lemon juice and salt. Mix ingredients.
- Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar for 5+ mins to create a foamy meringue. Add sugar. Whisk to create firm peaks similar to this –>
- Very gently mix the meringue into the cream cheese mix, one third at a time. This will give the cheesecake its fluffiness.note: over-mixing will cause the cheesecake to shrink drastically after baking
- Carefully transfer the mixture into an 8 inch round baking pan lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 325°F in a water bath (i.e. put the 8 inch pan in a larger pan with hot water halfway up the 8 inch pan⸺the water should not touch the cheesecake ingredients) for 65-70 mins or until golden brown.note: the water bath is required keep the cheesecake moist
- Turn off the oven and open the oven door. Let sit for 30 mins to 1 hour to cool slowly. Enjoy!
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Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.