Sunday, 17 June 2012

Japanese Cheesecake - Totoro-style

Last week, I was sitting at my desk, doing my day job and generally being gainfully employed when I was surprised by a knock at the door and the offer of a piece of Japanese cheesecake. One of our administration staff is Japanese and she had been baking. It had been ages since I had had any Japanese cheesecake so I was thrilled. 

Of course, I rushed to Twitter to brag about my good fortune - Japanese cheesecake delivered right to my desk, oho! Lucky moi! -  only to be asked, "What is Japanese cheesecake?"

Japanese cheesecake is a baked cheesecake. It has flour added to the mixture which makes it less dense than, say, a New York cheesecake. It is also curious in that it doesn't have a biscuit base. The mixture is simply poured into the lined baking tin and is 'self-supporting' if you will, because it is that little bit firmer.

I was then asked by eatmeetswest if the cake had come with a 'Hello, Kitty' embossed on the top. Such things do indeed exist (in fact, you'd be amazed what other products you can find Kitty's face on), and so I countered with this picture and the promise to try and make one of my own as soon as could be managed. 

However, when I declared my intention of baking a Hello Kitty cheesecake, my 11 year old son (who loves all things Japanese) decided that he would prefer to have a cheesecake with the image of 'My Neighbour, Totoro' instead of Hello, Kitty because he adores the films of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli and he thinks Totoro, a large bouncing Japanese forest troll, is 'awesome'. (I love the film too and, if you haven't seen it, it is well worth watching!)

So please find the cheesecake recipe below. The Totoro  image was made by fiddling around with a sharp knife and a packet of Cadbury chocolate buttons. I'm very pleased with it and think it is so kawaii!

Classic Japanese Baked Cheesecake


250g packet of cream cheese
30g melted butter
100g caster sugar
juice of half a lemon
3 eggs, separated
50ml milk
50ml cream
40g plain flour

  • Preheat oven to 160C. Brush a 20cm springform pan with butter and line with baking paper.
  • Beat together cream cheese, 80g caster sugar and melted butter in a bowl (or use an electric mixer) until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the lemon juice, 3 egg yolks, milk, cream and flour. Beat until well-combined and fluffy.
  • Whisk the 3 egg whites with 20g sugar in a medium mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Add cream cheese mixture and use a large metal spoon to fold until just combined.
  • Pour mixture into lined pan. Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until golden and just set in the centre. Remove from the oven and leave in the pan until cooled completely.
  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight to firm. Remove from the fridge 10 minutes before serving.

いただきます !