DIY Japanese Cheesecake

Japanese cheesecake is a delicious and fluffy dessert that has a unique texture and flavor.  It’s lighter and less dense compared to traditional American-style cheesecake.  I remember having to pay a premium for these goodies at local Hong Kong bakeries or the infamous Uncle Tetsu in Vancouver and Toronto.  I enjoy eating the cake in 2 ways.  Usually I would save half the cake for later in the fridge and, when chilled, the cake has an entirely different texture and melts like ice cream.  When consumed warm it tastes similar to a heart, fluffy pancake.  I always thought this would be a difficult baking experience when I first started.  However, once you learn how to cake these, they can be a great dessert to bring to gatherings or just to consume in the summer (especially the fridge edition).

  • 140g cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 6 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 60g cake flour
  • 20g cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional, but helps stabilize egg whites)
  • Powdered sugar or icing sugar (for dusting) – optional
  1. Preheat your oven to 320°F (160°C).  Line the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the sides.
  2. In a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the cream cheese, butter, and whole milk together.  Stir until smooth and well combined.  Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
  3. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, to the cream cheese mixture.  Mix well after each addition.
  4. Sift the cake flour and cornstarch into the cream cheese mixture.  Stir until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.  Add the lemon juice and mix again.
  5. In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they start to foam.  Add the cream of tartar (if using) and continue whisking until soft peaks form.  Gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg whites and whisk until stiff peaks form.
  6. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the cream cheese batter in three batches.  Be careful not to deflate the batter; maintain its light and airy texture.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.  Tap the pan gently on the countertop to remove any large air bubbles.
  8. Place the cake pan into a larger baking dish or roasting pan.  Create a water bath by adding hot water to the larger dish until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
  9. Bake the cheesecake in the preheated oven for about 50-60 minutes or until the top turns golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Once baked, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for another 10 minutes with the oven door slightly ajar.  This gradual cooling helps prevent cracking.
  11. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely in the pan.  Once cooled, refrigerate the cheesecake for at least a few hours or overnight.
  12. Before serving, remove the cheesecake from the pan, dust the top with powdered sugar, and slice it into wedges.