Light, jiggly, and fluffy, Japanese Cheesecake (Soufflé Cheesecake) is seriously the most delicious treat to serve for a crowd. It has the melt-in-your-mouth combination of creamy cheesecake and airy soufflé. A second (or more) serving is a guarantee!
Prep Time25 minutesmins
Cook Time1 hourhr25 minutesmins
Chilling Time2 hourshrs
Total Time1 hourhr50 minutesmins
Keyword: cheesecake, souffle
Servings: 19-inch (23-cm) cake
1Tbspunsalted butter(for greasing the pan and parchment paper)
6large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)(10.6 oz, 300 g without shell)
¾cupheavy (whipping) cream(¾ cup + 4 tsp, to be precise)
I highly encourage you to weigh your ingredients in metric using a kitchen scale for this recipe. Click on the “Metric“ button at the top of the recipe to convert the ingredient measurements to metric. If you‘re using a cup measurement, please follow the “fluff and sprinkle“ method: Fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle the flour into your measuring cup, and level it off. Otherwise, you may scoop more flour than you need. Please read the blog post for more detailed information that I shared about this recipe.
To Prepare the Cake Pan
Use a 9-inch (23-cm) cake pan that is 4 inches (10 cm) high. Cut parchment paper to line the bottom and sides of the cake pan. Cut one circle 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter for the bottom and one rectangular strip 4 x 30 inches (10 x 76 cm) for the sides of the cake pan. In addition, cut two strips of paper 2 x 30 inches (5 x 76 cm) each. We will use these as “straps” to lift the baked cake from the pan.
With 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, grease the cake pan and the parchment paper (for the bottom and the sides only; grease the paper on one side). You don‘t need to use all the butter.
Place the two parchment paper “straps” crisscross on the bottom of the cake pan so they form an “X.” Allow the excess paper to hang over the sides. Then, line the bottom and sides with the greased parchment paper. The greased side of the paper circle should face up, and the greased side of the rectangular stripshould face in toward the center of the pan.
To Preheat the Oven and Prepare a Double Boiler
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). For a convection oven, reduce the cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC). Note: You will be baking at 320ºF (160ºC). However, when you open the oven to place the cheesecake, you’ll lose some heat, so we’ll start off a bit higher.
Prepare a double boiler: Set a medium saucepan filled with 2 inches (5 cm) of water over high heat and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, cover and reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer.
To Gather the Ingredients
Gather all the ingredients. Please note that it is very important to measure all your ingredients before starting. Separate 6 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell) into yolks and whites. Refrigerate the egg whites.
To Make the Cake Batter
In a large bowl, add 10.6 oz cream cheese, 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, ¾ cup heavy (whipping) cream, and 4½ Tbsp sugar. Rest the bowl on the saucepan above the simmering water.
Using a silicone spatula, mash the cream cheese and butter. Once they are melted, use a whisk to blend everything together. Remove from the heat.
While whisking, add the egg yolks into the warm cream cheese mixture, one at a time. Make sure each yolk is blended well with the cream cheese mixture before adding the next one.
Using a fine-mesh strainer, sift ⅔ cup cake flour into the batter. Whisk and blend together.
Then, pass the batter through the same fine-mesh strainer into a clean large bowl. This creates a silky texture for the batter.
Add the zest of ½ lemon into the batter. Make sure you only zest the flavorful yellow part and not the bitter white pith. Into a separate small bowl, squeeze the juice from the lemon. Measure 2 Tbsp lemon juice and add it to the batter. Whisk well to blend and set aside.
To Set Up the Bain-Marie
Put the baking sheet inside the preheating oven and pour in hot water until it is halfway up the sides or ½ inch deep. Close the oven door.
To Beat and Incorporate the Egg Whites
Add the cold egg whites into the dry, clean mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Make sure there is no oil or water in the bowl. If you have space in your refrigerator, I highly recommend keeping the mixing bowl cold until you’re ready to use it. Start whisking on medium speed (Speed 4) until the egg whites become opaque, foamy, and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Then, slowly add ½ cup sugar, one-third of it at a time, while the mixer runs.
Once you’ve added all the sugar, increase the mixer speed to high (Speed 8–9) and beat the egg whites until you have firm peaks. When you lift the whisk and turn it upside down, the egg whites should still cling to the whisk and hold their shape fairly well, but the tip of the peak folds back on itself.
Using a hand whisk, mix one-third of the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture until incorporated. Then, gently fold another one-third into the mixture.
Lastly, pour the mixture back into the mixer bowl (with the last one-third of the egg whites still in it) and fold very gently until just combined.
Pour the mixture into the cake pan all at once, avoiding air pockets while pouring. Tap the cake pan a few times on the kitchen counter to release any air pockets in the batter.
To Bake the Cheesecake
Open the oven and place the cake pan onto the baking sheet with the bain-marie. Reduce the oven temperature to 320ºF (160ºC)—25ºF (15ºC) lower for a convection oven—and bake for 70–75 minutes. Then, reduce the oven temperature to 300ºF (150ºC) and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. To test if the cake is done, open the oven door slightly and insert a skewer into the cake. If it comes out without a wet liquid batter, it‘s done.
Turn off the oven and leave the oven door slightly ajar for 15–20 minutes with the cake inside. If you take the cake out immediately to the kitchen counter, the sudden change in temperature could cause the cake to collapse. You want the cake to slowly shrink down to half the height, roughly from 4 inches to 2 inches high. After 15–20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven. Gently pull out the cake from the cake pan using the two parchment paper straps (with help from another set of hands).
Place the cake on a plate. Remove the parchment paper around the sides of the cake (but leave the bottom paper). Combine 2 Tbsp apricot jam and 2 tsp hot water in a small bowl. Brush the apricot mixture over the top of the cheesecake. Let cool to room temperature.
You can serve the cake at room temperature (fluffiest!) or chill the cake for 1–2 hours before serving.
You can store the cake in the refrigerator for up to 3–4 days or in the freezer for 3–4 weeks. Defrost the cake overnight in the refrigerator. The cold cheesecake is dense, so leave it on the counter until just chilled or at room temperature before serving.
All-Purpose Flour vs. Cake Flour:All-purpose flour and cake flour do not perform the same. Cake flour is more delicate, and if you use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, the texture will be dense and tough. If you can't find cake flour, use this substitution:To Make Cake Flour: Take one level cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 Tbsp, and then add 2 Tbsp of corn starch back in. (1 cup of AP flour - 2 Tbsp of AP flour + 2 Tbsp of cornstarch = 1 cup of cake flour). Be sure to sift the flour 3–4 times to distribute the cornstarch well.Tips for Beating Egg Whites:
Make sure your beaters and mixing bowl are clean and dry. A speck of oil, water, or egg yolk on either one can minimize the volume of the beaten egg whites.
Avoid plastic bowls—even clean ones may hold oily residue that can affect the successful whipping of the egg whites.
Use a bowl that's wide enough to keep the beaters from being buried in the egg whites.