Japanese cheesecake is something I’ve wanted to blog about for the longest time. I had my first piece in Hong Kong, and it was really a game changer for me in terms of how I viewed cheesecake. Really what a Japanese cheesecake should be, correction - what a well-made Japanese cheesecake should be, is that perfect cross between a sponge cake and a creamy cheesecake. I’ve tried far too many sub-par “Japanese cheesecakes” that really just tasted like cream cheese flavored sponge cake. Sponge cake is fine, but that’s not Japanese cheesecake.
It’s funny because a lot of Asians overseas think that Japanese cheesecake is a healthier cheesecake. Although Japanese cheesecake may be a tad lighter, its ingredients are very similar to your New York style cheesecake. It’s just the procedure to make it is different. With a Japanese cheesecake, you whip up everything to make it seem “lighter.” And yes, you can make a light, lower fat Japanese cheesecake, but that’s when the whole thing just tastes like some dry sponge cake. There needs to be a fat component in there to make what starts off like a sponge cake - end in rich creaminess.
Green tea matcha powder
I decided to up the ante a little by turning this into a matcha or green tea Japanese cheesecake. Matcha is one of those ingredients where people either love it or hate it. For me, the stronger the green tea flavor, the better. I think it’s just one of those ingredients that can really perfume a recipe - in a good way (…unlike rose water - disaster stories of which I will share later). Now, matcha powder is not cheap, but since you’re only using about 2 tablespoons of it, I say make sure it’s a good quality one. Also, tip - make sure you sift and mix the green tea powder well as it does tend to get lumpy.
And because I wanted to make sure the flavor of green tea was predominant, I knew I couldn’t use cream cheese, as the tang from it would make the cake taste strange. (I had tried this for test trial #1). Fromage blanc was a good option but it’s sometimes difficult to get. I decided to go with good old mascarpone, which is thick and rich like cream cheese, but without that tang.
My technique for this Japanese cheesecake is a little different from the ones I have seen online. For me, making sure the cake hits its maximum volume was my main concern. I have already added the necessary fats like mascarpone and heavy cream to make the cake moist and creamy once it hits your mouth, but with the addition of fats comes the risk that it will drag the once bouncy, light, and airy cheesecake down. So I hit the cake with the trifecta of whipped whites, whipped yolks, and whipped cream - folding it all together in the end. I also substituted powdered sugar to whip with the whites as I feel that gives a more stabilized white. The technique worked wonders, and I was left with an airy, bouncy cake at first bite, which turned into rich and creamy goodness as it melted in your mouth.
1. In a microwave, melt butter and mascarpone cheese. Set aside.
2. Using the paddle attachment, whip egg yolks and granulated sugar until pale yellow in color. Pour in mascarpone and butter mixture and mix till just combined. Set aside.
3. In a small container, mix several tablespoons of heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of green tea powder
4. Pour green tea mixture into yolk mixture and mix on medium speed till just combined.
5. Fold in flour and cornstarch. Set aside.
6. In a separate bowl, whisk the rest of the heavy cream till soft peaks.
7. Gently fold whipped cream into green tea yolk mixture. Set aside.
8. In a clean bowl, whip together whites and confectioners sugar till stiff peaks.
9. Gently fold whites into green tea mixture and pour into 9-inch cake pan lined with parchment. Make sure parchment paper is several inches higher than sides of pan for cake to rise.
10. Bake in a water bath at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Open oven door and leave cake to rest for an additional 40 minutes.
11. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Cake will sink a bit.
12. Dust top of cake with green tea powder.
####For Osmanthus Cream:
1. Combine heavy cream with osmanthus flowers for about 30 minutes. Sweeten with honey.
2. Use as base for cheesecake.
For the green tea cheesecake - 16 tbsp mascarpone - 4 tbsp butter - 6 large eggs, separated - 3 tbsp granulated sugar - 1 cup heavy cream - 3 tbsp matcha green tea powder, sifted - 1/4 cup confectioners sugar - 1/2 cup cake flour - 3 tbsp cornstarch
For osmanthus cream - 1/2 cup heavy cream - 1 tablespoon dried osmanthus flowers - honey