Monday, March 17, 2008

Japanese White Chocolate Almond Cheesecake

I'm so glad I stumbled across this recipe. It makes a really unique and tasty cake, reminiscent of the airy sponge cakes you get at Chinese bakeries. The recipe for a 9-inches cake only has 3 tablespoons of flour and 1 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch. It's lightened with beaten egg whites, and baked in a water bath. The first time I made it, I simply flavored it with vanilla, and found that it tasted too much of cream cheese and egg. I adapted the recipe this time by adding in melted Ghirardelli white chocolate and almond extract. It got the approval of me and some of my friends. It doesn't rise very much and comes out smooth and flat on top. I'm thinking of tripling the recipe and making a layer cake next time.

Japanese White Chocolate Almond Cheesecake
Makes 1 9" Cake

3 ounce package of cream cheese
1/3 cup milk
2 egg yolks
4 tbsp white sugar, divided
3 tbsp all purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 tbsp corn starch, sifted
2 egg whites
1/3 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup white chocolate chunks
1/2 tsp almond extract

Combine cream cheese, milk, and white chocolate chunks in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until cream cheese and chocolate has melted. The mixture wouldn't be completely smooth, but try to get out the big lumps. Let cool.

Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and 2 tbsp sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the cooled cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Add in almond extract. Stir in sifted flour and cornstarch until combined.

Using an electric mixture with clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add in 2 tbsp of sugar until white whites reach stiff peak stage. Gently fold egg whites into the cream cheese mixture. The mixture should be smooth and look like clouds. Pour into a 9" parchment-lined pan, or a greased springform pan with a removable bottom. If using a springform pan, wrap the pan in foil so that water will not leak in.

Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven in a water bath for 20 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 300 degrees and continue to bake for 15 minutes. Allow cake to cool before removing from pan. If using a springform, simply remove the side of the pan. If using a regular baking pan, invert cake onto a plate, peel off the parchment and re-invert onto another plate.

A few notes:
  • When beating egg whites, make sure there are no fats coming into contact. That means no bits of egg yolk and clean beaters and bowl. Any amount of fat would prevent the egg whites from reaching stiff peaks. Since they are the leavening agent (in a sense of speaking) in this recipe, it is very important that they are well beaten.
  • A water bath is used to maintain a moist environment so the cheesecake doesn't dry out. To make a water bath: place the cake pan inside another larger baking dish. Pour hot water into the baking dish until it comes about halfway up the side of the cake pan. Be careful to not get water into the cake mixture itself. It is best to set the baking dish on the oven rack first, place the cake pan inside, and fill with water from a kettle. You can prevent a lot of grief and potential burns this way.
  • The top of the cake never takes on much color. If you like it pale yellow (which is still pretty) you can just follow the baking instructions above. I like to turn on the broiler for about 30 seconds at the end to brown the tops. Just a matter of preference.


Tartelette said...

I love Japanese style cheesecakes and yours turned out beautiful! All your treats are mouth watering!

Christie said...

somebody was busy this weekend!!
very nice!!

Big Boys Oven said...

what a lovely light chessecake! so lite so nice to eat!