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Friday, March 12, 2010
The failure from 2nd bake.... the only photo taken in daylight with the DSLR.
Japanese Cheesecake has a souffle like texture which is discernibly different from the heavier American cheesecakes. The recipe is readily available. At least 3 recipe books on my book shelf carry a recipe for the Japanese Cheesecake. There are some slight variations among them but in a nutshell, this cake requires one to melt the cream cheese and butter over a Bain Marie. Egg whites are beaten separately to get an airy meringue and added to the rest of the ingredients. The batter is then baked gently in a water bath.
I think every avid Asian baker in the blogosphere would have made this at one time or another. I, however, have never made this cake and when I saw the recipe, I thought it would be a piece of cake for I am quite comfortable at baking chiffon cakes. Well, as it always happens when I get over confident, I have to be humbled by repeated failures.
I first approached it like I would with the chiffon cake - the cake, though tasted good, split at the surface like an overzealous Huat Kuay - only this time, I didn't want to 'Huat' !
2nd attempt, I beat the egg white gingerly, unsure of when to stop. In the end, I think I stopped beating the egg white too soon, ending up with a rather 'wet' mixture - the cake was soggy and 'uncooked'.
Finally, 3rd attempt I decided to take a couple more precautions. I premixed the flour with the egg yolk and part of the liquid in order to avoid too much folding which could trap air bubbles - causing it to split again.
And I tried my best to identify the right end point in the egg white beating.
This time, the cake did not split and appear to be decently cooked. Though I think I can still afford to beat the egg white a little more to get a more airy texture.
In addition to getting the cake right, I was also looking forward to play with the Nikon DSLR which my friend, Michelle had generously lend to me to experiment. I am trying to compare the difference in picture quality with my own compact camera. The first thing I noticed is that the exposure appears to be more true with the DSLR. With my compact camera, it has always been a hit or miss with the exposure - even when the metering appears right, the exposure tends to appear harsher. The DSLR has a softer more natural finish. I took all the slices at night with artificial light, without exposure compensation on the camera.Suprisingly, they look... pretty decent - I didn't even have to tweak the exposure or colour intensity with photoshop. I don't know if this is for real or just fluke but I am not going to run out and buy a DSLR just yet, that's for sure. I will continue to play some more with the DSLR and see if I can get more consistent results.
125g Cream cheese
25g Unsalted butter
3 Egg yolks
30g Pastry flour
10g Corn flour
1 tbsp Coffee Extract
3 Egg white
1/8 tsp Cream of tartar
1. Preheat oven to 160C.
2. Over a Bain Marie, melt cream cheese, butter and milk to get a smooth, creamy consistency. Leave to cool. Tip 1: mix with a spatula. Do not use a whisk.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolk with a hand whisk lightly, add milk and flour/corn flour/ salt. Add in coffee extract. Add in 2 and mix well with a spatula.
4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk egg white until foamy. Add the sugar/cream of tartar to the egg white in 2 additions. Beat egg white until soft peaks are acheived. I beat until the peaks were droopy when the whisk is inverted. Do not over beat unless you are looking for a split cake.
5. Mix 1/3 of meringue with the egg yolk/cheese batter. Fold the rest of the meringue into the batter.
6. Pour into a greased baking tin lined with parchment paper at the bottom of the tin.
7, Bake the cake in a water bath at 160C for 50mins. (water level should be around 2inch deep)