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Friday, March 12, 2010

Japanese Cheesecake - Coffee Flavour

Japanese Cheese Cake

Japanese Cheese Cake 1

Japanese Cheese Cake

Japanese Cheesecake
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.

Japanese Cheese Cake

Recipe :

125g       Cream cheese
25g         Unsalted butter
25g         Milk

3             Egg yolks
25g         Milk
30g         Pastry flour
10g         Corn flour
1/8tsp     Salt
1 tbsp     Coffee Extract

3             Egg white
1/8 tsp    Cream of tartar
70g         Sugar

Method :

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)


La Table De Nana said...

I love your line about making it being a piece of cake:) Then the shapes..and the board and fork!
It looks moist and good and reminds me very much of Ju's cakes..

I even have Pandan here that's how much you girls inspire me..

It's funny..all cameras are different sometimes I get a better photo non DSLR and no Photoshop..other times..the opposite..One thing for certain..there needs to be a miracle camera one day that takes night shots to look like best daylight:) At least here.

It's fun playing w/ cameras:) I am told lenses make huge differences too.I have basics except for one.

taz said...

Wow, this looks fascinating. I've never seen, let alone heard, of a cheese cake like this one. Thanks for introducing me to something new!

tigerfish said...

The color looks light - like the original. I would not have guessed it is coffee flavor :)

You are very patient when it comes to baking.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Monique, I can understand what you are saying- that's why I am restraining myself- it is easier to think that I can take better pictures if I have a better camera-in reality, that is not always true. The problem with this DSLR is, I can't take really close, close up. I think to do that, a Macro lens is required.Hence, once started, there shall be no end to it....:(

Hello Tiger! Yes, the colour looks light because I only used coffee extract to experiment. Coffee goes very well with the cheese... next time I will try to make some concentrated liquid coffee- hopefully that will give it some colour.

MsMoon said...

Shirley, how do you know the cake failed? By the looks or by taste? The successful one looks very pro, just like the one sold in the B bakery.. haha... the failed one just looked a bit wrinkled... you are really patient to try making something three times! ^^

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Ms Moon... I am not patient, just 不甘心 :D... The 2nd bake did not split but the cake is too soggy- Actually, once demold you can tell. But I took the photo anyway but when I cut it up, I knew I had to redo it.

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

The cake looks GORGEOUS! I love making and eating this cake. I even made this for my son's 1st birthday. :) FYI, I have baked it w/o the water bath, just placed a small bowl of water in the oven and it worked out fine too. Funny you mentioned the DSLR. It's my most coveted item at this moment but it's just a lot of money to pay for something I don't need. But Shirley, even w/o a DSLR, your shots are beautiful.

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Oh, and I forgot to tell you, I LOL-ed when you said you didn't want the cake to 'huat'! ;)

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Ju, yes, I believe this is your kind of cake. Will have to check out yours later. It is quite exciting cake to demould - it looks so light and wobbly - almost like jello!

And I know what you mean about paying for the DSLR - I have visited the counter countless time but still have not felt generous enough to part with the money... there is a difference in the pictures. Compacts will always have its limitations. We'll see. I will play with my friend's camera for a while to make sure.

Zurin said...

your fotos are beautiful even without DSLR. I have one and ive been pining for a macro lens for so long but im just not willing ot spend that much money...unless some one next to me gvs me a present..ahem...

its just too much money to invest...but I love fotography esp outdoors....

but ive been very restraint in splurging on the camera.

im also too lazy too experiment on night shots....just too much trouble....ill do my work in the day tq..hehe

ur cake looks fabulous...i hv a recipe too but seldom make it because too many steps involved...but it taste like heaven...urs looks delicious!!

Kitchen Corner said...

Very nice soft cheesecake you got there! I didn't see any failure on your 2nd attempt, I believe they still taste really good! I like Japanese soft cheesecake too!

Anonymous said...

Love the shape and the texture of your cheesecake!

WendyinKK said...

Looks storebought!!

I haven't baked this cake yet... not yet..
Maybe one day, one day.. which day?

WendyinKK said...

Oh yes,
I think I'm the only on the blogosphere pushing my hubby to get me a point and shoot instead of using his DSLR, macro lens, F lens, 60mm bla bla bla.. they are all at home!! But, I know *zip* about them. I just point and shoot with those only and gambling each time with each picture.
Getting a DSLR don't guarantee perfect pictures unless u understand all the functions and all the technicalities. I have friends who keep on upgrading their cameras, from a Canon 450D to 500D to 7D, blaming the thing for their not so pretty cameras, and when u ask them what aperture they used or what.. they go *blank*. I will also go *blank*.

You pictures are already very good without DSLR. My husband said, usually the point and shoot stuff are already preprogrammed to give the best shots, especially if u want the whole picture to be clear. With DSLR, I have the problem of too focused pics with too blur backgrounds. Maybe I just don't know how to handle it yet.

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

Me like Ju, even w/o a DSLR, your shots are so good, dont worry. I also like this cheese cake, and I have made few fruit flavours.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Thanks, Wendy, Sonia -that is what I fear as well,changing the camera may not necessarily allow you to take better pictures. I used to be quite an avid photographer with the non-digital SLR, hence I am not intimidated by the technicalities. My concern is how much better will I get for spending that kind of money. I know I will be too lazy to travel with the DSLR - so that's why I have stuck with my compact.

Sonia- I just checked out your cheesecake - I am glad to know that I am not alone with the cracking problem... I am a little obsessed now. I have just baked a chocolate version and will photograph tomorrow :)

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Thanks, Wendy, Sonia -that is what I fear as well,changing the camera may not necessarily allow you to take better pictures. I used to be quite an avid photographer with the non-digital SLR, hence I am not intimidated by the technicalities. My concern is how much better will I get for spending that kind of money. I know I will be too lazy to travel with the DSLR - so that's why I have stuck with my compact.

Sonia- I just checked out your cheesecake - I am glad to know that I am not alone with the cracking problem... I am a little obsessed now. I have just baked a chocolate version and will photograph tomorrow :)

Irene's Footprints said...

Hi Shirley

When I baked my Japanese Chiffon Cheesecake, it huat. In fact, it is good that it huat..means lots of air. When the cheesecake is cooled down completely, the "huat" lines gap will close together. Nobody will know that it was "huat" before :P

Just want to share something I have learnt for this wonderful cake.

Noticed that there are some egg yolks spots on the sides on the cake. Could this be due to your step 2? Try using a balloon whisk to give it a quick stir to dissolve the yolk particles.

You actually used the bain marie to do the cheese while I cooked it over real low fire in a small pot, using a woooden spoon and stiring it over 15 minutes till the cream cheese melted into a smooth paste.

Another trick you may want to try, before adding the flour and salt to your egg yolk mixture, use the balloon whisk to give the sieved flour and salt (in a separate bowl) a one minute whisk.

You can try these tips...and guarantee nice cheesecake thereafter.

Hope you will try it out....and post more pictures!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Brilliant job! :D My first attempt didn't work and I was a bit frustrated (although I have to say the failure was delicious too :P). But your final one-it's perfection Shirley!

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Thanks, Irene for your tips. I will try them out the next time.

Cooking Rookie said...

I love this recipe - the cake looks so soft and delicate.. I'm keeping this to try!

thepastrykook said...

i can't wait to make this! my brother's birthday is coming in may and even though he gets on my nerves 24/7 i'm gonna try it (he loooves this).

Angie's Recipes said...

I have at least baked this one 5 times....mmm...they are just good, too good to miss in life.

Irene's Footprints said...

Hi Shirley
Forgot to mention, try whipping your whites to stiff and don't grease the baking tin, just line the bottom. The cake will rise high up....once cooked, it won't be that wobbly.

Try it, dear.

: ))

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Irene, thanks. The way you've described it sounds very much like making a chiffon cake. I will experiment when I get back from my business trip.

Bea Roque said...

Hi, I just found your blog today!! Congratulations on it!!!

I am just about to make this delicious looking Japanese Cheesecake but I have a question if you do not mind me asking.. What size baking tin have you used, and also the approximate baking time in the oven.

Thank you!!!


Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hi Bea, the oval shaped mold I was using is about 20cm long x 5cm deep. This recipe will make one oval mold and will still have enough left over for a small ramekin. I baked it for 50mins. Depending on your oven, you may need to tweak the baking time.

thecoffeesnob said...

I'm not a fan of cheesecakes- Japanese, American or otherwise but this looks really good!

You had me taking a second look at the photos when you mentioned they were taken under artificial lighting- I couldn't tell at all!

MaryMoh said...

Wow....looks very moist and delicious. I would love to make this. Thanks for sharing.

M. said...

one would never guess this cheesecake is coffee flavor...but don't judge a cake by it's color ;)
it looks perfect.

Jasmeen said...

hi there, did i overlook or you didn't specify how long to bake the cheesecake for? you stopped at step. 6 which says to pour it into a tin lined with parchment paper and thats it.

Anonymous said...

I'm half Japanese but I live in Austria and I miss this type of light cake (there are great cakes here of course but they're very heavy)so I might just have to make my own, thanks for the recipe!

Von said...

Wow! The cake looks so soft! I've never tried making japanese cheesecake before, although it's always been somewhere on my list of things to bake- it seems sorta hard though! Yours looks delicious!

Maria said...

I just found this recipe on your blog and I just wanted to say it looks fantastic! So moist and perfect! I would love the coffee flavour in this cake too, so I think I must try making this myself! Thankyou for sharing!

Steph said...

Hi! where did you buy your oval baking tin?

c'biok said...

hope to try this soon =)


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