Try this Japanese Cheesecake or Cotton Cheesecake recipe for a super fluffy, light-as-air cheesecake you will ever make. Add some fresh berries to make it pretty and ready for any special occasions.
What is Japanese Cheesecake?
It is fluffy, it is jiggly and it is yummy!
Japanese cheesecake or also known as cotton cake, Japanese souffle cake or pillow cake is a kind of sponge cake where the egg whites are whipped into a meringue and then added to the cream cheese-egg yolk batter to create a fluffy texture. The cake is then baked in bain marie or a hot water bath that makes it moist and jiggly.
It has fewer calories per serving than a regular cheesecake as it contains less sugar and cheese.
It took me a while to write about this beautiful and heavenly Japanese Cheesecake. The reason for that is, I had to do it three times to get it picture-ready for my blog, but I am not complaining at all, neither is Armin from the looks of it. He was actually the one urging me to make a "better" one and then another. Although the first two Japanese cheesecakes I made were not picture perfect, they were still delicious.
It was only that my first one came up nice after baking but once it cooled down it turned wrinkled at the top. The second one was firmer and nice all throughout even after chilling but it had a big crack on one side separating the top brown part from the rest of the cake, which of course looked weird.
But after reading a lot of different Japanese Cheesecake recipes and my multiple attempts, (I think) I know now why I failed the first two times.
With all the three cakes I made, I only used the same recipe that my most beautiful sis-in-law, ate Mia, gave me (do not worry that I hurt anybody else's feeling with my superlative comment as she is the only sis-in-law I have).
The secret for making the perfect Japanese Cheesecake
So I knew that it has to be the technique I was using that was causing all the problems. At both times I might have over-beaten my egg whites. This caused the cake to rise too much and with the first cake. The which I baked at 160°C for about 30 minutes then lower the temperature to 140°C because I thought it was already too hot, it made the cake rise then deflate, thus, the wrinkled surface.
As for the second cake, which I baked at 200°C for 15 minutes and lowering again to 150°C for another 50 minutes, it did not have wrinkles but cracked instead.
So I, therefore, conclude, that over-beating the meringue and baking the Japanese cheesecake at a temperature that is too low or too high and too long will result to a not so good looking but still delectable cakes.
For the third cake (this one in the pictures), I beat the egg whites at only medium-high speed (never use high speed) until almost reaching soft peaks and stop there and baked the cheesecake at 200°C for 15 minutes then 150°C for another 15 minutes then turning off the oven and leave it there for another 30 minutes with the oven door closed and another 10 minutes with door open.
Below is a visual to show the stages of beating egg whites to make a meringue. Remember, we only want to get to the 3rd stage, the soft peaks.
The result... a perfect dome with no wrinkles nor cracks. With this technique, the cake did rise but not as much as the first two times. Which is good...or bad...depending on how you like it I guess... I like to have the Japanese Cheesecake while it is still slightly warm. But it is equally good when chilled for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- 10 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 5 large eggs - white and yolks separated
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
- ¼ cup sugar
- Line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch round pan or springform with parchment paper. Wrap the pan with 2 sheets of aluminum foil (no need if using aluminum pan) sealing it completely.
- Fill a larger pan halfway with water. Place it the lowest rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 150°C.
- Combine the cream cheese and butter in a big microwave safe bowl. Warm it in the microwave until it melts. Add ¼ cup sugar and mix well until mixture is smooth.
- Using a whisk, add the milk and lemon juice and mix. Add the yolks one a time while mixing. Sift the flour and cornstarch while gradually adding them to the mixture and mix until well combined and smooth. Sieve the mixture if needed to get rid of lumps.
- Beat the egg whites at low speed for 2 minutes, add the cream of tartar if using and increase speed to medium-low and beat until foamy. Gradually add ¼ cup sugar while beating for another 30 seconds then turn speed to medium-high and beat until almost soft peaks forms.
- Using the whisk, fold in the meringue into the cream cheese mixture in three parts until well combined.
- Pour the batter into the lined pan. Tap the pan on the kitchen or tabletop to remove the bubbles. Place the pan into the water bath and bake at 200°C for 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 150°C and bake for another 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the pan in the water bath inside with the door closed for another 30 minutes then another 10 minutes with door open.
Mercy nacion says
I'm interested to cook the recipe very delicious
The most elegant, exquisite fluffy, heavenly, low carb ever recipe
This recipe is superb! 🤗😍👍🏼 Tried it for the first time & it’s a success! Thank you! ❤️
I wanted a lemon flavor. Could I add lemon extract either in addition or instead of lemon juice? And gluten free flour?
Sure you can, Nancy.
Bernadette Rom-Arjona says
Hi Ms. Bebs,
I just wanted to confirm, you preheated your oven at 150C then you increase the temperature to 200C when you started baking the japanese cheesecake is that correct?
Planning to bake this for my birthday. Thank you.
Yes, that is correct.
ienne diloy says
I just want to make sure that the oven temps in the recipe is in celcius and not Fahrenheit. I only know my oven to set at Fahrenheit Temps and it does in increments of 5. If i convert 200c to Fahrenheit, it's 392F. Please advise
You can round off to 400F.
Hi Bebs!I will make this Sunday, can I use a 9 inch round pan instead of an 8 inch round pan?If yes, should, should I reduce baking time?Many thanks!
Sure you can, it may not be as high dough and you may need to shorten baking time by some minutes.
I have read this through and through including all the comments, but can’t find an answer. What size pan should I be starting with?
Hi Asuka, it is there mentioned in instruction 1: "8 inch round pan or spring form"
I have a fan oven - it also has a baking setting I think for improving moisture. Do I need to adjust your temperatures given for a fan oven?
Fan ovens normally become hotter than conventional oven so you might need to lower your temperature.
Jennifer Cruz says
Just checking if i read it right, I will preheat the oven at 150C but then ill bake it at 200C?
Or should it be preheat at 200C and bake at 200C? Then lower to 150C after 15 mins of baking?
Follow it as it is written in the recipe. The initial 150C is for the water bath preparation.
Princess Rojano-Natividad says
hi! new baker here. My baking pan is 7" round. What adjustment can you suggest po?
Should work fine as long as it is high enough.
Great recipe! I did use vanilla extract instead of lemon. Turned out really good!
Gald you like it, Annie.
Salamat for sharing your knowledge, I learned a lot from your cooking and baking tips. I have made this yesterday and it was a great success for first try. (I wish I can send the photo.) Marami na akong na try sa mga recipes mo and it always turns out great.
Hey, Lorilyn! That is great to hear that you are loving our recipe! You can send the photos to our email or tag us in IG or FB..
I have made this twice and it's gotten rave reviews both times! It turns out wonderfully soft, and not too sweet. Thank you!
That is awesome! Thanks for the perfect score too!
I followed step by step but came out underbaked? 🙁
Hi Jo, oven work differently and you just have to adjust either the baking time or the temperature or both until you find what works for you.
I tried it today and it was perfect..No cracks on the surface, moist at the bottom and the rest was fluffy. I used a spatula instead of a whisk when folding meringue into batter.
However, my husband thinks that the it was a bit too "lemoney"
Is it possible to replace lemon with orange?
If yes, how much orange shall it be?
Oh yes, orange zest sounds great...
I make all the recipe exactly
But didn’t raise
And it doesn’t become brown from top
So I keep it more extra time
Hello, can i make the jiggly cake without cream cheese?
Then try our souffle pancake. Same technique but without cream cheese.
Hariz l says
Just tried your recipe. So far, yours is the one that called for the least amount of eggs and just right for me. It is Eid this Sunday (Muslim holiday). I hope I can make one more and impress my family. Just to let you know that your recipe is halogen oven friendly. Thanks.
Wow! Thanks for your very nice comment and for the helpful info you shared.
Hi, if I am using extra large eggs (weigh approx. 70gm each), how many eggs should I use in this recipe please?
Use 4 of them..
Macrene Cadenenas says
hello i would like to try this recipe.. But what if i dont have cornstarch? what would be a great substitute? thanks
The cornstarch is actually added to the all-purpose flour to make cake flour. So if you can get cake flour then use that instead to replace both.
Quy Nhi Cap says
Hi! So if I have cake flour, should it still use
1/4 cup of cake flour?
Hi there! Just baked and I’ve tried various recipes of this type of cheesecake. Everytime I make one the bottom quarter inch isn’t fluffy.. it’s almost a dense layer. I can’t figure out why this is happening! Any suggestions?
Hi Hayley, I think it is normal that the bottom part would be denser than the top since the meringue will float leaving the more liquid part at the bottom.
hi bebs =)
You mentioned earlier that mixer should be on medium speed. Is it possible to make this cake with a single electric mixer that only has 2 speed option? First option is pulse, while second option is high speed. Btw, thank you for sharing great tips on baking. =)
hi bebs =)
is this cake possible with a single electric mixer that only has 2 options of speed.. First one is, pulse, then the second is regular high speed.
If it ain't possible, then I'm doing your chiffon cake recipe.
Btw, thank you for your detailed tips =) Your pandesal and eggpie recipe are a sure winner at potluck parties! =)
Hi Kris, glad you like our recipes. The problem with using high speed is that it sometimes results in meringue that deflates when cooked. You can still try it, of course.
After I cooked the cake the outside was lovely but the inside still not cooked enough. I then put my cake back into the oven for around 30mins @ 140 degrees (C). It then cooked but I had 2 problems:
1. the cake didn't raise at all but I'm guessing it was because I didn't use any cream of tartar.
2. the cake split meaning the bottom half was egg-y hard and only the top was airy and fluffy. This could be because my oven only works on grill/fan force meaning the outside cooks and the inside sometimes doesn't.
However the cake was was still yummy when eaten all together.
I will try again an other time and hopefully it turns out better 🙂
Hi Bebs. I made the cake last night and followed baking procedure to the letter. Looked good in the outside but when I cut it, the inside was not cooked, although it tasted very good. So i put in ref overnight hoping it will come together. This morning, checked again and still not put together. So i put it back using a toaster oven this time (to save on electricity) baked it at 330f for 1 hour and checking every 15 minutes. Only then did it cook. Of course it cracked too since heating element was close. So now we are enjoying it very much. I just checked several recipes and saw that all had long baking time at various temps.
Hi Barang, glad that you like the recipe. Sorry that it was not perfect on your first try. Yes, you are right that different recipes would give different baking time and temperature since not all oven works the same way. You have to learn how it will work on your own oven. Try to use a bigger pan so that it will not rise too high and the center will cook more evenly.
I will be trying to bake cheesecake for a party of 100 pax. Is it possible to bake into a cupcake. What temperature and time should I used. As for the over, can i used the same temperature for fan assisted oven. Looking forward to baking this cheesecake.
Hi CT, cupcakes are smaller so normally they will require shorter baking time than a cake. And with a fan-assisted oven, they normally bake faster because so you have to lower the temperature or the tops will burn before the cupcake is completely baked.
Mine didn't rise .....what should I do
Hi Noor, try to beat your egg whites a little longer until it forms soft peaks, read this post as a guide.
Perla Lanuza says
Need to learn your recipes thanks
This is an awaited bread and SOOO easy to make. It’s an excellent option to substitute for store bought bread. I will definitely be making this again
Hi, Bebs! First time making this recipe & it turned out well. I used low fat cream cheese & still tasted lovely, not too sweet.Husband & kids loved it. Brilliant recipe!
Many thanks again.
That is absolutely great, Dee. I should add that to the recipe notes for those who want to use low-fat cream cheese. Thanks for sharing.
I vouch for Kaiser springform pan. No leaks, no seepage. Just Perfect.
So this recipe tastes good no matter what happens. My only problem is keeping it raised. It always falls after taking out of the oven (after that last 10 minutes with the door open). I tried one suggestion to leave it with door open for an hour. That fell too. Any thoughts.
Hi Kayla, this usually happens when the egg whites are beaten too fast and too much. Try a lower speed than you used. It will take longer but it will give a more stable meringue. Also, try not to overbeat. Stop when you just reached soft peaks.
Tracy Brown says
Mine never raised ??
I am sorry to hear that Tracy. The only reasons I can think of is that the egg whites were not beaten correctly to make a stable meringue or it was over mixed when added to the egg yolk batter so it caused the meringue to deflate and prevent it from raising.
Pammi sharma says
Is it 200 and 150 C or F??
Hi Jay, that is in C...
Hi. I want to make a smaller cake, can I reduce all the ingredients into half?? Thanks 🙂
Hi KC, this recipe makes a medium cake, not so big maybe good for 4 to 6 people. But if you really need a smaller one then go ahead...
When you say sugar, what type of sugar are you using? I have seen these recipes call for different types, so I wanted to ask.
Hi Morgan, I used regular white granulated sugar.
Hello! I find your recipe interesting since you are using all-purpose flour for the japanese cheesecake instead of cake flour like most of the other recipes have. Now I feel relieved that I do not have to buy cake flour in making a japanese cheesecake. ???? Though I feel hesistant when it comes to that 'folding' part of the batter.
(I think you should have a Youtube channel. ????)
Hi Ana, I do have a youtube channel but sad to admit it is not updated for the last 2 months now because of the time constraint with all the prep and actual move from Germany to the Philippines. But hopefully, soon we will upload new videos, including the Japanese Cheesecake! ???? Link to our channel is https://www.youtube.com/c/FoxyFolksyM1005.
The cake rose but then had cracks on the side and then eventually flopped to about half the height (about 3 in.). Texture is nice--very light and airy and it's not too sweet. I just need to work on the aesthetics of the cake.
Hi Michelle, Yup, sometimes you have to get to know your oven a bit better to know how it works. Also, it could be that the egg whites are over beaten.
Janice Munoz says
Hello.Bebs... please kindly give me information on my (Japanese Cheesecake.)
For some reason. My cake is like dougy???
Not cook on the buttom..
What am I doing wrong???
Please help me out...
I attemp on making the cheesecake like 3times..all 3times it came out the same
It did not formed ...like doughy
The top protion of cheesecake raise but the buttom part of cake was my problem...
Love too.try making this cheesecake...
Hi Janice, could it be it has something to do with the oven you are using? Are you using top and bottom heat and not only from top? I am also a bit confused when you say it is doughy since it was never a dough to start with. It is more like an airy batter for a cake. The texture when baked should be like a very light cheesecake and is very moist. So, I would say, try checking your oven if the heat is distributed evenly (top and bottom). Maybe you should also see if the temperature is correct. Hope that helps. ????
It looks amazing! So pretty and a different technique to the ones I'm used to. I'd be quite happy to make this three times to get it looking right though as I am a complete cheesecake addict as far as eating them goes.
Prashant Shukla says
Definitely going to make your Japanese Cheese Cake. Looks so delicious Bebs!
Hi Prashant, it is delicious as it look! Enjoy ????
Hi is there a substitute for cornstarch in this Japanese cheesecake recipe?
I haven't tried substituting the cornstarch in this recipe myself, but maybe you can try to use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour and omit the cornstarch.
Ok thank you I will try that!
I followed this recipe to the TV and it was still liquidy after baking. Should the oven have been preheated to 350 then lowered to 200 once we put it in the water pan?
Hi Heather... I only preheated the oven with the pan with water for water bath at 150°C not 350°. Then increased to 200°C when the pan with batter is placed inside the water bath. Also check that the pan where you put your batter is completely sealed or else the water might seep in. Perform the toothpick test before turning off your oven, if it does not come out clean yet then bake a bit longer until it does.
Very yummy recipe...very nice blog, like to read and improve my english with your recipes! Thank you...
Hallo Nelli, thanks for commenting and I do hope this blog helps you with your English! 🙂
What is normally the low and medium speed when you beat the eggs on the hand or stand mixer?
Hi Theresa, I usually use my stand mixer (with 7 level speed) to make meringue because I find the elec. hand mixer beats too fast. I start at level 2 then gradually adding speed with level 5 as the highest until it forms soft peaks.
Do you actually melt the cream cheese and butter, or just warm it?
Yes they should be melted. But avoid heating too much or wait that it is no longer too hot before adding the egg yolks...