This Japanese cotton cake recipe, also known as Japanese souffle cheesecake is one recipe that I had to try a couple of times before I could perfect the cake. Unlike other baked cheesecakes, this jiggly and fluffy cheesecake is very light and spongy, somewhat a combination of a cheesecake and a sponge cake. The texture is very soft and spongy and hence the name for this cake, i.e. cotton cheesecake. Some even call this cake a fluffy jiggly cheesecake, which is very befitting for this cake!
Japanese Cotton Cake - Japanese Soufflé Cheesecake
Having made this jiggly cotton cheesecake a good number of times now, I have come to learn that, while mixing the batter is not much of an issue, the oven setting (temperature and rack position) and the way in which this Japanese cheesecake is cooled play a crucial role in how it turns out.
How to Make a Fluffy and Jiggly Japanese Cotton Cake
These are the ingredients that go into this fluffy Japanese cotton cake:
- Cream cheese
- Egg yolks
- Lemon juice
- Plain flour
- Corn flour
- Egg whites
- Castor sugar
- Cream of tartar
Though the list looks pretty long, the ingredients are pretty common ones, nevertheless.
How to mix the Japanese cotton cake batter
Mixing the batter for Japanese Cotton Cake
- The fluffy and jiggly texture of this Japanese cotton cake is contributed by the way the batter is mixed, i.e. in 2 parts. The first part is melting the cheese and butter with milk (over a double boiler) and then whisking the egg yolks and lemon juice to it to form a smooth and creamy mixture.
- The second part is whipping the egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar until stiff.
- These 2 parts are then folded in to produce the light cake batter.
- The batter is poured into a well-lined cake tin and baked in a water bath.
- With a spring-bottom cake pan, placing it directly in a pan filled with water (for the water bath) will result in water seeping into the batter from the bottom. To avoid that, most people would wrap their cake tins with foil before placing them into the water-filled pan. I chose not to wrap my cake tin with foil. Instead, I placed my cake tin in a slightly larger cake tin and placed both into the water bath. This way, water will never seep into my cake. And I save the hassle of having to wrap the foil around my cake tin.
- Once the Japanese cotton cake is completely cooled down (see my recipe card below for detailed instructions on how to cool the cake to avoid the cake from sinking), it is ready to be decorated and served.
How to Decorate a Japanese Cotton Cake (Japanese Soufflé Cake)
This is a super simple decorating idea for a cotton cake.
Decorating the Japanese Cotton Cake
- Start by placing the cheesecake onto a serving plate and place a doily on the cake. It is best to use a doily that is the same size as the cake.
- Use a sieve to sift a layer of icing sugar on the doily. Make sure to cover the entire cake top. Also, make sure the doily does not move as you sift the icing sugar on.
- Once done, remove the doily off the cake top very carefully. Make sure none of the icing sugar on the doily drops on the cake top. And you will get a lovely icing sugar lace pattern on your Japanese cotton cake.
- You can add some fruits or even fruit filings to the cake if you wish. Otherwise, serving it plain with a simple icing sugar dredge is perfect for this lovely, fluffy, jiggly Japanese souffle cheesecake.
Baking this soft and fluffy cotton cake can be a little daunting for some people. The most common issues are cracked tops or cakes that rise so well in the oven but totally collapse once they are out of the oven.
I have had my fair share of failures for this delicate Japanese cotton cake, and after many rounds of trials and errors, I have come to learn that the following factors play an important role in how a Japanese cotton cake turns out.
- A water bath or bain-marie is a process of baking by placing the cake tin in a baking dish filled with water in the oven. The water will help keep the interior of the oven moist, preventing cakes from drying out as they cook and potentially avoids cracks (especially for cheesecakes).
- When using a spring-form pan, to avoid water from the baking dish seeping into the cake, you can wrap the sides of your pan securely with foil and then place it in the water-filled baking dish.
- The other way is to place your springform tin in another slightly larger baking tray and then place both in the water-filled baking dish. This will also prevent the water from seeping into the cake as it is baking.
- This cotton cake requires the oven temperature to be adjusted halfway through baking, just like some fruit cakes.
- You start with a slightly lower than normal baking temperature at about 140 degrees Celsius (284 degrees F) for 15 minutes and then you lower the temperature to 125 degrees Celsius (260 degrees F) for another 55 minutes.
- The baking time is also generally longer compared to normal cakes but you will notice that the temperature is much lower than other cakes.
Oven rack position
- The position in which you place this cake in the oven also plays an important role. Ideally, the rack position for this cake should be the lowest in your oven. This is to avoid the top of the cake from browning too much.
Moisture in the oven during baking
- Similar to cheesecakes, the Japanese cotton cake must be baked in a water bath. This is to help retain moisture in the oven and this helps the cake remain moist after baking.
This cotton cake must be gradually cooled off
- Once the cake is baked, turn off the oven, but leave the cake in the oven for a good 10 minutes. After that, open the oven door slightly and continue to let the cake cool in the warm oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Only after that should the cake be removed and cooled at room temperature. This gradual cooling off is to avoid the cake top from wrinkles due to sudden changes in temperature.
In a nutshell, since too much heat will cause the cheesecake top to crack, the baking temperature is lowered. And because of the lower temperature, the cake generally takes a longer time to cook. To counter the effect of the cake drying out due to longer baking time, a water bath is required.
Japanese Cotton Cake Recipe
Here is the full, printable version of my soft and fluffy Japanese cotton cake recipe. And while you are at it, do remember to check out my recipe notes right above. They are absolutely useful in getting this cotton cake all light and fluffy as it should be.
Japanese Cotton Cake (Japanese Souffle Cheesecake)
- 80 g cream cheese at room temperature
- 20 g butter
- 30 ml milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 15 g plain flour
- 15 g corn flour
- 2 egg whites
- 50 g castor sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 140°Celsius. Line the sides and bottom of a 6 inches round cake tin with parchment paper. Prepare water bath by filling a larger than 6 inches round cake tin or tray with hot water until the water reaches a height of about 4 to 5 cm. Place the tray in the oven to keep the water hot.
- In a double boiler, melt the cream cheese, butter and milk and stir until the ingredients are well combined and smooth. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and lemon juice to break the yolks and add it to the cream cheese – butter mixture. Whisk until smooth.
- Sift in the plain flour and corn flour and fold until the flours are all well incorporated.
- In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Add the sugar in two parts and continue to whisk the egg whites until it reaches a soft peak stage.
- Drop a spoonful of the whisked egg whites into the cheese-egg yolks mixture and fold it in until well incorporated. Carefully pour the remaining egg whites and continue to fold until all the egg whites have been fully incorporated and there are no more traces of egg whites visible.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin, level the top, and tap the tin on the countertop a couple of times to remove any air bubbles.
- Place the cake tin in the water bath and bake at 140°Celsius for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 125°Celsius and continue baking for another 55 minutes. Once the cake is done, turn off the oven but leave the cake in the oven for 10 minutes. Continue to leave the cake to cool in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes with the oven door ajar before removing the cake out of the oven. Turn the cake out of the cake tin and let it cool to room temperature.
- The cake can be served plain or with a light dust of icing sugar. Keep leftovers refrigerated.
It is best to use a digital kitchen scale to measure these especially the plain flour and cornflour, but if you do not have a digital scale, simply scale the recipe up. Double the recipe and bake in an 8 inches round cake tin or triple it and bake in a 9 inches round cake tin.
And that’s my fluffy Japanese cotton cheesecake recipe for you.
Light and Fluffy Japanese Cotton Cake
Happy baking 🙂 🙂
Here are my other recipes you might want to check out: