This is a follow-up post about my earlier write-up on how to bake a Japanese Cheesecake that jiggles with a pressure cooker. I wanted to keep that post complete instructional. This post, on the other hand, is to help with troubleshooting or for any questions that come from attempting the recipe.
I have baked this cotton cheesecake so, so many times, my body goes into auto mode while making it. But to get to this degree of comfort, I’ve had to fail so, so many times. So if you do not get it the first try and you have not figured out why, don’t give up, just drop me a comment and we’ll figure it out together.
I’m splitting this into several sections: to do with ingredients, to do with method and to do with diversification of flavours.
(A) About Ingredients
1) Must I use full cream milk?
Full cream milk provides a fuller texture. I don’t know what that means either but the taste is different from when you use fresh milk. If you want to have chocolate cheesecake, use full cream chocolate milk + two tablespoons of cocoa powder.
2) Can I use cake flour instead?
I have tried using cake flour instead of all-purpose (AP) flour and plain flour. The cheesecake came out unbelievable soft but does not jiggle. It also doesn’t look nice for pictures. At times I would use 50% cake flour and 50% AP flour. You can experiment with this if you like but for your first time, go with 100% AP flour.
3) I don’t have corn flour, can I use corn starch?
Many recipes out there say that the two are the same. So far, all my cheesecake attempts use corn starch. They have not failed me yet.
4) Do I need to use that much fine sugar?
Unfortunately yes, because this is used together with the egg whites to produce the meringue. The cake itself is not sweet in particular. I have tried it with 80 g of fine sugar instead of the full 100 g. The difference is not pronounced but the cake with 100 g finishes faster for some reason.
5) I do not have cream of tartar, what can I use instead?
You can use lemon juice. Just squeeze one lemon juice worth of it. Many cheesecake recipes include lemon as flavour but for the meringue, the acidity ensures that the whipping of the egg whites produces a stable foam. During my first try, my egg whites broke apart, because I kept stopping since I had no idea how long to whip, and I did not add lemon juice or cream of tartar to stabilize it. Trust me, it’s not worth losing 5 eggs’ worth of egg whites. Just add the cream of tartar/lemon juice.
6) I do not have large eggs, can I substitute it with other sized eggs?
Of course you can, as long as the weight of the egg yolks and egg whites tally with what is mentioned in the recipe, there is no reason why this recipe can’t work. It is of course, easier, to just get the same sized eggs. But in any case, get fresh eggs. This is very important.
If you do not have enough, you need to google how to scale down your ingredients based on the number of eggs you do have. Your problem isn’t unique. Someone else probably faced the same problem and so there is probably an answer or two addressing that issue out there.
7) Do I need to use vanilla extract?
Yes, otherwise the cake will taste of egg whites and egg whites only. No matter what other flavourings you put in, add the vanilla extract.
8) Your recipe requires a lot of sifting. Are you sure it is necessary?
Truthfully, it isn’t but the taste is different if you sift diligently. And the ingredients also mix more easily if you sift.
(B) ABOUT Method
1) Does the parchment paper have to be 1 cm taller than the rim?
Well, this is what happens when you make it too tall. Here’s one of my earlier attempts.
This is the outcome.
And this is what happens when the parchment paper just covers the exact size of the baking tin. The cake rises above the parchment’s edges and them when it shrinks back down, it becomes a delicious mess.
2) What’s with the shrinking when it is time to take the cake out of the pressure cooker?
Cotton cheesecakes shrink.
To be fair, it isn’t the pressure cooker’s fault. When baked in the oven, the cotton cheesecake is baked with a water bath (or bain-marie) so that the temperature is not as high and is more conducive to the cake developing its structure. The waterbath also ensures a beautiful golden colour and that signature dome shape you see in those cotton-cheesecake-making videos.
Hence, you will find many oven recipes that ask you to tweak the baking temperature and the timing a number of times throughout the process.
One does not have this luxury when baking with a pressure cooker. It’s either Bake or no Bake. You can’t choose the temperature you want to bake with.
So the next best thing to do is to ensure a gradual decrease in temperature before taking it out of the cooker.
Once the baking is complete, opening the lid releases the hot air inside the cooker but once you close it back up and as it is still in Keep Warm mode, there is still residual warmth inside the cooker.
The temperature difference isn’t as great if you do it this way, as compared to if you had immediately taken the cheesecake out of the cooker once baking is complete.
A shrinking cheesecake is not pretty.
3) Folding is terrifying. Can I just whip it all in?
I can’t really stop you from doing that but do get back to us and share your outcome so we know if this is possible.
Any recipe that calls for whipping egg whites require you to fold your batter in slowly but firmly. You do not want to break up the mixture and if the volume is still there, then you are in the right direction.
Don’t be too gentle and under-whip though. Then it becomes a different type of mess. You will see white streaks which is just the egg whites that aren’t folded in enough. And because the volume isn’t there, well, this is what you get.
(A) Diversifying the Flavours
There are many other flavours that you can try with with a few tweaks to the recipe.
Here’s the original recipe:
- 80 g Full Cream Milk (Good Day)
- 140 g Cream Cheese (Philadelphia)
- 40 g Butter (Emborg)
- 60 g Plain Flour / All Purpose Flour (storebrand)
- 20 g Corn Flour / Corn Starch (storebrand)
- 5 large fresh eggs (weighs 58-60 gr. each with shell)
- 100 g Fine Sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
For Chocolate Cheesecake, add 2 tbsp of cocoa powder to the flour and corn starch mix. Mix well and sift. Also, switch the full cream milk to chocolate milk, same amount.
If you do not have chocolate milk, you can melt 100g of chocolate chips or baking chocolate and add that to the cream cheese and butter then follow the recipe as normal.
For Marble Cheesecake, once you have completed the folding stage, separate the outcome into two bowls. Sift 1.5 tbsp of cocoa powder into one bowl, and fold it in.
Next, using two ladles or spoons put one spoonful of each of the batter into the middle of the pot/pan, alternating between the two, so you get concentric circles of white and chocolate rings. Repeat this until you have used up both batters.
Alternatively you can put the batters into two separate piping bags, then pipe them in, in an alternating manner. This will give you better control of the circles.
Or if you aren’t into circles, just google “marbling technique” to find out how others do it.
Add 3 tsp orange flavouring together with the vanilla extract. Follow the recipe as normal. For this one you need to keep the cheesecake in the fridge for 24 hours for the flavour to develop. Trust me on this one. The longer you keep it in the fridge, the more flavourful it gets.
Sift 1-2 tbsp coffee powder together with the flour. That’s it. Follow the rest of the recipe as normal. Adjust the coffee powder you put in according to your taste and the strength of your coffee.
Yeah, this is not my area of expertise but I have seen cotton cheesecakes with icing on top, icing done with special stencil designs, a logo burned into the top of the cheesecake, glazed at the top with apricot jam, topped with strawberries, blueberries or raspberries on top with a layer of scattered icing, topped with mango slices etc. It is up to you to decide what you want on top of your cheesecake.
And thats it. I will be updating this post with new materials as they come. I hope you will give this Japanese Cheesecake recipe a try or share the recipe with someone who might like to give it a go. Good luck!