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I’m not a big fan of cakes, but I love cheesecake and strawberry shortcake. And now I’m infatuated with Japanese cheesecakes as they are so light and fluffy with a subtle cheese flavor.

I tried making strawberry shortcakes, then I tried making Japanese cheesecake. One day I decided to just put the two together and make a strawberry Japanese cheesecake.
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It took many tries to make it. In one attempt, the cake had a slightly denser texture to it (more like normal cake rather than the airy light Japanese cheesecake), another time it was too moist and didn’t rise enough because I tried it with less flour and more lemon juice and sprite. For some reason my mom and dad liked the moist one. Most of the pictures here are attempt number 3 or 4, which had the denser cake texture. I’m using pictures from two attempts, you can see that one cake was done during the day and the other at night. The night attempt is my latest and most successful attempt, but the day attempt has nicer pictures =D

I adapted the recipe from Diana’s desserts and reduced the flour amount as I find that the cake comes out lighter this way.

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Ingredients

For the Japanese cheesecake

– 140g fine granulated sugar

– 6 egg whites

– 6 egg yolks

– 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

– 50g butter

– 250g cream cheese

– 100ml fresh milk

– 40g cake flour (can also use plain flour)

– 20g corn flour

– 1/4 tsp salt

 For assembling the strawberry cheesecake

– a box of strawberries

– 2 tsp grand marnier for the strawberries

– 2 cups cold heavy cream

– 1/4 cup sugar

– 2 tsp sugar for sprinkling on strawberries

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 tsp unflavoured gelatin (I did not use it in these two attempts as the cream froze up the last time I tried.)

– Icing sugar for decoration

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven at 160°C

2. Mix the cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler. I didn’t have a double boiler so I put a big bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Smooth out the mixture and try to get rid of the lumps.

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Smoothen out the mixture as much as you can. But don’t mull over the bowl too long otherwise the mixture will start drying out.

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3. Take the bowl off the saucepan (or just turn off the double boiler) and let the mixture cool.

4. While the mixture cools, you can sieve your flour, cornflour and salt into a bowl and separate your egg yolks and egg whites. IMG_2543

5. Mix in your egg yolks into the cooled cream cheese mixture, and fold in your flour. It should look like this:

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6. Sieve the cheese/yolk mixture through a wire mesh so that you get a smoother batter.

7. Whisk your egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until foamy. Then add in the sugar and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form and the mixture can stand on its own when you scoop it up with a spoon. This could take a while, but it is essential that the white stuff has stiff peaks. Perhaps towards the last few minutes you could slow down on the speed so you won’t have lots of air bubbles in the batter. Your egg white mixture should look like this:

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8. Add the egg whites to the cheese mixture to and fold until it’s just incorporated.

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9. I lined the an 8-inch round springform cake pan/removable-bottom cake pan with some baking paper. I suppose you could also grease the inner surface of the pan but I think it’s easier to peel off the paper after baking? Make sure the baking paper is higher than the cake tin by about a couple of inches as the cake will rise while baking.

10. Fill a deep tray with hot water and place on the bottom rack in the oven. An alternate water bath if you must, and it is not so heavy and dangerous to remove both a water bath with your cheesecake in the middle of that hot water bath. One slip and you’ll have a soggy cheesecake. So tray with hot water goes on the bottom, while the cake tin takes the center rack.

11. Also I tried to “cover” the cheesecake while it’s in the oven with some paper or aluminum foil (aluminum works better just because it’s heavier and has staying power) so as to prevent the top from burning/browning too much.

12. Bake cheesecake over the water bath for 1 hour 10 mins or until set and golden brown at 160°C.

13. Leave to cool in oven with door ajar, about 1 hour. Sudden changes in temperature may cause the cake to cool too quickly and collapse. As you can tell, I’m pretty impatient so my cakes tend to deflate/collapse. I just turned them over on their heads XDIMG_8418IMG_8422 IMG_8424

The difference between sieving the cheese mixture and switching from high to low speed when mixing the egg whites can be seen in the next two photos.

This is the one where I was lazy and didn’t sieve and whisked the egg whites on high speed all the way. There are lumps and inconsistency in the cake.

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This is the successful attempt. Notice the air bubbles are smaller and the cake has more consistency?

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13. Back to assembling the cake, first, cut a few of the strawberries into nice thick slices. This will go in the middle of the cake. Sprinkle the strawberries with sugar and some grand marnier.

14. Mix the cream, vanilla extract and sugar and whisk until the cream forms stiff peaks. A lot of recipes out there call for “stabilized cream” where they add gelatin to the cream, however when I tried it the cream just froze up and became disgusting and lumpy. So I went without this time, might give it another go in the future though.

15. Slice the cake into half and lightly brush the cut surfaces with a mixture of grand marnier and sugar.

16. Spread a layer of cream onto the bottom half. Next, lightly press your strawberry slices onto the layer of cream so that it looks like the picture below. Just one layer will do, do not stack strawberry slices on top of each other as it makes the top and bottom halves of the cake susceptible to falling in separate directions when cut into slices. This way it is also prettier to photograph.

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17. Spread another layer of cream over the strawberries and top with the other half of the cheesecake.

18. Frost your cake with the cream, I do a terrible job of it so I load up the top with fruits to hide the appearance =(. I forgot the icing sugar!!! Put two or three tbsp of icing sugar into the sieve and lightly tap over the fruit topping. Gives it a nice wintery effect.

19. EAT!!!! I suggest wiping your knife, dunking it into hot water and drying it before each slice you make. It comes out so much cleaner!

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