Japanese Cotton Cheesecake / by Molly Brodak

Imagine cheesecake made into some kind of tender, otherworldly cotton candy and you might be close to imagining the game-changing texture of this cheesecake. It's a souffle cake for sure, with plenty of eggs and just a little flour--but its also something else, something unique.

I was never a big fan of cheesecake, because texture-wise they come off as either solid hunks of sugary cream cheese (the unbaked type) or dry sponges (the baked variety). In fact I clearly remember a few years ago deciding that I would never eat cheesecake again--saying it aloud even, "I will never eat cheesecake again," simply because it was never worth the calories.

But then, this happened.

I found some recipes for a Japanese style cheesecake on various Asian food bloggers' sites which promised to be light and moist. Several failures and several adjustments later, my special little recipe for a world-ending cheesecake came into being.

And like all special desserts, this one requires a bit of prep. You have to make some caster sugar (no substitute--and buying it is financially reckless imho) and prepare a cheesecake pan for the water bath by wrapping it numerous times in heavy-duty foil like a maniac. But it is important. If any trace of water touches your lovely cheesecake you'll end up with a gross-ass waxy layer on the bottom. So wrap the foil very carefully to avoid tears--and use three layers.

You're also definitely going to need cake flour for this recipe and some fresh lemons. Oh, and it's important to use salted butter here because it will provide the only salt for the recipe--adding granules of salt would interfere with the airy texture of the cake.

 my heart

my heart

Another tip: I always wipe the metal or glass bowl and the beaters I'll be whipping egg whites in with a little white vinegar. It eliminates invisible grease/fat that can prevent your whites from whipping up properly. 

While the icing is completely optional, I include a recipe for my lemon icing because I want to tell you the secret to lemon icing: citric acid.

If you like tangy lemony things, you need this little jar in your life. No matter how much lemon juice or lemon extract you add to any icing or cake, you will never get the fresh, zippy tang you are looking for without citric acid. Only a pinch is necessary, so I imagine the jar will last you the rest of your life. You can also use citric acid in canning, pickling, and preserving, if you are into those kinds of things.

So the flavor on this cheesecake is super lemony, and the texture is incredibly light, fluffy, moist, and melt-in-your-mouth. There's no better word for it than otherworldly.

I cannot imagine a better desert to serve at the end of a rich or spicy meal. I can see it now--guests lifted off to heaven on clouds of lemony dreams...

Buy the recipe here, and let me know how it turns out!

 ascending to heaven just looking at this

ascending to heaven just looking at this