“Nothing in life is a piece of cake; well, except an actually piece of cake.”- Hira Fathima Ahmad.
Have you seen that viral video of some bakers cutting humungous pieces of cotton cheesecakes ? Pictures of Japanese cotton cheesecakes have lured me for long but I have kept away because I find cheesecakes tricky beasts. The water baths, the baking and the cooling, the fear of cracking and shrinking . And lets not forget the heaps of calorie laden cream cheese that go into them !
Ya well… I should have atleast taken a look at the recipes for it, because turns out Japanese cheesecakes actually don’t have that much cheese in them. And a whole lot of research , and some trial and error gave me some pointers on how to make the process as stress free as possible . You know , if you stress over things like cheesecakes :-). I do . Often .
Some details about the baking. If this isn’t your first cheesecake , just skip to the recipe !
- First the pan :It is ideal to bake cheesecakes in a round springform pan as they are so soft .That way you can just open up the sides and release the cake when its done . But not everyone has a springform pan and also you need to double line the outside of your pan with foil so that the water from the water bath does not seep into your cake. An easier way is to use a loaf pan. Just line with parchment long enough on both sides and you can just lift out the cake when done ! You can do it either ways. I tried it in a regular round pan but found it an ordeal to get it out and then too with lot of crumble – age.
- Waterbacth : You need a bigger pan than your loaf or springiform pan . You fill the outer one with hot water so that the water level is halfway up your inner pan. This ensures the gentle loving baking that a cheesecake needs!
- Preventing cracks : I am not too paranoid about my cheesecakes developing cracks . Its like the crinkly tops of brownies or the crack on a pound cake. But to make sure you have less or no cracks , make sure you know your oven temperature well. If you think it runs hotter, bake at a lower temperature for longer.
- Cooling : Once done , your cheesecake will shrink. To prevent it from shrinking too much , cool it gradually . Hence ten minutes in the oven with the door ajar , then to room temperature and finally atleast 3 hours in the refrigerator. The chilling time is required for the cheesecake to set.
- Cutting the cake : You will see all sorts of tips about this from cold knifes to hot knifes to dental floss . My way : take the sharpest knife you can find, slice in one motion and wipe before the next cut. Heating the knife over a flame also helps. Again , the loaf pan works out here as its so much easier to slice !
Have I scared you with too much info already ? I hope not – because this cake is worth making and having atleast once. The texture is so so soft , they should call it cloud cheesecake . And it is neither too sweet nor tart. This recipe is a combination of several ones I found on the net . Infact, as I wanted to submit this for a fusion desert competition , I used some homemade Rabdi instead of the plain milk to give me a pretty lip smacking “Rasmalai” like Japanese cotton cheesecake !
This is without a doubt the fluffiest cake I have made. Its uber soft and simply melt in your mouth. I was so pleased with the taste of my Indian avatar as well , the texture is a little smoother and tastes gorgeously like Rasmalai ! Best of both worlds !