Japanese Jiggly Cheesecake is a decadent and spongy dessert that is deliciously light and fluffy. Its unique texture and delicate sweetness put this cake in a realm of its own. Give this steamed Japanese jiggly cake a try!
This is not your average, dense cheesecake. No, no! Japanese Cheesecake is made using a cream cheese, egg yolk batter that gets folded into sweet meringue. The result is an almost soufflé like sponge cake that jiggles and is amazingly fluffy. Sprinkled with powdered sugar alone, topped with berries or a compote, it's delightful!
I don’t usually order the same thing when I go to my favorite sushi or Japanese steakhouse restaurant, but there is one item that I always order without fail: Japanese jiggly cheesecake if they have it.
It’s airy, fluffy, and soft as a cloud. Each bite is bright and lightly sweet. Rather than the creamy New York or Chicago styles, think of this Japanese jiggly cake as more of a souffle.
When replicating the original jiggly cake in my own kitchen, I learned that this dessert is all about precision. Take this recipe step by step, and don’t rush. I promise it’s worth it!
While you’re at it, why not whip up an entire Japanese meal? Start off with a zesty Sunomono Salad, followed by some Hibachi Fried Rice that tastes like it came straight from the steakhouse.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Cream Cheese, Butter, & Heavy Cream - Allow the cream cheese and butter to come to room temperature so that they are easier to mix with the heavy cream.
- Eggs - We’ll use both the egg yolks and whites separately.
- Lemon Zest - Using lemon zest, not the juice, is what gives Japanese jiggly cheesecake its bright flavor without making it too thick.
- Vanilla - Pure vanilla extract will help to balance out the tanginess of the cream cheese, taking away some of that “cheesy” flavor.
- Cornstarch - Japanese jiggly cake uses more cornstarch than your regular cheesecake recipe, making it less creamy and more airy.
- Sugar - This dessert isn’t too sweet, and so we won’t be using as much sugar as you might expect. But I promise, we’re using just enough!
- Berry Topping - A simple compote made with berries of your choosing, sugar, and water.
- (Optional) Mint - A sprig of mint will tie in beautifully with the lemon flavors in the original jiggly cake and the berries we’ve added on top. I highly recommend giving it a try!
HOW TO MAKE BERRY TOPPING FOR JAPANESE JIGGLY CHEESECAKE
- Make the Berry Compote. Add your berries of choice, sugar, and water to a small saucepan. Heat the contents on medium and stir continuously until the berries become hot and juicy. Turn down the heat and simmer while the mixture thickens. Set aside to use as a topping, or refrigerate if serving your cake cold.
HOW TO MAKE JIGGLY CHEESECAKE BATTER
- Mix Cream Cheese, Heavy Cream, and Butter. While your oven preheats to 325°F, add the cream cheese, butter, and cream to a saucepan and mix over medium heat until smooth and even. Allow to cool before proceeding with the next step.
- Add Yolks, Vanilla, Lemon, Flour, and Cornstarch. Beat the egg yolks and slowly mix into the cream cheese mixture. Follow with the vanilla and lemon zest, whisking them into the mixture as well. Sift the flour and cornstarch into the mix, and whisk.
- Whisk Egg Whites. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff. Gradually add the sugar while mixing continuously until hard, shiny peaks form on the surface.
- Fold in the Whites. Fold the egg whites into the cream cheese base, adding one third of the mixture at a time.
HOW TO BAKE JAPANESE JIGGLY CHEESECAKE
- Line Pan. Use either a springform pan lined with foil or 9”x3” cake pan (with sides at least 4” tall) lined with parchment. Pour the batter into the pan, tapping on the counter to shake out any bubbles.
- Add Water. Line a roasting pan with tea towels and place the pan on top. Pour 1” of hot water into the roasting pan.
- Bake. Bake for 25 minutes at 325°F, then reduce the temperature to 280°F. Do not open the oven door — simply set another timer for 55 minutes as soon as you’ve adjusted the temperature. The cake will almost double in height and brown at the top. If not done or not brown at the top, bake another 10 minutes.
- Let Cool. Turn off the oven and open the oven door a few inches. Let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove From Pan. Remove from the oven and invert the cake onto your hand. Remove the pan and bottom layer of parchment paper, transfer onto a plate flat-side down, and remove the remaining parchment paper.
- Top and Serve. Garnish your Japanese jiggly cake with powdered sugar, your fresh berry topping, and mint.
What’s the difference between cheesecake and Japanese cheesecake?
“Regular” cheesecake, whether New York or Chicago style, is dense, rich, and heavy. The texture is closer to a pudding or mousse than a traditional cake. Japanese jiggly cake, on the other hand, is incredibly light, airy, and fluffy and similar to a souffle. Hence this jiggles when moved!
Why is my Japanese cheesecake not jiggly?
Your cake should come out tall, soft, and jiggly without falling apart – just like the original jiggly cake. If it doesn’t, then it likely didn’t rise properly in the oven. There are a couple of reasons why this may have happened: you didn’t use enough water or heat, the eggs were either over- or under-whisked, or the batter was overmixed.
Should Japanese cheesecake be eaten warm or cold?
That’s completely up to you! When I’m served Japanese jiggly cheesecake in a restaurant, it’s almost always cold. However, it’s also delicious when it’s just finished cooling with the warm berry topping.
Japanese Jiggly Cheesecake
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 6 tablespoon butter
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 8 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 lemon zest only
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour (32 g)
- ¼ cup cornstarch (32 g)
- 12 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 oz berries of choice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- mint sprig
For the Berry Compote
- In a small saucepan add the berries, sugar and water. Stir over medium heat until berries start to burst. Turn to low and simmer until thickened and reduced. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk the cream cheese, butter and heavy cream until smooth. Remove from heat and cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth, then slowly drizzle in the cooled cream cheese mixture, stirring until evenly combined. Whisk in the vanilla and lemon zest to combine. Sift in the flour and cornstarch, whisking to avoid any lumps.
- In another bowl, beat the egg whites until you see soft peaks. Slowly add the sugar while continuing to beat until you see hard, shiny peaks form.
- Take a third of the egg whites and fold them into the cream cheese egg yolk mixture, then repeat with the remaining egg whites until the batter is thoroughly combined.
- Line the bottom and sides of a 9x3 inch cake pan being sure sides are 4 inches tall. If using a springform pan, be sure to wrap the bottom and sides completely in foil to prevent any leaking of batter.
- Pour the batter into the parchment-lined pan and shake on counter top to release air bubbles.
- Place the filled pan into a roasting pan or dish lined with a tea towel or 2 paper towels at the bottom. Fill the larger pan with one inch of hot water. Bake for 25 minutes at 325°F, then reduce the heat to 280°F, and bake for another 55 minutes, until the cake has risen to almost double its height.
- Check to make sure the cake for cooked by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake, it should come out clean. Bake the cake for an additional 10 minutes to brown the top if not already. Turn off the heat and open the oven door about 2-3 inches. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove from oven, and carefully, invert the cake onto one hand, quickly removing pan and bottom parchment from cake and place on stand or plate. Peel off the remaining parchment paper.
- Sprinkle the top of the cake with powdered sugar, slice (I found a serrated knife works best), and serve with berry compote and mint sprig.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.