I’m writing this post two days into committing to a 14-day raw food diet/detox so describing this light, fluffy cheesecake with its accompanying crushed, juicy, sour cherry sauce is akin to flaunting a nubile exotic dancer in front of an 18-year old man contemplating seminary. Sorry for the crude analogy but I’ve already likened my change to a raw food diet to taking the vow of chastity a couple of times this morning!
Overall, this change really isn’t that dramatic but as much as my new raw food cookbook held many promising recipes to help stave my cravings for carbs and melted cheese, there was a point last night when I felt rather sad. Utterly ridiculous, but I was washed over with a feeling akin to grief. Will I ever bake again? How can I ever go without a bowl of steamed rice? I’m Asian!!!! What *have* I done?
I took a deep breath and reminded myself that this was just a temporary pledge to try something new. Christmas saw me fall well and truly off the sugar-free wagon and I was due for a detox of sorts. I also wanted to get an appreciation for what a growing number of people are adopting as their main diet. I’ll no doubt report on my findings and impressions over the next few weeks.
So before I embark on blogs about nut butter desserts and dehydrated vegetables, I’m sharing this Japanese recipe for souffle style cheesecake. Those who have visited Asian bakeries may be familiar with the marshmallow-like cake that I speak of. Unlike its classic New York cousin, this cheesecake almost floats, such is its lightness.
I don’t know too many people who don’t like cheesecakes. Even my children who turn their nose up at sour cream and cream cheese will happily scoff a slice of cheesecake. Perhaps it’s the creamy/sour combination that is so appealing and after all, who can say no to a moreish Graham Cracker base? Cheesecakes are best plain (IMHO) but I did make a Roasted Pumpkin & Burnt Caramel Cheesecake once which turned out a treat.
To be honest, I personally find the more dense styles of cheesecake hard going after a few bites, hence my preference for this souffle cheesecake. It involves a lot of fluffy egg white and not a lot of flour so it’s quite similar to a chiffon cake in how it’s made. This cake can’t be made in a rush though (it needs about an hour in the oven) but the time and effort taken is most definitely worth the reward.
Team yours with a fruity compote or sauce like mine, or serve with a lashing of cream and salted caramel.
- 250g cream cheese (I used Philly light with no issues but full cream would be richer in flavour/texture)
- 30g butter (room temperature)
- juice of ½ lemon
- 3 egg yolks (reserve whites for latter part of recipe)
- 50g caster sugar
- 75g/ml milk
- 40g all purpose flour, sifted (original recipe suggests 30g but I wanted a slightly denser cake)
- 3 egg whites
- 10g caster sugar
- butter to line baking paper if needed
- Pre-heat oven to 150C. Prepare a tray that is large enough to hold an 18cm cake pan, and is deep enough to have water filled to half way up the height of the cake pan. Line cake pan with baking paper and grease with butter if preferred.
- Place egg yolks and sugar in TMX bowl with Butterfly inserted. Whisk on Speed 4 for about 3 minutes until mixture is pale and creamy.
- Add softened butter and whisk again on Speed 3 for 30 seconds until well combined. The mixture should be thick and trickle from spoon.
- Add cream cheese and blitz on Speed 4 for 20 seconds until well combined. Add lemon juice and blitz again on Speed 4 for 10 seconds. For non Thermomix users, mix until well combined after each step for how ever long it takes.
- Add flour in 2 or 3 lots, mixing with Speed 2 for a few seconds after each addition.
- Transfer mixture to another bowl if using TMX to make meringue mixture (ensuring bowl is cleaned and dried thoroughly). I prefer to use a hand mixture to make meringue if the TMX is being used.
- Boil water in kettle and get ready to pour water in bain-marie tray. Place bain-marie on a larger baking tray for use of movement.
- Place egg whites in a bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. Add sugar and combine well.
- Add meringue mixture to flour mixture in 2 or 3 lots, gently stirring with each addition until just combined (you should still be able to see egg white in the mixture). If adding to the flour mix still in the TMX bowl, use Speed 1 and gently spin for a second or two, using a spoon to combine by hand after all the egg white has been combined.
- Pour cheesecake mixture into prepared cake pan and place pan into bain-marie. Place carefully into the oven and set for 45 minutes.
- If after 45 minutes you can see some surface cracks, lower the temperature to 140C and continue baking for 10 minutes. If not, continue at the same temperature for 10 minutes.
- Check on cake. If a skewer or thin knife comes out of centre of cake clean, the cake is ready. If there are small cracks on the surface, the cake is generally ready.
- Remove cake from oven and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Remove cake from cake pan and allow to rest on a rack.
- Serve cake while warm if desired or chill in fridge.
- Cherry sauce can be made easily by adding about 12 pitted cherries (reserve 8 for keeping whole), the juice of half a lemon and 1 tbsp of sugar to a small saucepan and heating on low/medium heat until the fruit is soft. Crush cherries gently and add remaining whole cherries. Add 1 tbsp of water and continue to heat until simmering. Allow to cool and serve with cheesecake.