Don’t be fooled by the picture, this is a cheesecake, not a sponge cake. I have seen Japanese Cotton Soft Cheesecake all over the internet for years, but hadn’t come around to trying it until now. My fellow instagram baker, Silvia Colloca, just sent me her latest cookbook, Love Laugh Bake!, and she has a version of this internet sensation made with mascarpone.
The name, cotton soft, refers to the texture of the cake, which is far lighter and almost soufflé-like compared to the New York or custard style cheesecakes in my repertoire. Silvia also used fruit in the batter, so there is a layer of berries that rest along the bottom, creating a base in this otherwise crustless cheesecake. In her book she uses blueberries, but I had raspberries on hand and they worked perfectly. The only other change I made to this Japanese cotton soft cheesecake was to use gluten-free flour (there is very little flour in the recipe, so it adapts without compromise), since I was bringing this dessert to a party and the host is gluten-free. It was a big hit and I will be making this cheesecake again and again.
Silvia has generously shared the recipe below.
- 250 g mascarpone
- 1 cup (250ml) heavy whipping cream
- 140 g caster sugar super fine sugar
- 6 large eggs separated
- 1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped
- Zest of one orange + 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 60 g flour I used gluten-free all-purpose, but wheat flour is what Silvia originally calls for
- 12 g corn starch cornflour
- 1 cup (150g) berries, plus more for serving
- pinch salt
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Grease and line an 8 x 3 Inch cake pan with parchment paper. The paper should go up above the rim, since this cake will soufflé slightly as it bakes.
- Beat the mascarpone and 70g of the sugar together in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, then add the cream slowly. (Silvia has you add them all together, which does work, but I found it got smoother, faster, when I added the cream slowly to the cheese mixture). Add the yolks one at a time and mix to combine between each. Mix in the vanilla, zest and juice. Whisk together the flour and corn starch, then gently fold them into the cheese mixture. Fold the berries into the batter.
- Whip the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until foamy. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the egg whites as they whip on medium speed. Turn up the speed and whip until the meringue is glossy and stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the cheese batter. Immediately pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.
- Bake the cheesecake in a water bath for 50-75 minutes. It will depend on the temperature of the ingredients you started with. The cheesecake will be set on top when gently tapped with your fingers, but will still feel a bit wobbly. Turn off the oven and allow the cake to sit in the cooling oven for at least an hour.
- Refrigerate the cake until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours. Run a knife around the edge the cake and remove the parchment from the edge. Run the pan over the stove for just a few seconds, then invert the cake onto a flat surface, then invert again onto a serving plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, then add fresh berries.
- Or you can cover the cake with Mascarpone cream and berries. Combine 2 cups (450g) mascarpone cheese, 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, teaspoon vanilla extract in a stand mixer with whip attachment and beat until the cream is soft peaks. Don’t over whip or it will feel greasy.