Japanese melty iceboox cheesecake

Japanese melty iceboox cheesecake

I’m sitting here, struggling with how best to explain to you all why this Japanese version of the burnt basque cheesecake is superior than the original in every single way possible, mentally auditioning all the angles I could cut into this subject that I think is going to change the way you think about cheesecakes in general.  How it’s possibly the easiest cheesecake your kitchen-incompetence will ever behold… how it has complexities in its flavors that reminds me of a caramel flan… how its play between temperature and texture is brilliant… how the outer layer is rich yet airy while the center remains creamy and gooey, melting almost instantly around the heat of my tongue…  A R-rated story on how cheesecake and  ice cream had a baby?  I considered that, too.

But it dawned on me that these are all just supporting facts, facts that you will witness, I’ve no doubt, as soon as you make one yourself in your kitchen.  What really stands in between you and making this cake is not the certainties, no.  It is the doubt, one single doubt really, the only elephant that needs to be removed first and swiftly before everything else could just fall into place.  Because I know what you’re all thinking.  Here, I’ll say it with you.

Isn’t this just an undercooked mistake?  

No, no it is not.  It is fucking not.

Is soft-boiled egg a mistake?

There.  I don’t know how much simpler I could put it.

Now, welcome to the only cheesecake you’ll ever bake for the rest of your life.

if cheesecake and ice cream had a baby.

Japanese melty iceboox cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (450 grams) cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup (140 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 grams) Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeded
  • 3 large eggs + 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup (180 grams) heavy cream
  • 1/2 heaping tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (32 grams) all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven on 435 F/225 C, fan-on if available. In a stand-mixer with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, granulated sugar and Greek yogurt, seeds from 1/2 vanilla beans on medium-high speed, scraping once in between, until extremely smooth, lump-free and silky, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs and yolks all at once, and beat on low speed for 15 seconds, scrape once, and beat for another 15 seconds just until the eggs are evenly incorporated. Careful not to over-beat the eggs that it becomes "fluffy". We don't want an airy batter. Add heavy cream and sea salt, and beat for another 15 seconds just until even. Sift the flour into the batter, and beat again on low for 15 to 20 seconds until even. Remove the bowl and scrape and fold the batter with a spatula to make sure everything is smoothly mixed, set aside.
  2. Butter the insides of a 7"/18 cm springform cake-pan (so the parchment sticks well to the pan). Cut a parchment paper into a circle the same size as the diameter of the pan, and line the bottom of the pan. Then line the sides of the pan with parchment paper that is twice the height of the pan. Pour the batter into the pan, then cut the side-parchment down so it's 75% taller than the batter (not double). Firmly tap the pan a few times to eliminate large air bubbles, place it on a small baking-sheet and set on the lower 1/3 rack of the oven.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the baking-sheet 180 degrees, and bake for another 10 minutes. Turn off the oven at this point, opening the door for 30 seconds to lower the oven temperature, then close it and let the cake sit inside the oven for another 5 minutes. The exterior of the cake should be deeply browned, burnt almost, but still jiggly in the center. Let the cake cool slightly on the counter for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, clear a level in the freezer to allow generous room for the cake pan and set a pot holder/heat matt inside. Transfer the cake-pan into the freezer (don'y worry the hot pan won't break your freezer) and freeze for 3 hours. Remove the cake from the pan and parchment papers and serve, or you can keep individual slices frozen and let sit in room-temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
https://ladyandpups.com/2019/10/30/japanese-melty-iceboox-cheesecake/

* UPDATE NOV 1/2019: A few feedbacks are saying that their cake did not brown as deeply in their oven as mine.  If your oven tends to under-brown or under-heat, I would suggest baking the cake at 240~250C/465~500F (which is the highest most home oven goes).  Also, try trimming the parchment paper lower so the batter is exposed more. If your baking pan is of a different size, you may have to adjust the temperature/timing a bit, too.  

Confession of an escapist cook, Hong Kong-style milk tea gelato

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17 Comments
  • Javier

    October 30, 2019 at 11:21 PM Reply

    It’s raw. In Spain they have called the best cheesecake one that is also raw, and they call it “creaminess”. But it is raw.

  • Clarisse

    October 30, 2019 at 11:33 PM Reply

    Is it possible to make this the day before we are supposed to serve it and keep the cheesecake whole (i.e. not slice it and freeze)?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      October 31, 2019 at 12:26 AM Reply

      Clarisse, yes! Slices just thaw faster but you can let the whole cake sit at room-temp for 1 or 1:30 hour before serving

  • Helen

    October 31, 2019 at 2:51 AM Reply

    This almost reminds me of a delicious antithesis to the bouncy/jiggly/souffle Japanese cheesecake – where this one is sunken, concentrated, silky, the other has risen, bouncy, and airy. Any recommendations for cooking time/recipe changes if I have a 6″ spring form pan?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      October 31, 2019 at 1:22 PM Reply

      Helen, I would do one just as instructed first because it’s not a huge difference :)

    • Charmaine

      November 8, 2019 at 9:12 PM Reply

      Hi Helen, I’ve got the same situation here where I only have a 6″ pan- would love to hear how yours turned out and whether any adjustments need to be made!

  • jenn

    October 31, 2019 at 4:38 AM Reply

    Can vanilla extract be used instead of the bean?

  • Chris

    October 31, 2019 at 5:54 AM Reply

    Hmm…I’m working from home today. My last attempt at a Japanese cheesecake was truly horrifying so perhaps I’ll be ‘working’ on one of these too..

    • Chris

      October 31, 2019 at 5:35 PM Reply

      Made it. Mine didn’t turn out quite the amazing dark mahogany colour of yours on top, but it’s still stunning. I served it to a self-confessed ‘cheesecake snob’ friend from the US and she reckons it’s up there with the best she’s ever had. Thanks for the amazing recipe.

      • mandy@ladyandpups

        October 31, 2019 at 5:59 PM Reply

        Chris, then I would suggest using 240C/465F next time! The “burnt” surface is what gives it that caramel flan taste :)

        • Chris

          November 8, 2019 at 12:34 PM Reply

          Second version was much closer to the mark. Thanks. It’s all gone too so I’m making no.3 tonight and keeping it frozen for Christmas

  • Peter Davis

    October 31, 2019 at 6:13 PM Reply

    After the 25 minutes at 225c the cheesecake was barely browned around the edges and possibly ‘overcooked’ in the middle. Hopefully it turns out ok after freezing!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      November 1, 2019 at 1:14 AM Reply

      Peter, the exterior is not browned but the center is cooked? Strange. Did you use a different size pan?

    • Mia

      November 2, 2019 at 11:36 PM Reply

      This cake looks amazing, I can’t wait to try baking it! I’m interested to know the story behind this Japanese version of the burnt Basque cheesecake though. How did it come to be?

  • sherry

    November 5, 2019 at 3:24 PM Reply

    hi Mandy
    you say 225C with fan on but this makes it more like 245C (without the fan) as the fan increases the heat by about 20 degrees. so do you mean 225C or 245C? thanks sherry and Yum to japanese foods!! perhaps this is why people have been having problems with cooking it.:-) I think it’s not quite clear what you mean about the temp. cheers S

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      November 6, 2019 at 1:01 PM Reply

      Sherry, I did use 225C fan-on, but I didn’t know that makes such a big difference! so I guess for oven without fans, it would have to be 245C :)

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