Cheese and cake: separately, both transcendently delicious. Together, though, they become something truly superlative.
This yuzu Japanese cheesecake recipe (inspired by this recipe at Justonecookbook.com) ditches the crust and forgoes the customary cream cheese density for a fluffy, souffle-like texture. A few good splashes of yuzu juice – that remarkable Japanese citrus with a zesty flavour somewhere between a mandarin, a Meyer lemon, a lime and a grapefruit – and you’ve transformed a beloved cake into a delicate, sophisticated, and unstoppably moreish dessert.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to a whole yuzu (sadly a rarity in Australia), a squeeze of fresh juice is perfect. For all other occasions, keeping a bottle of our sublime Japanese-made yuzu juice in the fridge means a yuzu-spiked tart, yuzu curd, yuzu dressing or yuzu cocktail is only ever moments away.
This baked yuzu cheesecake recipe calls for free range eggs, as the more luminous yellow of the yolks gives the cake its appealingly citrus colour.
This recipe also calls for ‘cake flour’, which is a mix of flour and cornflour used to create light cakes. If unavailable, make your own by measuring 1 cup of plain flour, then removing two tablespoons and replacing them with 2 tablespoons of cornflour. Combine very well with a whisk.
Grease a deep 20cm (non-springform) cake tin (we use this Stellar non-stick pan) very well with butter. Cut two long, thin strips of baking paper and lay them inside the tin in a cross, so that the ends of the strips hang over the edge. These will be used to lift the finished cake out of the tin.
Cut a 20cm circle of baking paper and grease it well with the butter. Lay it, butter-side up, across the bottom of the tin. Cut a strip of baking paper slightly taller than the tin, and long enough to wrap around the inside edge, and apply a good layer of butter. Use it to line the inside rim of the pan (butter side facing out). The whole inside surface of the pan should now be covered in greased baking paper.
Preheat your oven to 160C (140C for fan-forced ovens) and set up a baking tray large enough to sit the cake tin in, half filled with water, in the middle of the oven.
Set up a double boiler by placing a heat-proof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water, ensuring the water does not come in contact with the underside of the bowl.
Add the cream cheese, 60g butter, 70g of the caster sugar and the cream to the double boiler, and use a spatula to break down the big pieces of cheese and butter as they soften. Once soft, use a whisk to bring everything together into a smooth liquid. Remove the bowl from the saucepan.
Seperate the eggs, and add the yolks to the cheese mix one at a time, whisking after each yolk is added. Add the yuzu juice, then sift the flour into the mix and use a spatula to combine well. Pass the mix through a sieve into a large bowl.
Use the whisk attachment of your stand mixer, a hand-beater, or a whisk (and a lot of manual effort) to beat the egg whites until frothy, then add the remaining 100g of caster sugar a little at a time and beat until you get medium soft peaks (peaks should stand up when the whisk is pulled up from the eggs, but then collapse a few moments later).
Gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter, then pour the batter into the remaining 2/3 of the egg whites and fold until just combined. Transfer the batter to the cake tin, and bake for 80 minutes, or until the top has browned and a skewer comes out of the centre of the cake clean.
Leave the cake to cool before removing from tin.
Prepare the glaze by combining the yuzu juice and sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Brush the glaze over the top of the cake and serve immediately.