This wonderfully light cake also goes by the name of Japanese cotton soft cheesecake, but if you have been to Japan and never encountered it, rest assured, you are not alone! This crustless cake is an internet sensation that has sent millions of home bakers into a whipping frenzy in an attempt to create its ineffably light texture.
However, its Japanese origins may well be an urban myth.
The main difference between this cake and a classic cheesecake is in the method. To ensure the coveted ‘cotton soft’ texture, soft meringue is gently incorporated into the cream cheese mixture and the addition of a little flour keeps the structure in place. And make sure you bake it in a water bath to keep the cake evenly moist and fluffy.
- 250 g mascarpone
- 250 ml (1 cup) thickened cream,
- plus extra to serve
- 140 g caster sugar
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds
- scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla
- bean paste
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 60 g plain flour, sifted
- 1 heaped tablespoon cornflour, sifted
- 150 g (1 cup) fresh blueberries, plus
- extra to serve (optional)
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 40 g unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped, or /2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Preheat your oven to 150°C. Grease and line a 22 cm round cake tin, allowing an extra 3–4 cm paper above the rim.
Place the mascarpone, cream and 70 g of the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat for 1–2 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing to incorporate each one before adding the next. Beat for 2–3 minutes or until pale and fluffy.
Add the vanilla, orange zest and juice and mix well. Gently fold in the flour and cornflour, then mix in the blueberries and set aside.
In a clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites with the salt and cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, whisking constantly for 5–6 minutes or until the meringue is glossy and firm.
Gently fold the meringue through the mascarpone mixture until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, then place the cake tin in a roasting tin. Pour water into the roasting tin to reach about 2–3 cm up the side of the cake tin. Bake for 50 minutes without opening the oven door. At this point the top should look golden – if it doesn’t, bake for a further 5–10 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cake to cool in the oven for 30 minutes, leaving the door ajar. This will prevent the cake from shrinking and collapsing.
To make the glaze, combine all the ingredients in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, and stir until smooth and combined and the sugar has dissolved.
Transfer the cake to a plate and brush the top with the glaze. Cover loosely with foil and leave in the fridge to set and firm up for 2 hours, or up to 24 hours. Cut into wedges and serve with extra blueberries, if desired.