Matcha “jiggly” cheesecake

There is a common misconception about the “jiggly” cheesecake that has gone viral over the past 5 years: everyone seems to think that this kind of cheesecake is like a panna cotta and wobbles perpetually until it is time to eat it. However, the cheesecake is only jiggly fresh out of the oven, when it is still piping hot. When it cools down, it’s really just a super airy, soft, and fluffy cake that vaguely tastes like cream cheese, but honestly, not even. I grew up on this kind of cheesecake, way before Uncle Tetsu popularized it. My local Taiwanese bakery, J.J. Bakery, sold that exact same kind of cheesecake, but in rectangular logs instead of circles. For this rendition, I went with the round cheesecake, just because I did not want to bake the batter in a loaf pan. I used mascarpone cheese, matcha, and golden raisins in my version – I had have a tub of mascarpone cheese leftover, and this recipe was the perfect way to use it! I also wanted to use matcha to flavor the cheesecake, and I felt like the golden raisins would be a fun compliment to the mascarpone cheese. Fun fact: Japanese bakeries use raisins on the bottom of their cheesecake half for that reason(dried grapes would obviously work well with cheese) and also because they act as mini paper weights for the parchment that lines the molds.

From a technical standpoint, this cheesecake is tricky. Overwhip the egg whites that you fold into the batter results in guaranteed cracks. Underwhip them and the whole cheesecake will crater in the center. Overbaking and underbaking will also result in both of those issues respectively as well(over to over, and under to under). With the egg whites, you want them to be soft peaks – they should still droop when you pull the whisk away from them. Make sure when you fold those egg whites in to not overmix them, or else you’re just pushing out air from the batter, which will cause it to deflate. Baking the cheesecake in a waterbath(using hot water, not cold or else you’re adding another 30 minutes to your baking time), guarantees an even and consistent bake as well. And going low and slow with the temperature(I go in at 300 degrees F for 1 hour, then 285 degrees for another 15 minutes), just to ensure that the cheesecake will rise and set. In case your cheesecake somehow does crack, I do have another failsafe, being matcha sugar. Dusting that gives the cheesecake this feathery finish, and you could use it to mask any flaws on the top(mine began to crack because I had too much fun jiggling it while it was still piping hot). When all of that whipping, folding, and baking is done and said, you will end up with a super airy and light sponge, and honestly one of the most technically difficult cake batters to execute!

Makes 1 6-inch cheesecake:
4.5oz mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp matcha powder
1/2 tsp spirulina powder
3 eggs, separated
2oz all-purpose flour
2oz cornstarch
4oz granulated sugar
golden raisins(about 10 in total)

In a heatproof bowl over a double boiler, melt down the mascarpone with milk, cream, matcha, and spirulina. Once everything is completely liquid, take the bowl off heat and mix in the egg yolks, flour, and cornstarch. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites with sugar until they reach soft peaks – they should be white and fluffy, but not completely solid. Gently fold the egg whites into the matcha-mascarpone mixture. Either line a 6-inch springform pan or a 6-inch ring mold with parchment, while also outfitting the bottom of the pan/mold with 3 layers of aluminum foil. Place the pan/mold into a larger, deeper baking pan and fill with hot water. Place down golden raisins inside of the parchment to hold it down against the edges. Then pour your batter into the pan/mold. Bake the cheesecake at 300 degrees F for 1 hour, then lower to 285 degrees F and bake for another 15 minutes. Allow the cheesecake to cool down at room temperature for 5 minutes before attempting to unmold and transfer to a serving platter.

To finish:
1 tsp matcha powder
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Mix together and sift over the top of the cheesecake before serving.

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