Japanese Cheesecake Recipe  (Japanese Cotton Cheesecake)

This true and tried Japanese cheesecake recipe, also known as Japanese Cotton Cheesecake, produces the most amazingly smooth and light spongy cheesecake.

Japanese Cheesecake Recipe

This Japanese cheesecake recipe is one recipe that I had to try a couple of times before I could perfect the cake. Unlike other baked cheesecakes, this cake is very light and spongy, somewhat a combination of a cheesecake and a sponge cake. The texture is very soft and spongy and hence the other name for this cake, i.e. cotton cheesecake. 

Having baked this cake a good number of times now, I have come to learn that, while mixing the batter is not much of an issue, the oven setting (temperature and rack position) and the way in which the cake is cooled play a crucial role in how the cake turns out.

Here are some of the points that are really worth paying attention to:

  • Oven temperature - this cake requires the oven temperature to be adjusted half way through baking just like some fruit cakes. You start with a slightly lower than normal baking temperature at about 140 degrees Celsius (284 F) for 15 minutes and then lower the temperature to 125 degrees Celsius (260 F) for another 55 minutes. The baking time is also generally longer compared to normal cakes but you will notice that the temperature is much lower than for other cakes. 
  • The rack position for this cake should be the lowest in your oven. This is to avoid the top of the cake from browning too much.
  • Similar to baked cheesecakes, the Japanese cotton cheesecake must be baked in a water bath. This is to help retain moisture in the oven so that the cake remains moist after baking. 
  • Once the cake is baked, turn off the oven, but leave the cake in the oven for a good 10 minutes. After that, open the oven door slightly and continue to let the cake cool in the warm oven for another 10 to 15 minutes. Only after that should the cake be removed and cooled at room temperature. This gradual cooling off is to avoid the cake top from wrinkles due to sudden change in temperature. 

In a nutshell,  since too much heat will cause the cake top to crack, the baking temperature is lowered. And because of the lower temperature, the cake generally takes a longer time to bake. To counter the effect of the cake drying out due to longer baking time, water bath is required for the cake. 

Given the spongy texture of the cake, the cake batter is mixed in 2 parts. The first part is melting the cheese and butter with milk and then adding egg yolks and lemon juice to it to form a smooth and creamy mixture. 

Japanese cheesecake batter

The second part is whipping the egg whites and sugar until stiff.

Whipped egg whites.

These 2 parts are then combined to produce the cake batter. 

Japanese cotton cheesecake batter mixing

The batter is poured into well lined cake tin and baked in a water bath. 

Cheesecake batter in a cake tin

If you are using a spring-bottom cake pan, placing the pan directly in a water bath will result in water seeping into the cake batter from the bottom of the cake pan. To avoid that, most people would wrap their cake tins with foil before placing into the water bath. I chose not to wrap my cake tin with foil. Instead, I placed my cake tin in a slightly large cake tin and placed both into the water bath. This way, water will never seep into my cake and I save the hassle of wrapping foil around my cake tin.

Preparing water bath for the cheesecake
Baking the cheesecake in a water bath

Once the cake is baked and completed cooled down, I chose to decorate it with some icing sugar dredge using a paper doily. 

Baked Japanese Cheesecake

I placed my cake onto a serving plate and place the doily on the cake.

The paper doily on top of the Japanese cheesecake.

And then I used my sieve to sift a layer of icing sugar on the doily.

Icing sugar dredged cake

Once done, I removed the doily off the cake top very carefully and this was how my cake turned out:

Design on the Japanese cheesecake after decorating

My recipe below is for a small batch of a 6 inch round cake. And because of that, you will notice that the ingredients I used are pretty small in quantities too. It is best to use a digital kitchen scale to measure these especially the plain flour and cornflour, but if you don't have a digital scale, simply scale the recipe up. Double the recipe and bake the cake in an 8 inches round cake tin or triple it and bake in a 10 inches round cake tin.

Japanese cheesecake slice

Here is the full, printable version of my Japanese cheesecake recipe:

Japanese Cheesecake Recipe (Japanese Cotton Cheesecake)

By , Sep 13, 2019

 Japanese Cheesecake Recipe (Japanese Cotton Cheesecake)

This true and tried Japanese cheesecake recipe, also known as Japanese Cotton Cheesecake produces the most amazingly smooth and light spongy cheesecake.


Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Yield: 6 inches round cake
Keyword: Japanese Cheesecake Recipe (Japanese Cotton Cheesecake)
Category: Dessert


  • 80 g cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 20 g butter
  • 30 ml milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 15 g plain flour
  • 15 g corn flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • 50 g castor sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp cream of tar tar


  1. Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celsius. Line the sides and bottom of a 6 inches round cake tin with parchment paper. Prepare water bath by filling a larger than 6 inches round cake tin or tray with hot water until the water reaches a height of about 4 to 5 cm. Place the tray in the oven to keep the water hot.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the cream cheese, butter and milk and stir until the ingredients are well combined and smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and lemon juice to break the yolks and add it to the cream cheese - butter mixture. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Sift in the plain flour and corn flour and fold until the flours are all well incorporated.
  5. In a clean, grease free bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tar tar until frothy. Add the sugar in two halves and continue to whisk the egg whites until it reaches soft peak stage.
  6. Drop a spoonful of the whisked egg whites into the cheese-egg yolks mixture and fold it in until well incorporated. Carefully pour the remaining egg whites and continue to fold until all the egg whites have been fully incorporated and the there are no more traces egg whites visible.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, level the top and tap the tin on the counter top a couple of times to remove any air bubbles.
  8. Place the cake tin in the water bath and bake at 140 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 125 degrees Celsius and continue baking for another 55 minutes. Once the cake is done, turn off the oven but leave the cake in the oven for 10 minutes. Continue to leave the cake to cool in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes with the oven door ajar before removing the cake out of the oven. Turn the cake out of the cake tin and let it cool to room temperature.
  9. The cake can be served plain or with a light dust of icing sugar. Keep leftovers refrigerated.

Japanese cheesecake with simple icing dredge design.Japanese Cheesecake Recipe - Japanese Cotton Cheesecake Recipe

And that is my Japanese cheesecake recipe for you. 

Happy Baking :)

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