Riding on my cheesecake-making rampage lately, I tried out the Soufflé Cheesecake recipe posted by another baking mom, Happy Home Baking. It’s probably called “Soufflé” from its low cheese content and a light texture resembling a sponge cake. After trying a few different recipes, I came to a conclusion that for cakes consisting only 125g cream cheese, you can hardly taste the cheese at all. The Golden Condensed Milk Cheesecake that had 200g cream cheese (for an 8in cake) received more oohs and ahhs from my (beloved) testers for the more distinct cheese flavour. The Japanese Cotton Cheesecake that requires 300g cream cheese (for an 8in equivalent cake) received more nods that it can rightfully be named a Cheesecake, albeit still a little faint for the rich-cheesecake lovers.
I think I’d either do without the cream cheese, or make one with at least 250g.
There are essentially three types of meringue – the French meringue, Swiss meringue, and the Italian meringue. The most common meringue type used to fold into cakes batters is the French meringue, which is the only type of uncooked meringue made by whisking sugar and egg whites at ambient temperatures. The two other types require some sort of a heat source while whisking. You can read more about each type of meringue here and here.
Egg whites is made up of 10% protein and 90% water. Since sugar has hydroscopic properties (i.e. the ability to attract and hold water molecules), it interacts with the egg whites to add viscosity and stabilize the whipped egg foam and allows it to hold its shape.
The typical sugar-to-egg whites ratio used for making meringue cookies is 2 tablespoons per egg white, and can also be increased to 4 tablespoons per egg white for hard, crunchy meringue cookies. Hence, if the meringue used in a cake batter were to follow a similar ratio as that of a soft meringue cookie, a 5-egg whites recipe would require 10 tablespoonful (or 140g) of castor sugar. Thankfully, none of the cake recipes that I’ve encountered had required such a high amount of sugar, otherwise I’d have imagine everyone’s faces while eating…
I haven’t tested out the impact that sugar:egg whites ratio has on the looks and texture of meringue but from what I’ve gathered from others’ experience, it seems that regardless of the sugar content, the meringue will still have the capability to reach the desired soft/stiff peak stage and glossiness.
This recipe requires 120g of sugar which I thought was still a tad too much, so I reduced it to 90g and it turned out subtly sweet; sweet enough for most.
I followed the recipe’s instructions on immediately unmoulding the cake pan by inverting on a baking sheet and it didn’t work out for me. The brown thin layer “skin” of the cake condensed and stuck onto the baking sheet when I inverted the back rightside up, leaving the cake looking bare and porous. Perhaps it’d have been better if the cake top was browned a little more so that the “skin” is firmer and wouldn’t stick to anything that it comes in contact with. Or maybe I would let it cool for a couple minutes before unmoulding to avoid a sudden condensation of hot vapour from the cake. Or I would hold the inverted cake pan (wearing oven mits!) for a couple minutes before removing the cake.
Adapted from Happy Home Baking
Ingredients (For an 8in round cake pan):
125g cream cheese, cut into cubes
60g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
5 egg yolks
1tsp lemon juice
75g cake flour
35g corn flour
1tbsp matcha powder
5 egg whites
120g caster sugar (I used 90g)
1/2tsp lemon juice
- Line the base and sides of a 8″ round cake pan with parchment paper (I used a fixed-base cake pan). For the sides, make sure the parchment paper extends higher than the cake pan by about 1.5 inches as the cake will expand and rise above the rim of the pan. Set aside.
- Melt cream cheese and butter using double boiling method (Place cream cheese and butter in a heat-proof bowl and set the bowl over a pot of simmering water). While heating, stir occasionally until mixture is lump-free. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
- Sieve cake flour, corn flour and matcha powder in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Add the egg yolks, one and a time, to the cream cheese and butter mixture and whisk to combine with a balloon whisk.
- Add milk and lemon juice. Whisk to combine.
- Add in the flour mixture and whisk gently to combine. (Small lumps may form once the flour is added; continue whisking the batter gently till there are no lumps. Do not overmix.)
- In a clean and dry mixing bowl, beat egg whites and lemon juice with an electrical mixer on low speed until mixture becomes frothy. Increase speed to medium-low and beat till the mixture reaches soft peaks (a little drippy and resembles soft plops). Add in the sugar gradually in 3 batches and continue beating on medium-high till soft peaks are formed. The soft peak stage is reached when the peaks of the whites curl over and droop slightly. Switch to the lowest speed and beat for another 1 minute to reduce large air bubbles.
- Add the beaten egg whites to the cream cheese mixture in 3 separate additions, each time fold with a rubber spatula (I prefer to use a balloon whisk) until just blended.
- Pour batter into the prepared cake pan. (I pour it slowly at about 20cm height to help remove big air bubbles). Drop the pan a couple times on the countertop to level up the batter and to further remove air bubbles.
- Place the cake pan in a larger baking pan and fill the larger pan with boiling hot water to 1 inch of the cake pan.
- Bake on lower rack of the oven for 60 minutes at 150C.
- Remove cake pan from oven and drop the pan at a height about 20cm onto the countertop. This helps reduces shrinkage upon cooling. Unmould the cake immediately. To unmold, place a large plate or baking sheet on top of the cake pan, invert the cake pan onto the plate/baking sheet. Remove the cake pan and the parchment paper on the base and sides of the cake (Note: do use oven mitten as the cake pan will be very hot). Place a cooling rack on the base of the cake, invert the cake right side up onto the cooling rack and leave to cool completely. Leave the cake to chill in the fridge for about 2 to 3 hours, best overnight, before serving.