- 8 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 4 egg yolks (at room temperature)
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup granulated sugar+2 Tablespoons for pan
- ½ a large lemon, zested and then juiced (you should yield 2 Tablespoons juice)
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (1.125 ounces) all purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
For the pan:
baking spray or 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and move the oven rack to the middle.
- Liberally grease the inside of your 7½ inch soufflé ramekin with the softened butter using your fingers (you can also use the oil spray).
- Line the ramekin: Cut two strips of parchment paper that are 2½ inches wide and 15 inches in length (this was the length of my parchment roll. It’s fine if yours is a little longer). These strips will form a sling that will help you pull the cake out. Next cut out a 7½ inch circle for the bottom of the pan. Lay the long strips for the sling first, forming a cross, and let any excess paper hang over the sides of the pan. Next place the circle down. (Don’t oil the parchment paper; it will create a wet gooey layer.)
- Combine the milk and heavy cream and microwave for 30 seconds until barely warm.
- Add the cream cheese and butter to a bowl and whisk for a couple minutes until smooth. Add the yolks one at a time, mixing well each time. Then add the heavy cream, milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and flour. Whisk well again.
- Pour the mixture through a strainer into another bowl to make sure there are no lumps of flour or coagulated egg. Mix in lemon peel, lemon juice, and vanilla. Set aside.
- In a clean bowl, add the egg whites and beat on medium speed (6 on a stand mixer) for a couple of minutes until they become foamy.
- Add the sugar in a very slow stream while the egg whites continue to beat. Raise the speed to high (8 or 9 on a stand mixer). Beat until soft peaks form. (When you lift the whisk attachment, the meringue forms a peak but then it slowly flops over.)
- Add a third of the meringue to the batter and mix gently using a spatula until the white meringue is completely mixed in. Now pour the lightened batter into the meringue bowl and fold gently until you don’t see unmixed meringue (small streaks are ok).
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
- Place the cake pan in a deep baking tray or a large deep oven safe skillet. Fill the baking tray with cool water about 1½ inches high.
- Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Test the center with a skewer. It should come out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
- Turn off the oven, crack the door open (you can sandwich a kitchen towel in the opening if the oven door will not stay open), and leave the cake in the oven for 1-2 hours to gently cool.
- Remove the cake from the water bath and set it on the kitchen counter.
- Run a thin knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it. Pull the cake out using the slings.
- You can serve the cake at room temperature which is where it will be extra soft and most souffle-like. Otherwise, chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.
- Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.
*Preheating your oven is crucial. Turn on your oven before you start the recipe. If you do not have an automatic beeper letting you know your oven is ready, let your oven heat up for 25 minutes before you start baking. Check that the inside of the oven is the correct temperature as some ovens have a variance between the actual temperature and what the setting indicates.
*My baking setting is automatically set to a convection (or forced fan) oven. If you’re using a standard oven, you may need to cook the cake for 10 minutes longer.
*If you do not have a soufflé ramekin, a 4 inch deep 7 inch cake pan (that is not springform) is best. But if the cake pan has a springform bottom, cover the bottom and side of the cake pan with a large sheet of aluminum foil so that the foil continuously covers the bottom and the side to just below the rim. You want to make sure no batter leaks out and no water leaks into the pan.
*Getting the right texture on the meringue is very important. Soft peaks means when you lift the whisk attachment or dip in a clean spoon, the meringue forms a peak but then slowly folds over. Do not beat too much or you will get a hard peak where the meringue looks very stiff and will actually start to ooze liquid. It will be very difficult to fold this into your base and you will get much less rise in your cake. If you’re not sure, it’s always better to use slightly under beaten eggs than overbeaten.
*The temperature of ingredients is very important in baking. Use room temperature eggs. If your eggs are straight from the fridge, put them in warm water for 10 minutes. Butter should also be room temperature, which normally means you should be able to make an indent if you push a finger into it. In general, room temperature butter should not be greasy soft. But in this case, we are mixing it into cream cheese so it’s fine if it’s very soft.
*A kitchen scale is your best friend when baking because it is the most accurate. If you do not have one, make sure you always stir your dry ingredients before scooping. Never pack flour into a measuring cup. And always level off with the back of a butter knife if using the scooping method.
Keywords: cheesecake, dessert, sweets, holiday, japanese