If you're looking for a cheesecake recipe that's packed with protein, nutritious and filling, here's one cheesecake you won't want to miss: Greek Yogurt Japanese Cotton Cheesecake.
The secret to the velvety and fluffy texture of a Japanese Cotton Cheesecake is none other than whipped egg whites! The combination of meringue + cream cheese + greek yogurt turns cheesecake into a silky, fluffy dessert. It's absolutely perfect with a bit of lemon zest and fresh fruit. You won't be able to resist having a second slice.
Ingredients Used to Make This
**I've linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Cream Cheese - I used a reduced fat cream cheese (aka Neufchâtel cheese), but you can also use full fat cream cheese for a creamier texture.
- Sugar – I like using light-colored sweeteners such as raw cane sugar in this recipe because it doesn't affect the color of the final product. Coconut, date, and maple sugars are less processed, more natural granulated sugars, but it results in a browner, darker donut so I don't recommend them here. I usually use honey powder, since it's light in color as well as less processed. For this recipe I have not yet tried using a sugar free substitute, so keep that in mind if you're feeling adventurous!
- Greek Yogurt – Greek yogurt is an ingredient that I use to lighten up my other cake, muffins and quick bread recipes, but in this recipe, it's what gives it the creamy density. I like using the Fage brand because of its thicker consistency. I used non-fat, but you can also use full fat.
- If you'd like to use regular yogurt / sour cream or a plant-based or non-dairy yogurt (like coconut yogurt) just remember that these yogurts have more liquid than greek yogurt. So if substituting, it's crucial that you strain the extra liquid (best if strained overnight over a cheesecloth) before you measure and use it in the recipes.
- Water - room temperature water is fine. If you'd like to make this cheesecake richer you can also use almond milk, regular milk or even half and half.
- Butter - softened at room temperature. You can also a vegan butter.
- Eggs - large eggs, with the yolks separated from the whites.
- Cornstarch - while traditional souffle cheesecakes DO use wheat flour, I've found that cornstarch is enough to keep the cake fluffy, creamy, as well as gluten-free. Feel free to use arrowroot flour if you don't have it at home.
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How to Make
Japanese Cotton Cheesecake made with Greek Yogurt
Whip egg whites with ¼ cup of sugar, set aside.
In a new bowl, whip the cream cheese with greek yogurt and 5 Tbsp sugar until light and fluffy. Add the water, lemon juice and butter to the cream cheese mixture. Whisk well, or use a hand mixer or standing mixer to ensure even mixing. Now add the corn starch and egg yolks and whisk until well incorporated.
Finally, carefully fold in the whipped egg whites from step 1 to the cream cheese mixture using a silicone spatula.
The resulting batter will have a thin, liquid consistency.
Bake in a preheated 320F oven for 50 minutes. Usually, cheesecakes are baked in a water bath, but this step is not required if you don't mind the cracks on the top -- we'll be covering the top with sifted powdered sugar.
Carefully remove from the cake pan once the cake is cool enough to handle. For best results, let the cake cool and rest overnight in the fridge before eating! Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with fresh fruit, such as figs.
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
- Lemon Greek Yogurt - add 1 Tbsp of fresh lemon zest into the batter with the cream cheese mixture.
- Love Chocolate? Just add 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder with the cornstarch, and fold in some chocolate chips to the batter at the very end.
- Are you a Coffee or mocha fan? Add either a teaspoon of coffee extract or espresso powder into the cream cheese mixture.
- Chai or Cardamom Cheesecake: Try adding a tsp of Cardamom Powder or Chai Tea Powder to the batter with the other dry ingredients.
- With natural flavoring / extracts. Feel free to add a teaspoon of vanilla extract (I didn't feel like it was essential so I left it out in this recipe), or other flavorings or extracts, such as caramel flavoring, hazelnut extract or almond extract. You can also try lemon extract, orange peel, or peppermint extract.
What are some ways you can eat these?
- Plain and warm, served with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream
- Drizzled with honey, maple syrup, caramel or chocolate syrup
- Dusted with powdered sugar or sugar-free powdered sugar. Just make sure you use a sieve to sift the sugar on top!
How to Store
- You can store these cakes covered at room temperature for up to 6 hours. For longer storage, you can place them in an airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze up to 4 months.
- Be sure to use strained greek yogurt for the best texture.
- Be sure to have your cream cheese, butter and eggs at room temperature.
- Use batter right away after prep. They will deflate over time, so I've found that you don’t want the batter sitting out on the counter for too long.
- Baking time (as well as serving size) will vary based on the size of your baking pan, the material (silicone vs metal) of the pan. Bake the cake until the color is golden-brown on the top, or until a toothpick comes out clean/dry when poked into the middle.
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Greek Yogurt Japanese Cotton Cheesecake
- Whip egg whites with ¼ cup sugar, set aside.
- In a new bowl, whip the cream cheese with the greek yogurt and 5 Tbsp sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the water, lemon juice and butter to the cream cheese mixture. Whisk well, or use a hand mixer or standing mixer to ensure even mixing.
- Now add the corn starch and egg yolks and whisk until well incorporated.
- Finally, gently fold in the whipped egg whites from step 1 to the cream cheese mixture
- Pour the batter into a parchment lined 8 inch springform pan, then bake in a 320F preheated oven for 50 minutes. Use a water bath for the best results, but not required.