Puffy, silky, and deliciously moist thanks to the silken tofu, you’ll fall in love with this one, and trust me, it’s easier to make than they say. And if you’ve never tried the Japanese specialty, be prepared for something truly unique.
You’ve undoubtedly heard about the super Instagrammable Japanese cheesecake, AKA cotton cheesecake. The jiggly dessert is truly something special. Really, there’s nothing like it!
I also knew nothing of this phenomenal dessert until I came across Trang’s Cotton Cheesecake Recipe from her blog RunAwayRice (full recipe here). It was love at first taste. I just couldn’t believe how fluffy and silky the texture was! Since then I’ve tried many other Japanese Cheesecake recipes (The JustOneCookbook blog has a great recipe, too) and eventually developed my own healthier, higher-protein version so I could feel a bit healthier every time I grab a slice.
The answer was silken tofu, and you know what? It worked.
The secret to its amazing fluffiness is whipping the egg whites first — they’re responsible for the cheesecake’s pillowy texture. Then you just combine silken tofu with cream cheese and bring it all together with egg whites, butter, sugar and other staples — you can’t even taste the tofu on the cheesecake, by the way!
And here’s another thing. By using cornstarch instead of regular flour, you’re making a gluten-free treat as well, and although I handle gluten, I know some of you don’t. So here it is! One of the world’s most exciting cheesecakes in its healthier version possible.
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!
- Tofu – high in protein and nutrient-dense, tofu contains minerals such as calcium, manganese, selenium, zinc, as well as B vitamins. It’s also a “complete protein” because it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids your body needs. A ½ cup serving of firm tofu provides around 8 grams of protein. Definitely a keeper. NOTE: I’ve tried using firm tofu and extra firm tofu, and found that the extra-firm needed a little bit more water. Feel free to add more water if you find that your batter comes out too thick. Also, use Silken Firm Tofu for the best, fluffiest result. Silken Tofu- (firm) like this one
- 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 if you’d like.
- 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.
More Recipes You’ll Love Using Tofu (HERE)
How to Make
Japanese Souffle Cheesecake with Tofu
Whip egg whites with 4 Tbsp sugar, set aside.
In a new bowl, whip the cream cheese with the tofu and 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, fold in the whipped egg whites from step 1 to the cream cheese mixture using a silicone spatula. Being careful not to overmix.
The resulting batter will have a thin, liquidy consistency.
Pour into a parchment-lined square pan
Bake in a water bath for best results (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!
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
- 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.
- You can also bake this in a springform pan, instead of a square pan.
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.
Click for More Souffle Cheesecake Recipes (HERE)
- Be sure to use silken tofu for the silkiest results.
- 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.
More Cheesecake Recipes
Japanese Souffle Cheesecake with Tofu
- 5 large egg whites room temperature
- 4 Tbsp granulated sugar*
- 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
- 1/2 pkg of silken firm tofu
- 5 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 Tbsp butter softened at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 c cornstarch
- 5 large egg yolks
- Whip egg whites with 4 Tbsp sugar, set aside.
- In a new bowl, whip the cream cheese with the tofu and 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.