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Japanese cheesecake

One of my favourite things to make in the summer to pair with freshly cut seasonal strawberries. It’s super light, fluffy and just sweet enough to enjoy after a big meal.

This recipe is from my second book, Sugar, I love you.

(Makes a 20cm (8in) cheesecake)

  • 60g unsalted butter, plus extra for the tin

  • 100ml whole milk

  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways, seeds scraped out (or 1sp vanilla extract)

  • 250g full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 60g plain flour

  • 15g/1 tbsp cornflour

  • ¼ tsp fine salt

  • 170g caster sugar

  • 6 medium eggs separated

  • Finely grated zest and juice ½ unwaxed lemon

  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar

  • Icing sugar to dust


Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6 (don’t use a fan). It’s important to use a cake tin that doesn’t have a loose bottom; preferably choose a good-quality non-stick 20cm (8in) tin that is quite deep. Line the base with a circle of baking paper and generously butter the sides.

Gently melt the butter into the milk in a saucepan, add the vanilla seeds and set aside.

Prepare a bain-marie by placing a saucepan of water on the stove and putting a large heatproof bowl on top, making sure the bowl isn’t touching the water. Put the cream cheese into the bowl and stir with a whisk until it is smooth and slightly runny.

Separately stir together the flour, cornflour and salt.

Remove the cream cheese bowl from the heat and whisk in half the sugar, followed by the eggs yolks, then pour in the milk and melted butter. Add the lemon zest and juice.

Sift over the dry ingredients and stir with a whisk, making sure there are no lumps.

Make a French meringue by placing the cream of tartar into the egg whites in a clean bowl. Whisk until frothy, then add the remaining sugar and whisk until you reach soft peak stage.

Whisk one-third of the meringue into the cream cheese mixture, then gently fold in the rest in 2 batches. We want to keep this mixture light and delicate, so do not overwork it. When folding, make sure you are constantly touching the bottom of the bowl, as parts will start to settle there if not.

Pour this mixture gently into the prepared cake tin.

Bake this in a bain-marie. Boil a kettle. Slide this into the oven. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting tin to reach halfway up the side. (Do not keep the oven open for too long or you will lose a lot of heat.)

Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 140C/gas mark 1 (again, with no fan) and bake for a further 30 minutes. Turn the oven off.

After 20 minutes in the turned off oven, take the cheesecake out of the roasting tin and immediately remove the cheesecake from its tin by flipping out onto your hand and then onto a wire cooling rack. Be cautious there: if you are too forceful you will get a hand print in your cheesecake.

Allow to cook fully before dusting with icing sugar.

The cheesecake keeps really well in the fridge, Ravneet thinks it gets better after a day in there.


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