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Saturday, 9 April 2011

Say Cheese!

I guess there's no way one can run away from growing up in every aspect of life, it comes so naturally. In this case, it was getting into a tougher baking horizon (at least by my standards) after getting tired of the more classic bakes. I tried my hand on the Japanese Cheesecake. I love this cake, thanks to the ever innovative nature of the Japanese, their version of the cheese cake is so much lighter without compromising the cheesy taste, silky or creamy texture. For me, this is no piece of cake (pun intended :)) although other bloggers may disagree, you need to master the techniques of making a chiffon cake plus the know-how of baking with cheese. After what I thought could qualify as a decent chiffon (on the 3rd bake with 1 total failure) did I attempt this :)

Part 1 - The Sponge
Beating egg whites, this is one great challenge. Before this I didn't know that one could whack egg whites until they look like cream :) Seeing it turn into cream was quite satisfying (at least you know that you are on the right path), then came the next question, when do you stop beating? Some say beat until soft peak but others say stiff peak?? Assuming that you have decided whether to reach soft/stiff peak, the next question would be how to make sure it's there??? My first attempt went one full cycle and got back to where it started, the cream became watery again :(

The number of blogs that I read, pictures that I scrutinized, videos that I watched on youtube... it's amazing how the Internet is such a great source for self-learning. Having said that, my maiden attempt was still a disaster :(

Part 2 - Water Bath
Learnt something new here too, water bath for cakes! Never thought they needed baths! Cheese cakes need to be bake in a water bath by putting the pan with the batter into another bigger pan that is filled with water. This method ensures the the cheese is baked gently so that it won't darken, curdles or crack. With this comes the worry of water seeping into the batter. However, this is easier to overcome (with a trick or two) than beating egg whites to the right consistency for sure!

Final Worry
The final worry (with some other worries in between) would be whether your cake will shrink. Read that it's normal if it shrinks a little but not to the extend of half it's size and i dread those creases that it creates when it shrinks. It's so heartbreaking to see your beauty turn into an ugly duckling.

Fortunately, the first attempt didn't turned out too bad, the only setback was it shrunk more than what I hoped it would. But I am really glad i tried it, it tasted better than I thought it would. I tried this a second time, shared it with 2 friends and they loved it too. There's going to be a third time for sure as I have decided that this will be my choice for an upcoming birthday :) I hope it will be perfect by then.

I am not sharing any recipe for this one, simply because I am no expert and I made lots of references before attempting it. If you are interested to give it an attempt, try this one, it comes with tips and tricks. Good luck!


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