People often ask me whether I've taken my love for cooking from my grandmother. I wouldn't say so really. Often I think she could be a great cook but chooses not to. It's too bad she doesn't really like to spend all that time in the kitchen (or perhaps it's a good thing - otherwise I'd have been pretty big). Growing up though, I do remember her being pretty 'famous' amongst her group of friends for some of her specialties. And Japanese cheesecake is one of them. People could call and order cheesecakes from her and I recall her bringing taking those cotton soft cheesecakes out from the oven and her friends gasping with delight at the sight of them.
This cake tastes as good as it looks. Or better. It has a soft delicate flavor that is so addictive!
2 oz. butter
9 oz. cream cheese
3 oz. milk
2 oz. flour
1 oz. Corn flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
5 oz. sugar
6 eggs separated
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
2 tbsp. Cocoa
Prepare cake tin. Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of a round 12 inch springform tin with greaseproof baking paper or parchment paper). Wrap two layers of foil around the tin to prevent water seeping in. Find a large baking dish that will fit the springform tin. Fill the empty baking dish ¼ of the way full with water and place the baking dish with water (don’t put the lined springform tin in just yet) in the center rack of an oven and switch it on to 325.
Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler-use whisk to get out any lumps. Cool the mixture over an ice bath. Fold in the flour, the corn flour, 6 egg yolks, lemon juice and mix well. Whisk 6 egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.
Add one third of the egg white mixture to the cheese mixture to loosen. Then add the rest in third batches and mix well and ensure that the egg whites are thoroughly combined gently by folding-there should be no streaks at all. Divide the batter evenly in two and in one bowl, sift the cocoa in it and combine well using a folding action.
This is the fun bit. Take your lined springform tin and place tablespoons of cream colored batter in a circle in the center of the tin. Then take 3 tablespoons of the chocolate batter and place in the center. Keep adding circles and the batter will spread of its own accord. Don’t tilt the tin, it will just spread by itself. Keep adding 3 tablespoon circles of batter until both of the batters are used. If you don’t divide them evenly like I did and I had too much cream batter left over, I just stopped adding it and baked the leftover separately as I didn’t want to ruin the zebra effect.
Carefully transfer the cheesecake into the water bath in the oven making sure not to tilt the cheesecake. Bake cheesecake in the water bath for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown at 325. Chill thoroughly.