There are two types of cheesecakes that are popular in Japan: traditional New York style, and “souffle” type cheesecake. Unlike very “cheesy” New York style cheesecake, souffle is light and spongy because it uses beaten egg whites. Souffle type is becoming popular in North America in part because of Uncle Tetsu‘s cheesecake, Japanese bakery that offers a typical Japanese souffle cheesecake, leveraging basic/simple ingredients.
Japanese people love sweets that are soft, light, spongy and fluffy. Cheesecake is no exception. And it seems like the world is now also falling in love with it. Actually it is better for your health, because you will probably reduce the intake of sugar, fat or other “guilty” ingredients from your diet by switching to fluffy sweets. Why? Because you’d be eating air instead of sugar, flour, butter or cream. Air is zero sugar, zero fat and zero calories.
In order to achieve a light and fluffy texture, you would have to create a lot of void in the batter. And this is usually achieved by adding beaten egg whites. Beaten egg whites are used to make spongy cakes, such as strawberry shortcakes, but Japanese went on to apply it to cheesecakes. Since they are crazy about fine-tuning texture, they eventually came up with a very airy and wobbly cheesecake that feels like it is melting in your mouth. The smoothness of cheese adds extra pleasure when it lands on your tongue.
Obviously, the texture plays a trick on your appetite. Since your tongue is too busy enjoying the pleasure delivered by the texture, your attention is diverted from the actual amount of ingredients you are ingesting. How much you eat is no longer that important to determine your satisfaction from eating a cheesecake.
I compared the typical amount of cream cheese and sugar used for the recipes of New York cheesecake available on Allrecipes.com, and the recipes of Japanese souffle cheesecake on Cookpad (equivalent of Allrecipes in Japan).
New York style: 4 (8 oz or 907 grams) packs of cream cheese, and 1 1/2 ~ 1 3/4 cup sugar. Serves 12-16 people.
Souffle style: 200 grams of cream cheese, and 60 grams of sugar. Serves 6-8 people.
If I do straight math, one serving of NY style includes about 56~75 grams of cream cheese and 10~15 grams of sugar. The soufflé type includes about 25 ~33 grams of cream cheese, and 6 ~ 7.5 grams of sugar. Although this is not an apples-to-apples comparison, you should be able to feel the magnitude of the fluffiness effect.
Rough comparison of cream cheese and sugar for NY style cheesecake (left) and Japanese souffle cheesecake (right)
Deliciousness is not only a function of the amount of ingredients that you love. If we leverage other factors such as texture that enhance the pleasure of eating, we won’t have to rely on too much sugar, fat, salt or other dangerously addictive ingredients.
Would you like to try Japanese souffle cheesecake? Go find the recipe from the link below. (Just so as you know, this recipe does not rise as high as the above video because it does not use flour: it’s a gluten-free recipe.)