September 4, 2010

Zebra Striped Japanese Cheesecake

Doesn't this Japanese cheesecake look really cool?  I think so.  I love the zebra stripes! What makes Japanese style cheesecake different from your usual American version is its light and airy texture and subtle sweetness.  

I do enjoy a slice of New York style cheesecake every now and then, but even the thinnest slice can feel like a ton of bricks because it's so darn dense.  The Japanese interpretation uses a lot less cream cheese and relies on French meringue (egg whites and sugar whipped to soft peaks) to give it  the signature souffle-like fluffiness. 

I'd been yearning to make a Japanese cheesecake for quite some time and my sister found this recipe for me on Not Quite Nigella.   It's actually a combination of two recipes: Japanese cheesecake and Zebra Cake, a popular dessert in Eastern Europe.

The stripe effect is easier to achieve than you might think.  You basically drop spoonfuls of chocolate and vanilla batter alternately in the center of the cake pan, one right after the other.  The batter spreads out by itself and creates the stripe pattern.     

My only disappointment was that the cheesecake deflated once it cooled.  Will have to figure out what happened, but as I always say, "still tastes good!"

Zebra Cheesecake (from Not Quite Nigella)
  • 50g/2 ozs butter
  • 250g/9 ozs cream cheese
  • 100 ml/3 fl ozs milk
  • 60g/2 ozs plain flour
  • 20g/1 oz cornflour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 150g/5 ozs fine granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch process Cocoa (eg Droste)

1. Prepare cake tin. Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of a round  9 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 1/4 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 centre rack of an oven and switch it on to 160C/325F.

2. 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 cornflour, 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 and there is no liquid egg white at the bottom.

3. 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.The most important thing is that the two batters must be of the same consistency for this cake to work.

4. Take your lined springform tin and place 3 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.  It is very important that you don’t tilt the tin, the batter will just spread by itself if they’re of the same consistency. 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.

5. 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 hours or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and the top is golden brown at 160 degrees C (325 degrees F). Chill thoroughly.


  1. I can't wait to bake this! Your picture is great(:

  2. that is very extremely cool

  3. wow! I love the zebra look, can't wait to try it!

  4. You've inspired me to make this lovely cake. It looks wonderful! The 'cheesecake recipe collector' in me is very happy now! :) Petra

  5. Cheesecake is frequently my "go to" recipe when I need to bring a dessert... this one looks amazing! Nicely done.

  6. This looks amazing! Would love to give this a go sometime! Your pictures make my mouth water...

  7. Anonymous10/12/2014

    From the differences that you described, it sounds like I'd much prefer the American version, but I enjoyed learning something new!


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