Petite Hanjuku Cheesecake

As of 28 Mar'17, update to the Hanjuku Cheesecake test-bake (recipe is the same but improvement made to the baking). Click here: http://dreamersloft.blogspot.sg/2017/03/petite-hanjuku-cheesecake-ii.html


I first bought the Hanjuku Cheesecake from Lavender Bakery in JB (Malaysia) a few years back; the cake is bite-size with a mild cheesy and creamy taste and melt-in-the-mouth texture, and my kiddo loved it very much! The thing is we go to Malaysia only once in a while so don't get to eat it as often as we like to.


At the back of my mind, I was thinking of baking it at home but have been procrastinating for the longest time! Subsequently, I even chanced upon a mini cheesecake pan with removable bottom and bought it for this purpose (well, it can be used for quiche and other mini bakes too #excusetobuy) but still didn't get into action. Too many things on my to-bake and to-cook list lah :p

Finally decided to research on recipes and customize one for my specific needs. And as I was browsing the internet, I realised there's a Pastry Snaffle's (from Hakodate) in Singapore (Plaza Singapura) which sells this cake, and Komugi Cafe in Malaysia as well. Note to self: must try the Snaffle's cheesecake one of these days.

Back to recipe researching. Most of the recipes offer full-size cakes but I want bite-size petite cakes as it's easier to eat and store. So yep, I have to make adjustments and do test-bakes once again, reminds me of my Bake Cheese Tarts test-bakes -_-". In the process, I found this cake more challenging than the Bake Cheese Tarts :( (will explain why below).


So basically I adjusted the recipe such that the steps are very similar to my Bake Cheese Tarts, melting and mixing the key ingredients of cream cheese, unsalted butter, yogurt, whipping cream, egg yolk, corn starch and lemon juice together. The difference is, the egg whites are whipped separately with sugar and then folded into the batter, this step is crucial to create the airiness in the cake, the melt-in-the-mouth texture. Next difference is, the cakes are baked using bain-marie method, i.e. hot water bath, in order to have this half-baked creamy texture inside the cake, at low temperature and much longer time.


Baked 4 batches so far. The above was my very first batch which yielded 19 cakes and out of which, only these 6 passed the test in terms of looks. Taste-wise, they were what I'm looking for, mild cheesy and creamy. Texture-wise also good, moist and melt-in-the-mouth.

But the thing is I have to adjust the recipe to 12 cakes to fit my baking pan, plus there was another issue why I will explain below.


Test-bake batch 1
  • Recipe yielded 19 cakes, too much for my 12-hole baking pan, thus have to adjust recipe.
  • No choice have to bake 7 of them in cupcake cases like this and hence, the cake is dried-up with cracks. Thus, it's important that the cakes must be baked submerged in water.
  • Of the 12, I lined only 6 with baking paper to test if it's ok not to line pan (because it's supposed to be a non-stick pan). The cakes without lining stuck a bit to the sides and not very nice when removed.
  • I forgot to line the baking pan with aluminum foil and some water sipped in (the bottoms of each hole are removable), as a result, the cakes got a little wet. The ones lined with baking paper are surprisingly ok, overall moist and very nice shape (I used these for my feature photo). The ones without lining are quite wet though and plus clinging to the sides of the pan, so fail.
Test-bake batch 2
  • Adjusted recipe to fit 12. Checked.
  • This time, lined the baking tray with aluminum foil. Checked.
  • Lined 8 cakes with baking paper and 4 without because I wanted to test again whether the cake can be removed easily (batch 1 was affected because of the water sipping in). 
* The ones without baking paper cracked and cannot be removed properly, and hence it's a must to line each hole.
* The 8 cakes turned out ok, but but some of them cracked on the surface and shrunk in the middle. Was it because of oven temperature or baking time, or the overwhipped egg whites?



Test-bake batch 3
  • Lined baking pan with aluminum foil and all 12 holes with baking paper.
  • Shortened baking time at same temperature.
  • Still, some cakes cracked on the surface, and middle sections shrunk a bit. Overall a bit dry on the outside. Inside is ok.
Test-bake batch 4
  • Lower oven temperature, and increased baking time. 
  • Whipped egg whites to just before soft-peak stage (meringue still flows a bit).
  • This time, all the cakes turned out nice with no cracking tops. Texture and taste also good.
  • But the middle section still shrunk a little bit (top looks ok)!
* I still think that the best result was batch 1 where I didn't line the pan with aluminum foil and some water sipped in. The 6 cakes were in perfect shape. Or is it this baking pan problem that heat couldn't be conducted properly?
*Next round, I want to try not lining with aluminum foil again to see the results.
*Yet to test bake using muffin/cupcake pan (without removable bottom), so will want to test that as well! But the theory should be the same, line the muffin pan with cases, place the whole pan into a deep baking tray, fill with hot water and bake in hot-water bath.

Sorry for the long-winded rant. Below I shall show the baking steps and ingredients proper.



  • 140g cream cheese
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 28g Greek yogurt
  • 22g whipping cream
  • 21g egg yolk
  • 11g corn starch 
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1. Combine cream cheese, unsalted butter, yogurt and whipping cream in a pot/heat-proof bowl over a bigger pot with barely simmering water. Stir till just melted and combined. Do not overcook.
2. Add egg yolk and quickly stir to just combine. Do not overcook.
3. Remove from heat and add sifted corn starch. Stir till combine. Add lemon juice. Stir till combine.

4. Sift the batter to remove any clumps. Set aside.

  • 56g egg white
  • 35g caster sugar
5. In an electric mixer, beat egg whites using whisk attachment on high speed till foamy and gradually add in sugar. Beat till just before soft-peak stage. The meringue lops when whisk is lifted but still flows back. If overwhipped, risk of cake cracking during baking.
6. Fold the egg white meringue gently into the batter in 3 additions, till just combined. Do not overfold.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan set inside another deep baking tray. If using pans with removable bottoms, line pan with aluminum foil. Line each hole of the pan with baking paper as well.
8. Place the entire set of baking tray into preheated oven. Add hot water into the tray till 2/3 height of the baking tray. Bake at 140 degree celsuis top/bottom heat for 50-55 mins. After that, leave the tray inside the oven to cool down till warm to touch before removing from oven. Remove the cakes from the baking pan. The cakes can be eaten warm, at room temperature or best chilled.

*The cakes will shrink a little because there's very little structure (corn starch) to support it. Leaving the cakes to cool down in the oven will help minimise the shrinkage (shock in difference in temperature).
*Yet to test bake using muffin/cupcake pan (without removable bottom), but theory should be the same, line the muffin pan with cases, place the whole pan into a deep baking tray, fill with hot water and bake in hot-water bath. After baking, let the cakes cool inside the oven.

Bought this cute little branding iron stamp from Kappabashi-dori in Tokyo few years ago. This is used traditionally by the Japanese for their confectionery and sweets. I was super tempted to buy this long ago but the traditional ones cost a lot like 8000 yen and up. Recent years they introduced cheaper versions (probably different material) for homebakers like 1500-2000 yen so I quickly grabbed!

The cakes should be stamped after cool down for a nice imprint. Just heat up the iron stamp using stove fire then press gently, there will be a sizzling sound. (I baked my last batch of cakes late night and stamped this morning. Some bits of cake came off and the imprint isn't nice, probably due to moisture on the cake).

This is the baking pan I used. Bought it at Kitchen Capers few years back during their sale. Each hole is 5cm in diameter, with removable bottom piece. Somehow the non-stick property doesn't work well with this cake. Got to test it with other bakes next time.


Petite Hanjuku Cheesecake
(makes 12 petite-size cakes, about 4cm diameter *some shrinkage)
 Ingredients
  • 140g cream cheese
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 28g Greek yogurt
  • 22g whipping cream
  • 21g egg yolk
  • 11g corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 56g egg white
  • 35g caster sugar
Steps
  1. Combine cream cheese, unsalted butter, yogurt and whipping cream in a pot/heat-proof bowl over a bigger pot with barely simmering water. Stir till just melted and combined. Do not overcook.
  2. Add egg yolk and quickly stir to just combine. Do not overcook.
  3. Remove from heat and add sifted corn starch. Stir till combine. Add lemon juice. Stir till combine.
  4. Sift the batter to remove any clumps. Set aside.
  5. In an electric mixer, beat egg whites using whisk attachment on high speed till foamy and gradually add in sugar. Beat till just before soft-peak stage. The meringue lops when whisk is lifted but still flows back. If overwhipped, risk of cake cracking during baking.
  6. Fold the egg white meringue gently into the batter in 3 additions, till just combined. Do not overfold.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan set inside another deep baking tray. If using pans with removable bottoms, line pan with aluminum foil. Line each hole of the pan with baking paper as well.
  8. Place the entire set of baking pan/tray into preheated oven. Add hot water into the tray till 2/3 height of the baking tray. Bake at 140 degree celsuis top/bottom heat for 50-55 mins. After that, leave the tray inside the oven to cool down till warm to touch before removing from oven. Remove the cakes from the baking pan. The cakes can be eaten warm, at room temperature or best chilled.
*The cakes will shrink a little because there's very little structure (corn starch) to support it. Leaving the cakes to cool down in the oven will help minimise the shrinkage (shock in difference in temperature).
*Yet to test bake using muffin/cupcake pan (without removable bottom), but theory should be the same, line the muffin pan with cases, place the whole pan into a deep baking tray, fill with hot water and bake in hot-water bath. After baking, let the cakes cool inside the oven.




This is the last batch (batch 4) that I baked late last night. Stamped the imprint this morning but it didn't work well due to moisture. The cake looks nice on the surface but the sides have shrunk a little.

Frankly still not happy with the result. While I have achieved my desired results in terms of taste (creamy mild cheesy) and texture (light moist melt-in-the-mouth), I'm not satisfied with the looks. I want it to look like the ones in batch 1.

I guess it's back to the scribbling pad and more test bakes again! So upcoming, I will test another batch, and if time allows using a normal muffin/cupcake baking pan lined with muffin case to see how it will turn out.

Well, the thing is I'm super busy next few days with a few projects and travelling next week. Hopefully can squeeze in sometime!  Till then!

3 comments:

Yola said...

Hi,
can I use like 16cm cheesecake pan ? the recipe looks yummy

daydreamer said...

Hi Yola,
I've not tried baking in bigger pan. Yes, probably 16cm (6") or even 5" (12-13cm) pan might work.

Yola said...

thank youuu!!! I let you know the result once I make it..

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