Gluten Free Japanese Cheesecake

Gluten Free Japanese Cheesecake

Gluten Free Japanese Cheesecake

Unless you’ve had perfect, cotton-soft Japanese cheesecake before in your life, this gluten free Japanese Cheesecake is going to be the softest, lightest cheesecake you’ve ever had. No contest. I like to think of it as the perfect cross between a traditional, New York cheesecake and a sponge cake—with all the taste of the cheesecake (love) and the texture of the sponge cake (so light!).

Gluten Free Japanese Cheesecake

The method has a couple extra steps to it, but I take you through it in painstaking detail so you’ve nothing to worry about at all. And you’ll be rewarded. Richly.

Gluten Free Japanese Cheesecake, Step by Step

This recipe has four components: 1. Prep, where we preheat the oven, set up the pans, sift together the dry ingredients, and boil some water for the water bath in which we’ll bake the cake. 2. Make the cream cheese batter, where we’ll heat and combine the milk, butter and cream cheese with the egg yolks, without scrambling the yolks, and then combine with the dry ingredients. 3. Make the meringue and combine, where we’ll beat the egg whites with sugar until soft peaks from before folding it into the cream cheese batter before, finally, we 4. Bake and chill the cake. All of the ingredients are basic pantry-style ingredients. We are just combining them in different ways to achieve a particularly extraordinary result.

Gluten Free Japanese Cheesecake

Read through the recipe directions fully before you begin. Gather your ingredients at the proper temperatures and then relax. It’s going to be spectacular!

A few ingredient notes:

  • I have tested this recipe using an all purpose gluten free flour blend, like Better Batter, and it simply did not hold its rise as the cream cheese batter was too gummy to fully incorporate the meringue.
  • The 1/8 teaspoon of xanthan gum I recommend adding helps the cake hold its shape and rise.
  • You simply can’t make this recipe without eggs. So sorry!
  • I haven’t tested this recipe with light cream cheese, and I’m afraid it would yield a dense result. But feel free to experiment, as always!
  • You can replace cream of tartar with 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Its purpose is to help the meringue hold its shape.
  • I think any sort of milk would work, as long as it’s not nonfat! I also think that a nondairy butter replacement would work fine, but I’m not sure about the cream cheese alternative!

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 9-inch cake


6 tablespoons (54 g) basic gum-free gluten free flour blend (36 grams superfine white rice flour + 12 grams potato starch + 6 grams tapioca starch/flour)

1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum (recommended, but optional)

1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch

5 egg yolks, at room temperature

100 ml (6 tablespoons + 2 1/3 teaspoons) milk

3 1/2 tablespoons (50 g) unsalted butter, chopped

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 egg whites (about 6 ounces), at room temperature

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar


  • Prep. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Place a large roasting pan near the stove, and set about 8 cups of water to boil. Once the water has boiled, keep it covered but turn off the heat. Into a small bowl, sift the flour blend, optional xanthan gum, and cornstarch to combine and eliminate any clumps. Set the bowl aside. Grease a standard 9-inch round cake pan, and place a round of unbleached parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. Create a “collar” of parchment paper around the sides of the pan, reaching about 2 inches above the lip of the pan. Alternatively, place a large rectangle of parchment paper into the greased pan and up the sides, slicing the sides of the paper periodically to help the sides lay flat against the pan. Set the pan aside.

  • Make the cream cheese and egg yolk batter. Place the egg yolks in a medium-size heat-safe bowl, and set them next to the stovetop. Set a large mixing bowl right next to that. In a medium-size saucepan, place the milk, butter and salt. Bring to a light simmer on the stovetop over medium heat, then add the cream cheese and lemon juice. Turn off the heat and whisk until the cream cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth. Add about half of the warm cream cheese and milk mixture to the bowl of egg yolks very, very slowly, whisking the egg yolks constantly. This will temper the egg yolks with the hot liquid so that they don’t scramble. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining cream cheese mixture and whisk to combine. Pass the cream cheese and egg yolk mixture through a strainer and into the large mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix to combine well. The mixture will be thick but smooth and soft.

  • Make the meringue. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, place the egg whites and beat on medium speed until frothy. With the mixer still on medium speed, add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until the egg whites have nearly doubled in volume. Add the granulated sugar in a slow but steady stream, and increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Continue to beat until the mixture forms soft and glossy peaks (about 5 minutes of beating total). Soft peaks are peaks that form, and then slowly fold over on themselves.

  • Combine the batter with the meringue. Fold the meringue carefully into the cream cheese batter in three parts, taking care not to deflate the meringue. Pour the mixture into the center of the prepared pan and spread into an even layer with a silicone spatula.

  • Bake the cake. Place the cake pan in the center of the roasting pan from Step 1, and place on the bottom rack of the preheated oven. Pour the hot water into the roasting pan until it reaches about 2/3 of the way up the sides of the baking pan. Close the oven door and bake the cake, undisturbed, until the top is lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs attached (about 1 hour 20 minutes). Turn off the oven and, with the cake still in it, leave the oven door open about 3 inches. Allow the cake to sit in the oven for 20 minutes or until the oven temperature has fallen below 200°F. The cake will fall a bit as it cools.

  • Chill the cake. Remove the pan from the oven, pour off the water and dry the bottom of the cake pan. Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour. Invert the cake onto parchment-lined plate. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom and sides of the cake, and re-invert the cake onto a serving platter. Remove the final piece of parchment paper. Slice in only one direction (i.e., do not saw back and forth) and serve chilled.

  • Adapted from Green Cilantro.



P.S. Don’t forget to preorder Gluten Free Classic Snacks! The official publication date is in 2 weeks, and preorders will almost certainly arrive sooner!!

Comments are closed.

  • youngbaker2002
    March 30, 2015 at 10:08 PM

    this looks amazing nicole! i’m going to make this for my birthday this April. i’ll let you know how it turns out. :) -mena

  • Autumn
    March 30, 2015 at 10:49 AM

    This would be fabulous for a bridal shower I am hosting. Do you think it would work well in mini muffin or regular muffin size? How would one go about that?

  • Mona Bale
    March 25, 2015 at 4:48 PM

    can arrowroot be substituted for the cornstarch?

  • March 25, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    Wow I’ve never even heard of Japanese Cheesecake but wow this sounds delicious. Once upon a time I ate a lot of cheesecake hehe, perhaps for Easter this could be something I could share ;)

  • Phyllis Hayes
    March 25, 2015 at 7:25 AM

    Can you use a different
    size pan,e.g.9×13 ot 8″

  • Carole
    March 24, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    Are you having problems with your site ?? Didn’t receive anything this week .So I tried to resubscribe . I’m not sure it took my e mail address.

    • March 24, 2015 at 12:57 PM

      No, Carole, I’m not aware of any problems with the site. Sometimes, the emails will get marked as spam. Try white-listing list [at] glutenfreeonashoestring [dot] com, which is the email address it is sent from, and check your spam folder!

  • Emily P
    March 24, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    Can you sub honey or maple syrup for the sugar?

    • March 24, 2015 at 12:57 PM

      I’m afraid not, Emily. Honey and maple syrup have moisture that granulated sugar does not. You would have to modify the other ingredients as well.

  • Lynn Elliott
    March 24, 2015 at 9:05 AM

    Can you freeze this? Would love to make it for Easter.

    • March 24, 2015 at 12:58 PM

      Actually, yes, Lynn! It freezes quite nicely. Be sure it’s completely cool, refrigerate it, and then freeze it. Defrost in the refrigerator before eating.

  • Michelle
    March 23, 2015 at 6:25 PM

    This would be so nice for Easter! Hopefully, it will be strawberry season here by then. I’ll have to go stalk to the field stand. Thanks!

    • March 24, 2015 at 12:59 PM

      Strawberry season is one of my favorite times of year, Michelle!

  • Lucy
    March 23, 2015 at 6:16 PM

    Looks so light and delicate.

  • Delores Nash
    March 23, 2015 at 3:41 PM

    i don’t have any idea how to make your flour mix-you should sell it

    • Michelle
      March 23, 2015 at 6:23 PM

      It’s very simple. You just get an inexpensive food scale, (usually less than $20 and found in most places that sell housewares, like Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond) and weigh out the different flours, then whisk them together. I usually make 8-10 cups of this blend at a time and store it in a glass jar, because she has a pancake recipe using it that my family loves. You will get best results weighing your flours anytime you bake, as measuring cups don’t give reliable results in gf baking.

      • Michelle
        March 23, 2015 at 6:32 PM

        The easiest way to weigh them is to put your bowl on the scale, zero it out (tare), put in the first flour, zero it out again, put in the second flour, zero it out again, then add the third one.

  • Mare Masterson
    March 23, 2015 at 12:49 PM

    Nicole what size eggs do you use in this recipe? My son and his friends love anything Japanese, so I am sure he would kiss you if he could!

  • Jennifer S.
    March 23, 2015 at 10:43 AM

    man I love cheese cake! this looks sooooo good! :)

    • March 24, 2015 at 12:58 PM

      This is right up your alley, Jennifer!!

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