Strawberry & Apricot Almost Japanese Cheesecake
Welcome to month #4 in my Summer of Strawberry Cake series. Summer may be coming to an end but the hot weather sure isn’t. If you want something delicious but not too decadent, you’re in luck. This Strawberry & Apricot Almost Japanese Cheesecake is just rich enough but will still keep you in shape for swimsuit season— provided you don’t eat the entire cake!
If you’ve never had Japanese cheesecake, you need to run out to an Asian bakery right away. I haven’t had Japanese cheesecake in quite a long time but it isn’t the sort of dessert you easily forget. Unlike Western-style cheesecake, Japanese cheesecake is light and fluffy. Rather than dense and sinfully rich, it’s pillowy soft with a hint of tangy cream cheese.
Honestly, I may just prefer Japanese cheesecake on texture alone.
(Although its calorie-saving nature is definitely a bonus!)
And my strawberry-apricot version will save you even more calories because it uses less cream cheese and less eggs than most recipes. For that reason, I’ve characterized it as “almost Japanese cheesecake” rather than a proper Japanese cheesecake.
No worries. With its swirls of apricot jam and sliced strawberries, my take on this dessert is still wonderfully airy.
And what’s more wonderful than a sweet airy cake?
A sweet airy surprise birthday cake!
I made this cake as a belated birthday surprise for my friend Narwhal.
And no, thankfully her real name isn’t Narwhal. That’s just something I started calling her toward the end of high school…because she thought a narwhal was some sort of pokémon and not a real animal…
We met up at Noodle Gourmet, my favorite bubble tea place in New Brunswick but after the cake reveal, we ultimately ended up at her favorite bubble tea place, I’s Café.
I’s Café was a super cute place to eat the cake and the barista was kind enough to make me an iced red bean tea even though it wasn’t on the actual menu. (She did use red bean paste rather than powder so it was a little gritty near the bottom but still enjoyable.)
Because I didn’t want her to have to carry a huge cake back home, I just made a little 8″ by 4″ bar. If you want more cake, double the recipe but add an extra egg white and adjust the neufchâtel cheese to 6 ounces.
I used one pan so I only placed sliced strawberries on half the cake. If you want to make an 8″ by 8″ layer cake, slice enough strawberries to cover the entire top of your base cake.
Alternatively, if you prefer the look of a strawberry mosaic to apricot jam swirls, feel free to cover all your batter.
Bonus: If you’re worried about cracks in your cheesecake, blanketing it with strawberries is a delicious solution!
STRAWBERRY & APRICOT ALMOST JAPANESE CHEESECAKE
Author: Allspice & Ally
Recipe Type: Dessert
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Unlike dense Western-style cheesecake, Japanese cheesecake is a soft and fluffy cloud of a dessert. My calorie saving version has less cream cheese and eggs— perfect for a sparing sweet tooth! Served as a layer cake sandwiching strawberry compote, it’s a nod to New York Cheesecake while the swirls of apricot jam lend a punch of sweetness to the lightly tangy cake.
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 oz. neufchâtel cheese or light cream cheese
3 tablespoon butter, cubed
2 eggs, separated
1/8 cup milk
1/8 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon + 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 cup apricot preserves, warmed
1/3 cup strawberries, sliced
Strawberry Compote Ingredients
1 cup frozen strawberries, defrosted
2 tablespoons sugar
- Beat room temperature neufchâtel cheese with butter and sour cream.
- Slowly add in milk and beat on low speed until smooth.
- Gradually add in 1/8 cup of sugar, egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Sift in cornstarch 1/8 cup of flour.
- In a chilled bowl, whip egg whites with 1/8 teaspoon of lemon juice on high speed until frothy.
- Slowly add in 1/8 cup of sugar and beat until medium peaks form.
- Fold the meringue into the batter in three stages.
- Lay greased parchment paper in an 8″ square pan.
- Pour the batter in the pan and swirl in warmed apricot preserves. Top half the cake batter with sliced strawberries.
- Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes then reduce the temperature to 300°F for 20-25 minutes.
- Turn the oven off and let the cake rest for 30 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the refrigerator until it’s cool enough to cut.
- Slice the cake in half and place the strawberry covered portion on your serving dish.
- Spoon the strawberry compote onto the cake and top with the remaining layer. Serve immediately or keep refrigerated to enjoy within the next few days.
- In a saucepan, combine defrosted strawberries with sugar.
- Bring to a boil and add a pinch of lemon zest.
- Remove from heat once the strawberries have thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Set aside to cool.
Pairs Well With
* If you want more than a 4″ by 8″ cake, double the recipe but add an extra egg white and adjust the neufchâtel cheese to 6 ounces.
* Worried about cracks in your cheesecake? Cook it in a water bath. Or cover the entire cake with strawberries. The pretty apricot swirls won’t be visible but you’ll have a nice strawberry mosaic.
* Short on time? You can forgo the strawberry compote in favor of fresh strawberries. Just layer a mix of sliced and crushed strawberries in between the cake.
* If you want to be absolutely sure the egg whites are stabilized, use cream of tartar instead of lemon juice.
* To recreate the cake photographed above, dust with powdered sugar and top with a whole strawberry.
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