Last fall, I was invited to join a group of NYC bloggers to participate in a baking challenge for Walkers Shortbread. The company graciously sent me about 20 boxes of shortbread cookies, so I could come up with a recipe. Unfortunately, the event got postponed due to hurricane Sandy, giving me more time to “test out recipes” (read: eat more cookies). My entry: a fluffy Japanese cheesecake with green tea and fresh berries infused in lavender.
This past week, all the participants gathered in one room to meet and to enjoy each other’s creations while 3 judges tasted and judged each entry to pick a favorite. We ate cheese and crackers, drank wine, got sugar shocked from all the desserts, then ate some more cheese and crackers. It was glorious, what can I say?
As for the results: I tied for third place with Emily from Nomivorious, who made a Tipsy Banana Cream Pie. Alejandra of Always Order Dessert got 2nd place with her pear and chocolate tart. Kayla from The Cooking Actress won first prize with vanilla & honey shortbread pie. She got a $500 American Express gift card and 2 tickets to Summer Fancy Food Show. Congratulations, Kayla!
Now, onto the recipe. I named it Cloud 9 cheesecake because it’s like walking on cloud 9! The cheesecake is light, velvety smooth with a hint of sweetness. If you like your cakes sweet, feel free to increase the amount of sugar. Unlike a New York style cheesecake, this is lightened with fluffy egg whites. This recipe is very forgiving so if you happen to mess up the meringue, it’s no big deal! I will do a post on lavender infused fruit at another time.
Fluffy Japanese Green Tea Cheesecake (Cloud 9 cheesecake)
Makes 8 servings
The crust on this cake will be a softer consistency than other cheesecakes you might be used to. But it’s also really good so I don’t think you will mind!
1 5.3 oz box of Walkers Pure Butter Vanilla Shortbread
1 stick of butter (at room temperature)
1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar
1 stick of Philadelphia cream cheese
1 cup of whole milk
½ cup + 1 teaspoon of cake flour
2 tablespoons of corn starch
1 1/2 teaspoons of green tea powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
5 eggs (separated) – room temperature
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
2/3 cup of white sugar
Handheld mixer or stand mixer
Spring form pan
Large foil tray (enough to fit the spring form pan)
Handful of fresh raspberries
Handful of fresh blackberries
Green tea powder
For the crust:
1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
2. Crush up box of Walkers Shortbread in a medium sized bowl with a wooden spoon. Add 1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter. Mix until well combined.
3. Generously spread about ½ tablespoon of butter all over the bottom of the spring form pan.
4. Add crushed up shortbread into the spring form pan. Using a spoon, press down evenly to make a flat, even crust.
5. Place crust in the oven and bake for 5-6 minutes, or until slightly darker in color. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
For the cake:
1. In a small pot, add remaining 5.5 tablespoons of butter, cream cheese and milk over medium low heat. Stir until well combined. Immediately remove from heat to cool. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, sift flour, corn starch and green tea powder. Make sure there are no clumps. Set aside.
3. Add egg whites to a stand mixer bowl (or hand held mixer). Add whipping attachment. Beat at speed 1 (low) for about 3 minutes. Once egg whites start to foam, add lemon juice. Increase speed to medium. Continue to beat until egg whites are white and fluffy, another 5 minutes or so. When soft peaks form, add 2/3 cup of sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until stiff peaks form.
4. Add egg yolks and the green tea mixture to the cream cheese mixture from step 1. Slowly combine whipped egg whites, in thirds, to the mixture.
5. Wrap the bottom of the spring form pan with 2 layers of foil to prevent water from seeping in. Use a large rubber band to make it even sturdier. Butter the sides of the spring form pan.
6. Pour cheesecake batter into the pan over the pre-baked crust. Place cheesecake pan in a larger baking pan. Slowly add boiling water, until about 2/3 of the way.
7. Bake at 325 F for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean in the middle. Don’t open the oven door as sudden temperature changes will make the cake collapse. The cake will shrink and form a brown crust on top. Turn off oven and leave oven door with a wooden handle for 10 minutes.
8. Remove spring form pan from water bath. Leave it in the pan and set aside to cool at room temperature uncovered, for about 2 hours.
9. Once completely cooled, place cheesecake in the fridge for at least 8 hours. Before serving, remove foil and unmold cheesecake by sliding a knife across the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cake plate.
10. Serve with extra green tea powder and berries on top.
Major thanks to the Walkers Shortbread team and Brittany from the PR team for allowing me to be part of such a fun event!
Disclaimer: I was provided with the opportunity to come up with a recipe using this product at no cost to me. No monetary compensation has been granted for writing a recipe. I do not write on behalf of anyone else; all thoughts and opinions are my own.