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Airy/fluffy cheesecake?

It's the BF's birthday tomorrow and his favorite cake is a simple cheesecake + strawberries. He's a pretty big fan of the Cheesecake Factory's version, but we recently came across another restaurant's cheesecake that he has declared to be his new reigning favorite. It was described on the menu as "A lighter, fluffier version of its New York cousin", and that's exactly what it was -- all the richness and decadence of a NY cheesecake, but with a light and fluffy texture.

I've come across various tips for a light cheesecake -- ricotta, mascarpone, whipping the egg whites first, etc, but lack the time + resources to test all of them out. Please share any tried-and-true recipes for your favorite airy and fluffy cheesecakes!

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  1. Was it like a Japanese style cheesecake?

    1 Reply
    1. re: bluemoon4515

      Nope, it wasn't -- it wasn't cloud-like with its airiness, just noticeably softer than the NY style I typically get. I imagine a change of ingredients or a specific technique would do the job, I'm just not sure which one ):

    2. Use the basic cheesecake recipe at Philadelphia Cream Cheese site
      http://www.kraftrecipes.com/kf/recipe...

      This recipe doesn't call for flour or any other starch (adding flour/starch sets up to a more firm, NY-style cheesecake). Add a little sour cream and/or whipping cream (up to 4 oz each. Bake the crust at 325 then turn the heat down to 300 to bake the cake. Put a pan in the bottom of the oven and pour some boilling water into it when you put the cheesecake in the oven (waterbath).

      It should take about an hour to bake - it will be done when the sides are somewhat firm but the center still jiggles a bit. Don't over-bake it as that will cause it to crack. Cool it on a rack on the counter until cool (or leave in the oven after turning the oven off), then refrigerate in the pan for at least 4 hours (overnight is better). Then add your topping.

      All the regular cheesecake tips apply - use room temp cream cheese and eggs, thoroughly beat the cream cheese until very smooth, add the eggs one at a time and only beat each egg until just incorporated, minimal beating after adding eggs.

      There's a link to an how-to video at the site.

      1. I grew up on a fluffy cheesecake- the recipe I use is one my mother got from her aunt, it's nice and tall and fluffy because you beat the egg whites. It has a subtle citrus flavor, but you can put a fruit glaze on top if you want, after it is cooled. The slow cooling is important to make sure it doesn't crack!

        Crust:
        2 Tbsp butter
        1.5 cups fine zweiback crumbs (I use graham crackers)
        2 Tbsp sugar

        Combine and press into bottom of 9" spring pan.

        Filling:
        2 packages 8-oz cream cheese (softened to room temp)
        1 cup sugar
        5 egg yolks, unbeaten
        2 cups thick sour cream
        1 tsp vanilla
        1 tsp lemon juice
        5 egg whites, beaten stiff

        Blend sugar & cheese until well combined and smooth. Add yolks, sour cream, vanilla, and lemon juice; mix well until smooth. Beat egg whites until stiff, and fold into mixture. (Whisk in a little first to lighten then fold in the rest)
        Pour into 9" spring pan, with your favorite crust.

        Bake 1 hr @ 300. Turn off heat, and let cake remain 1 hr longer with door closed. Open door and let cake remain at least 1/2 hour longer. Cool and then chill several hours, overnight if possible.

        9 Replies
        1. re: another_adam

          Dear Adam,

          This is the very best looking fluffy cheesecake I've ever made...I followed the recipe and it was easy and the aroma and the height were promising....I haven't tried it as I am lactose intolerant but I made it for my daughter for her Birthday today...she always wants cheesecake and I've always made her the no bake but she wanted the baked one so...i look this up and WOW....thanks sooo much

          Elena

          1. re: Elenadibologna

            Glad it worked! I realize I'm biased because it's the one I grew up with, but I have to say, I'm always disappointed when I make other recipes that seem like more work for less consistent results. I think as long as the eggs are room temperature when you start, it's hard to go wrong with it!

          2. re: another_adam

            Thank you for sharing the recipe, Adam! The texture turned out to be EXACTLY what I was looking for, and it baked up so perfectly -- no cracks whatsoever, great flavor. I made a quick strawberry sauce to go on top and it got rave reviews from everyone who tried it. It's the first cheesecake I've ever made; I couldn't have been more pleased with it! :)

            1. re: another_adam

              I made this for a post BBQ dessert as my dh requested a baked cheesecake. I didn't want anything too heavy and this turned out to be very good. I did slightly alter it - as I only had 1 cup of sourcream, I added a tub of ricotta to make up the 2 cups, and I added a dash more lemon juice as the flavour was a bit flat (which makes sense as ricotta is blander than sour cream). I was careful to drain all the liquid (whey) off the various cheeses before I mixed them so that the mixture wouldn't be too wet. Also I decided that adding 5 whisked egg whites might make it too high, and I just wanted a lightened cheesecake texture, so I whisked up approx. 3 whites and added the remainder with the yolks.
              I also used a little bit of vanilla bean paste because I love seeing those pretty flecks, and I was hoping to deepen the vanilla flavour also.

              I opened the door by accident during cooling time, but I think the cake would have cracked anyway due to having more moisture and less fat from the ricotta. It was still lovely and even tho we had eaten a ton of food for lunch, lots of folk sneaked a second helping!

              So thanks so much for posting the recipe, I am not actually a cheesecake fan but will use this recipe again if I find my husband is in the mood for one!

              1. re: kookiegoddess

                That's good to know! Your substitutions sound tasty! I've never tried it with any substitutions like ricotta, but yeah, I can imagine that a wetter and heaver mix like that might put too much tension on the egg whites to cool without some cracking. (Never a real problem, in my book- tastes the same once it's cut, and some strategic fruit topping hides all!)
                The beaten whites definitely do make it a tall cake as written- I've never played around with variations on this, though I imagine that for a somewhat denser texture, it might be necessary to adjust some other ratios, too.

                1. re: another_adam

                  Might full-fat yoghurt be substituted for the sour cream, IYO?

                  1. re: Joebob

                    think yogurt might clash with the flavours, it just sounds wrong in my head, but I'm sure someone else will pipe up on this (Adam?)

                    1. re: Joebob

                      I think the flavor of the yogurt would be distinctive, but could be quite good! (I might go for a very mild one, though) I've noticed from other cooking that yogurt tends to release more water, though, so I'm not sure how the texture would work- in fact, I'd probably strain it a bit first. Of course, even if the cake cracks a bit or the texture is otherwise altered, I'm sure it would be a tasty experiment :) Let us know if you try it!

                      1. re: another_adam

                        Maybe if you used (authentic) whole milk Greek yogurt? Pretty much exactly what you're suggesting, Adam - strained whole milk yogurt.

              2. I had a lemon cheesecake recipe from an ole (90's ) Bon Appetit that was very light and fluffy; the egg whites were whipped and folded into the cream cheese batter. I can't find the recipe online and I no longer have it, but if I was to make it again, I would separate the eggs, whip the whites and just fold them in to a good basic cheesecake recipe, like the one upthread that another_adam posted. If you want to make it more lemony, add a bit more juice and a good Tbsp.of zest, or flavor it any way you like.

                1. A friend of mine used to feature a light and airy cheesecake with all the great flavor of the new York cheesecake we know and love in his CO restaurant. They achieved the texture by combining all the cake ingredients and then inserting the whisk attachment on the KitchenAid mixer and letting 'er rip! A few seconds later, the ingredients had a lot of air whipped into it, and when baked was extremely ethereal in texture.

                  I've done it several times at home since. ;)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ChefJune

                    That'll do it.

                  2. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4685... describes a wonderful light cheesecake.

                    1. Here are some tips from Cook's Illustrated on how to make a Light and Airy Cheesecake.
                      http://recipes.cooksillustrated.com/c...
                      You can find the recipe here:
                      http://www.labellecuisine.com/feature...

                      If you want a really good smooth and creamy cheesecake recipe, try this one:
                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: toveggiegirl

                        The light and airy recipe is just like the Bon Appetit one I lost years ago, just more lemon in the original, which is easily adjusted. Thanks!

                      2. Charlie Palmer Steak has one (in Reno, Nv) that was awesome. I was told the mascarpone, in addition to the cream cheese was the secret. I make a damn fine cheesecake, but my daughter said this one was even better. Unfortunately, I don't know the recipe.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: nvcook

                          Funny coincidence -- the bf's "reigning champion" of restaurant cheesecake is also from a steakhouse (Capital Grille, Seattle). I was too full to think straight and ask them their secret, but that gives me all the more reason to play around in the kitchen until I find it! Especially now that I've got all these great tips and recipes :)

                          1. re: mooncaked

                            Please share what you created for the special occasion. I'm eager to read of your adventure! :-)

                        2. Years ago in Philadelphia there was a restaurant, The Blue Fox, that served a very creamy cheesecake I loved. I used to have the recipe, but lost it. But it had whipped cream folded in, I just don't remember the proportions. But since I live in Seattle, I'll have to try Capital Grille's version:)