Cotton Cheesecake

Week 6 of the GBBO and it was Japanese week, an unusual first to celebrate 100 episodes of possibly the greatest show on the television. The signature bake was steamed savoury buns, an Asian staple. However, as last week I had made Cornish Pasties I decided to give the buns a miss. The technical bake was a ridiculous multi-layered pancake cake, which like last weeks pastry cage, nobody in their right mind would ever make. For the showstopper, Lottie, this weeks star baker, made a Japanese style cotton cheesecake to look like a toadstool. This was my challenge, to make a plain and simple cotton cheesecake, also known as a ‘jiggle’ cheesecake.

Definitely the most complicated bake that I had ever attempted, with many stages, most of which were new to me. First off I had to separate 5 eggs. Then melt butter, sugar and cream cheese together, take off the heat and add plain flour and cornflour, the egg yolks and some milk. Gently stir it together. Then make meringue, something which I had never done before, but managed with some expert tuition from my amazing wife. Carefully fold the meringue into the other mixture.

The baking is also complicated as the cake tins have to be placed into a Bain-Marie, which meant that the cake tins couldn’t be spring loaded or with a removable bottom, otherwise water would seep in. I also needed to line the cake tins with grease proof paper with a collar above the tin. The oven temperature needed to be quite low, and then reduced, before the cakes are left in the oven for a final ten minutes with the oven off.

I was quite excited about this recipe, and almost out of breath as I popped the cakes into the oven. I was using two small cake tins rather than one big one, and they did rise very quickly. I then adjusted the temperature and left them alone. The problems arose when I tried to remove them from the tins. I hadn’t greased the bottom of the tins enough, and both cakes left a significant chunk behind, and looked a little deflated.

Ignoring what they looked like, how did they taste, and did they ‘jiggle’? There was a certain amount of ‘jiggle’, although this goes as they cool. Taste wise, they were very light and fluffy, but a little eggy. I don’t think I folded in the meringue enough as you can see a few white splodges. This is difficult because if you mix in the meringue too much you will lose the fluffy nature of the cake, not enough and you get what I had.

90 minutes ago I was very disappointed, but on reflection I will take a great deal from this. I used a basic cream cheese and should have used mascarpone. Lottie’s recipe used half milk and half cream, whereas I only used milk, and she added the zest of a lime, which would have helped with the flavour. Also, she advised to use a regular spring loaded tin, but double wrap the outside with tin foil to keep it waterproof. Finally, I might not have cooked the cakes long enough on the high temperature.

As I say, this was my most difficult bake yet, and I have learnt a lot. My wife suggested having another go this afternoon, but I’m going to leave it for a few weeks before I have another attempt.

Anyway, we were both quite sad to see Mark go this week, and we noticed that Dave shed a tear. Next week is 80’s week, which might be prawn cocktails and black forest gateaux.

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