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Sep 4, 2016

Cheesecake in Japan

Have you ever wondered what 'rare cheesecake' is?

(In Japanese, it's レアチーズケーキ.) I've seen this name on some products in the supermarkets in Japan, which made me curious about how it's different from normal cheesecake. 

Rare as in well-done cheese cake? Extinct cheese cake? It seems more like common cheesecake to me.



I'm no expert in cheesecake, but have made a simple version once and have tried it a few times. The cheesecake I've eaten in Japan so far was called 'cheese souffle' or just cheesecake and more along the lines of a mildly cheese-flavored crust-less sponge cake. (Cake in Japan is sort of like what Americans call 'angel food cake' – a soft and airy sponge cake, because it uses lots of whipped egg whites.)




It seems like it's hard to find cheesecake in Japan similar to what you'd get at the Cheesecake Factory. That super heavy and dense, creamy and cheese-flavored 'cake.' It's kind of like biting into a block of sweet cream cheese (the stuff we spread on bagels sometimes). It turns out that this is what's meant by 'rare' cheesecake.



We did a little research. Cheesecake can be prepared a couple different ways.

One is to bake your ingredients and get a sort of browned cheese and crust.

The 'rare' version on the other hand, is not baked at all - the 'No-Bake' variety of cheesecake. After the ingredients are mixed, they are chilled in the refrigerator until firm. It's technically a 'raw' cheesecake, other than the heating of ingredients on the stove top before filling your cake or pie pan. Ah hah.


It seems fitting in Japan, where most people don't own an oven, that we would make our own rare cheesecake. We found a recipe video for berry cheesecake that looks amazing...



Interested to try this out soon, but if you get to it first, let us know how it is! 


I don't recommend these supermarket 'Cheese Souffle'  cheesecakes. The cheesecake at One Million Bakery was better and much more affordable.


Cheese tart doesn't sound good to me, but I've seen long lines at a fancy cheese tart shop in Fukuoka.


What started it all - the "Rare Cheesecake" flavor super cup. At first I wondered if the Japanese meant 'layer cheesecake' and why cheesecake would be rare.


helloalissa

helloalissa

I like snacks, Engrish, cats, plants eating buildings, riding a bike, photography, painting, onsen, traveling, playing board games with my nerdy Japanese husband, and living in Japan. I blog at https://helloalissa.wordpress.com/


4 Comments

  • KpQuePasa

    on Sep 5

    I've found there are two very distinct markets here for baking. If my client is "Western" (American, Australian, English, etc) and homesick, I use my normal recipes. But if I'm baking for Japanese folks I alter my baking to cut the sugar in half (at least) and use flour substitutions to cut down on the density. Japanese folks seem to have a real distaste for sweet desserts*. I enjoy that, since it gives me more room to play with adding flavors like matcha, almond, vanilla, banana... (My cheesecake here is half the sugar with lemon zest and grated ginger added.) *grand exception? Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. They are by far my most requested confection, and even though they're packed with sugar, I've watched Japanese customers stack two or three boxes of them to take home. Mysteries.

  • KevinC

    on Sep 5

    Finally found out what is 'Rare cheesecake' mean, have been wondering about this in the past few years but never take times to do some googling. I thought it was some kind of Japanese marketing scheme, to fool people to buy it. I still prefer the traditional one because eating that feel more satisfied.

  • helloalissa

    on Sep 6

    @KpQuePasa Wait, do you have a side hustle or work in a bakery? That's awesome, you could have much done better on this article as it sounds like you know lots about the baking.

  • KpQuePasa

    on Sep 6

    @helloalissa Pfft! "Side Hustle" is a really hilariously accurate way to describe it. (www.kitchenquepasa.com if'n you're curious). And honestly, I really LOVE the baking process, but I try not to bake unless I have someone to give it to, so if you're the one eating the cheesecake, you're the expert here. :)