Break : 20 minutes.
1. Line a 20.5 cm (8 in) cake pan with a circle of parchment paper. Place a strip of parchment paper (parchment paper) around the sides of the cake pan to form a collar.
2. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F or thermostat 3) and place a rack in the middle.
3. Prepare the dough. In a saucepan over low heat, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Remove from fire. Whisk sugar and egg yolks until incorporated. Add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, vanilla extract, lemon juice and milk and whisk until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the pan as needed. Put aside.
4. Make stiff meringue peaks: Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat room temperature egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until stiff. frothy and opaque, a few minutes. Reduce speed to add sugar in increments. Reduce the speed to medium-high and whip the meringue and gloss until tripled in volume. When the beater is removed from the mixture, the peak will be tall, pointed and pointing up.
5. Add a fifth of the meringue to the batter. Whisk gently until incorporated. Repeat two more times. Then pour all the batter into the bowl with the meringue. Using a whisk, gently fold the rest of the meringue into the batter, until smooth, thick and creamy. There should be no white marks left in the dough.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan against the counter several times. Pass the whisk over the top of the cake to smooth it. Place the mold in a large baking dish. Place the baking dish on the oven rack. With kitchen gloves, take out the grid. Fill the baking dish with about 1½ inches (3.8 cm) of hot water. Put the grid back in place. Bake for about 18 minutes, until the cake puffs up a bit. Slightly open the oven door for 10 seconds. Lower the oven temperature to 140°C (285°F or setting 1) and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
7. With the door ajar, keep the cake in the oven for 20 minutes after baking.
8. Remove from oven. The cake will deflate a little.
9. To remove the cake from the pan, place a plate over the cake. If the pan is still hot, use oven mitts. Invert the cake onto the plate. While the cake is upside down, remove the parchment paper. Quickly place a serving plate on top of the cake (this is the bottom part of the cake). Return carefully again. Alternatively, if the parchment collar is sturdy enough, hold two opposite sides of the parchment collar and simply lift the cake out of the pan.
10. Sprinkle with optional icing sugar. Serve while the cake is still warm and bubbly.
• When refrigerated and “aged”, the cake will turn into a denser but still fluffy cheesecake.
• Depending on whether your oven is running too hot or too cold, you may need to adjust cooking temperatures accordingly. If the top of the cake cracks, your oven may be too hot. Try beating the meringue into stiff peaks instead of stiff peaks.
• For a matcha version of this cake, substitute 3 teaspoons to 1½ tablespoons (8 to 16 g) flour for matcha. Visit modernasianbaking.com for tips on how to make different versions of this cake and troubleshooting tips.
Image and recipe of Modern Asian cooking at home by Kat Lieu, photography by Nicole Soper Photography (Quarry Books, RRP $32.99).