I love cheesecake. Heavy, rich, luxurious, sweet, and creamy, I love a New York cheesecake; it is the queen of cheesecakes, topped with strawberries. But this cheesecake is lighter, less sweet, and with the addition of a surprise ingredient, dare I say healthier? That ingredient would be tofu. It is no surprise for its texture is similar to a soft cheese, but being plant-based, it lacks the fat found in cheese. A chameleon, tofu takes on the flavours of whatever it is mixed with, so it is discreet, a secret ingredient that you would never guess is there. This recipe is based on the one from the blog Cakelets and Doilies. This cheesecake has three layers; its base is a sponge cake brushed with longan syrup, topped with a tofu-cream cheese filling and glazed with longan jelly. Besides the intriguing secret ingredient, the recipe had a couple of other things going for it. It is smaller than the standard cheesecake, and it is flavoured with longan, an Asian fruit that has a lightly sweet chewy texture. So based on these recommendations, I made this cheesecake for Andy’s birthday. And did I mention it is a no-bake cheesecake too?
The Secret Ingredient No-Bake Cheesecake with Longan Jelly Glaze
Prep time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 15 minutes
Chilling time: at least 4 hours to overnight
Total time: 1-2 days to make
Special equipment: one 7 or 8-inch springform pan, base removed; kitchen acetate
Sponge Cake Base
3 large eggs, separated
80g caster sugar
40g all-purpose flour
35g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons longan syrup from the can of longans
Drain the longans in a sieve set over a bowl to catch the syrup. Remove 2 tablespoons and refrigerate the remainder of the syrup. Keep the fruit separate for decorating the cake later.
Heat the oven to 175˚C/350˚F. Butter a 9×13 inch pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. While the machine is running, gradually add the 80g of sugar. Increase speed to medium high and beat until the egg whites are glossy and stiff peaks form. Drop in the egg yolks and beat until the egg whites turn deep yellow. Stop the machine and remove the bowl.
Sift the flours into the bowl and fold them in. Pour the melted butter into the batter and fold it in too.
Scrape batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly with a spatula. Tap pan lightly on the countertop to dislodge air bubbles. Bake in the oven 15 minutes or until the center springs back when touched lightly.
Cool cake on a wire rack 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the wire rack and remove the parchment. Cool completely 1-2 hours. When the cake is cooled put the springform pan on top of the cake and cut out a circle around the outside of the pan so that it will fit snugly inside the springform pan. Put the springform pan on top of a serving plate or cardboard circle. Line the inside of the pan with kitchen acetate. This will keep the sides of the cake smooth when you remove the springform pan. Fit the cake round upside down inside it, as the bottom will absorb the syrup better. Brush the cake base with the 2 tablespoons longan syrup. Refrigerate until ready to use.
The Filling; have at room temperature~
226g cream cheese block
200g soft silken tofu, unflavoured
10g coconut sugar
70g caster sugar
50g whipping cream
50g Greek style yogurt
6g gelatin sheets
Place cream cheese and sugars in a food processor and blend until creamy. Add tofu, cream, yogurt, and milk; combine until well-blended. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a large bowl, pressing down on the solids to remove any lumps. Set aside.
Soak gelatin sheets, placing them one at a time in a large bowl of iced water to soften them, 5 minutes. Fill a small pot with one-inch of water and bring it to a simmer. Squeeze out excess water from the gelatin sheets and put them into a small metal or glass bowl. Put it over the simmering water to dissolve the gelatin, stirring. Once the gelatin has dissolved, remove the bowl from the heat and stir it for about 20 seconds to cool slightly. Don’t let the gelatin cool too much or it will solidify again. Working quickly, whisk gelatin vigorously into the cream cheese mixture until well combined.
Cake Baker’s Note: If the gelatin clumps, strain the filling again and remove the bits of gelatin. Put the bits back into a bowl set over simmering water and dissolve the gelatin again. Working quickly, pour the dissolved gelatin back into the filling and stir to combine.
Scrape cream cheese mixture on top of the sponge. Draw a skewer in a circular motion to dislodge air bubbles, being careful not to pierce the cake base. Smooth the top with an offset spatula, and pop any air bubbles on the surface with a toothpick. Chill the cheesecake until set, at least 4 hours preferably overnight. The cheesecake filling must be thoroughly set before pouring the longan jelly on top.
250 ml reserved longan syrup
9g gelatin sheets
Soak the gelatin sheets in a bowl of iced water to soften, 5 minutes.
Heat the longan syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, until large bubbles cover the bottom of the pan and begin to bubble to the surface. Remove saucepan from heat. Squeeze out excess water from the gelatin sheets and add them to the hot syrup, stirring until dissolved. Cool 10 minutes in the pan. Carefully pour over the set filling. I recommend pouring the hot syrup over the back of a large spoon to disperse the syrup so it doesn’t fall in one spot. Refrigerate until completely set, at least 8 hours or overnight.
Once set, remove the springform pan sides and peel off the acetate. Garnish the top with the reserved longan fruit. Serve chilled.