The next birthday cake in this year’s line-up is a cheesecake with matcha and black sesame layers. This rich dessert showcases two of my favorite Japanese flavors for sweets together in a visually impressive cake.
Like most good cheesecake recipes, this recipe takes forever, but it’s worth it. Make it the night before you plan to eat it if possible.
Pan sizes: I made this a couple different ways to test it out. In the photos, I doubled the crust in the recipe below, but I think the amount in the recipe below will be fine for 8″ pans. If you double the crust, the cake would fit nicely into a 9″/22 cm springform; however, you’ll need a pan big enough for a water bath. If using an 8″/20 cm pan, which is much easier to fit into a casserole/roasting dish for a water bath, you may have a little extra batter. If so, grease up a ramekin or small pan, make a small water-bath, and cook it up later.
Ingredient Notes: I wasn’t able to buy powdered black sesame, so processed my own in a blender. Black sesame powder is easy to find in Japan in the sesame section of the store. Make sure the matcha is pure matcha, and not mixed with sugar, like a lot of the commercial matcha meant for matcha lattes. For animal crackers in Japan, substitute biscuits (ビスケット). They’re in the crackers and cookies / dry goods aisle, and they have a similar texture. For the sour cream, you may need to thin it with a little water, as Japanese sour cream is thicker than US sour cream.
Matcha-Black Sesame Layered Cheesecake
Adapted from “Individual matcha sesame cheesecake” on Hungry Rabbit.
Serves ~12-16 (very rich)
Time: ~8-9 hours
Active: 40 minutes
Inactive: 7.5 hours (baking and cooling)
1 cup (~70 g) unfrosted animal crackers (bisuketto, ビスケット)
4 TSBP (55 g) butter, melted (muen batâ, 無塩バター)
Extra butter to grease the pans
3 TBSP granulated sugar (guranyûtô, グラニュー糖)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 TBSP mixed black and white sesame seeds, toasted (goma – kuro, ごま黒; goma – shiro ごま白)
32 oz/4 packages (~910 g) cream cheese, room temperature (kurîmu chîzu, クリームチーズ)
1.5 cups (300 g) granulated sugar (guranyûtô, グラニュー糖)
4 TBSP all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (155 g) sour cream, room temperature (sawâ kurîmu, サワークリーム)
1 tsp vanilla extract (banira essensu, バニラエッセンス)
1 tsp almond extract (âmondo essensu, アーモンドエッセンス)
4 large eggs, room temperature (tamago, 卵)
2 TBSP matcha powder (seikayo maccha, 製菓用抹茶)
1 cup (48 g) black sesame powder (suri goma kuro, すりごま黒)
- A food processor or blender (fûdo purosessa, フードプロセッサ) or blender (mikisâ, ミキサー)
- A springform pan (8″/20 cm or 9″/22 cm–see “pan notes”) (supuringu fômu dekokêki gata, スプリングフォームデコケーキ型)
- Aluminum foil (arumi foiru, アルミホイル)
- A roasting pan (rôsuto yô teppan, ロースト用鉄板 ) or casserole dish large enough to fit the cake pan
- A stand mixer (okigata taipu no mikisâ, 置き型タイプのミキサー) or handmixer (hando mikisâ, ハンドミキサー)
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF/175ºC degrees. Thoroughly grease the springform and wrap at least 2 layers of heavy aluminum foil around outside of the pan (especially the bottom) to prevent butter from escaping (like life, it will find a way) and water in the later water bath from entering.
2. Add the animal crackers to the food processor and process until fine. In a bowl, add them to melted butter, sugar, salt, and sesame seeds; stir to combine. Press crust mixture evenly on the bottom of the pan with your hands, and then go over it again with a measuring cup. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely, ~1 hour.
3. When the crust has cooled sufficiently, preheat the oven to 350º/170º again. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixed, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, ~2-3 minutes.
4. Whisk sugar and flour together in a small bowl. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add sugar mixture to cream cheese, mixing until smooth. Continuing to mix, add sour cream, vanilla and almond extract. Add eggs one at a time, beating until just combined.
5. Divide cream cheese filling into 2 bowls. Add matcha powder to one and black sesame powder to the other. Stir gently to combine. Carefully pour the sesame-cream cheese mixture into the pan, and then gently pour the matcha -cream cheese batter on top, making sure that they do not mix. Gently hit the pan on the counter to release air bubbles. Carefully place the pan into a roasting pan or casserole dish. Carefully pour or ladle boiling water into roasting pan, about 1-2 inches deep.
6. Bake for about one hour, until the cake is set set but still slightly wobbly in the center and slightly golden brown on the sides. Turn off oven and prop the door open with the open lock or a heat-safe spoon, and leave the cake in the oven for an additional 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and run a think knife along the edge to help the cake not stick to the pan as it cools. Let cool completely (~1-2 hours); then refrigerate, uncovered, four at least 4 hours (or overnight).
7. To release the cake from the spring form, run a thin knife along the edge again and slowly release the springform. Let the cake return to room temperature before serving, if possible. Optional: dust top with matcha powder before serving.