Decoding Desserts: What is Jiggly Cake and How is it Made?

What Is Jiggly Cake

Jiggly cake is a piece of cloud disguised as an edible Japanese dessert. Its taste and texture make it popular in virtually every cafe and diner on the block. 

More popularly, jiggly cake is a steamed Japanese-style cheesecake that out-bounces the NY-style cheesecake. Like crystal boba, jiggly cake belongs to traditional Asian sweets, so you’ll easily find it with less sugar and cheese than regular cheesecake.

Read on as we explore the Japanese jiggly cheesecake, the science behind it, and a bonus jiggly cake recipe.

Japanese Cheesecake vs. Regular Cheesecake

Japanese cheesecakes share some of the same ingredients as regular cheesecake and Korean jiggly cake, but they still have stark differences. Here are some ways both desserts differ:

Texture: Japanese cheesecake is wobbly and fluffy because the eggs are beaten with powdered sugar until they form soft peaks. On the other hand, regular cheesecakes are heavy, with a signature dense texture.

Preparation: Secondly, unlike regular cheesecakes. Japanese cheesecakes are steamed instead of baked. The steaming process helps to lock moisture and guarantee a light texture. 

Ingredients: One key difference between Japanese and regular cheesecakes is the varying ingredient list. A jiggly cake recipe calls for cream cheese and milk and uses cornstarch as the base. Regular cheesecakes, however, use a combination of cream cheese, eggs, and sugar and a crust of digestive biscuits or graham crackers.

If you’re as addicted to the Asian dessert menu as I am, you probably know that cornstarch creates magic.

Jiggly Cheesecake
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What is a Bain Marie? How is it Releated to Jiggly Cake?

A bain marie (bane-mah-REE) describes a hot water bath used in making jiggly cakes. In the kitchen, a bain marie is primarily for steaming foods like custards and jiggly cakes by forming a gentle heat around the dish. The result is a slow-cooked, airy delicacy.

The term “bain marie” isn’t restricted to only one culinary set-up. Each case involves using hot water to provide steam or heat to cooking food.

I recommend the De Buyer Bain Marie because of its thoughtful hand design since it is excellent for safety and accessibility. 

Other Types of Cheesecakes in Japan

Jiggly cake isn’t the only fluffy cheesecake in Japan. In fact, there are two others you can find popularly in Japan, namely:

  • Baked cheesecake: The Japanese baked cheesecake closely resembles its NY-style cousin, except it may or may not have a crust.
  • Rare cheesecake: The rare Japanese cheesecake is the no-bake version, with heavy cream or yogurt, cream cheese, and gelatin.

How to Make Perfect Japanese Jiggly Cake

To make the best jiggly cheesecake, you’ll need to perfect the measurements, meringue, and heat. The ingredients contribute to the meringue’s perfection, and in turn, the cheesecake’s fluffiness depends on the meringue.

Jiggly Cake Meringue Recipe

To prepare the perfect meringue for your jiggly cheesecake, you’ll need:

  • Quarter cup (¼) powdered sugar 
  • Three large egg whites
  • Half (½) tbsp. tartar cream

Whip your egg whites in a large bowl with a hand or stand mixer. Whip the egg whites at medium speed for awesome results, immediately stopping when they turn frothy and opaque.

Next, pour in your cream tartar, slowly add sugar, and continue mixing until the meringue is thick and shiny. You’ll know it’s ready when it stands in thick, soft peaks.

Part I – Jiggly Cheesecake Recipe

(Difficulty Level – Not Eating The Cheesecake Batter)

To make a confident Japanese jiggly cheesecake batter, you’ll need:

  • ¼ cup of sugar. 
  • ¼ tablespoons of salt. 
  • 3 tablespoons of milk.
  • 3 large egg yolks. 
  • ½ ounces of butter.
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese. 
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • Two tablespoons of cornstarch 

Start by greasing the springform cake pan with (1) tbsp of butter and preheat your oven to 320 F (160 C). Then, cover the pan’s sides and bottom with 3 aluminum foil sheets and set aside.

Next, mix your cream cheese, milk, and butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring slowly until they melt. Move the batter to a big bowl and whisk with medium speed to clear lumps. 

Sift cornstarch, salt, and flour in a different bowl and slowly incorporate the flour-cornstarch mix into the cheesecake batter. Now, whisk the new combination until it forms a single clump. 

Jiggly Cake Recipe
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If you prefer a hand mixer, I suggest the Hamilton Hand Mixer and Heater because they have excellent grip control and offer various speed settings for different recipes and requirements. 

Next, throw in the egg yolks and whisk the jiggly cake batter until smooth. Take ⅓ of your meringue and whisk gently with your cream cheese batter, beating to a loose and creamy texture. Repeat the same steps with the remaining meringue and whisk to form a light cake batter.

Part II – Cooking The Japanese Cheesecake

(Difficulty Level – Trying Not to Gobble a Steaming Hot Cheesecake)

Now that the cheesecake batter is ready, it is time to make magic.

Boil a kettle of water and set aside. Then, pour the jiggly cake batter into a pan, and level any peaks with a spoon. Next, we want to release air bubbles by carefully lifting and dropping the pan. 

Now, place the pan into an improvised bain marie (deep roast oven pan) and set it on the middle rack of your preheated oven. Then, pour the boiled water into the roast pan, stopping halfway up the pan’s height. 

Bake at 320F for an hour. Afterward, turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake for 45 minutes. Next, open the oven door for the cake to cool off gradually. It will prevent the cake from cracking due to sudden temperature changes. 

After 20 minutes, take the jiggly cake out to cool and place it on a counter or cooling rack. At this point, leave it to cool further and sprinkle toppings liberally. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Did Jiggly Cake Come From?

Jiggly cake came from Japan in the 1980s. It was created by Japanese chef, Tomotaro Kazuno, who adapted the recipe to contain less sugar and cheese than the traditional cheesecake. 

What is Jiggly Cake Called in Japan?

In Japan, jiggly cakes are called “fuwa fuwa”, which directly translates to “fluffy fluffy”. 

What is The Name of the Japanese Christmas Cake?

The traditional name for the Japanese Christmas cake is “kurisumasu keki”. It is a delicious variation of jiggly cake that incorporates layers of whipped and juicy ripe strawberries.

Why is My Japanese Cheesecake Burnt on Top?

Extreme heat is the most likely cause of your burnt Japanese cheesecake. When the sugar and protein overcook, it causes a chemical reaction that browns its surface.

You can avoid burnt Japanese cheesecake by using a bain marie. The hot water bath will distribute a gentle heat, allowing your cake to cook uniformly without burning. 

Remember to wrap your springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent heat from cracking from the water bath. 


Few pleasures come close to baking and wolfing down a Japanese jiggly cake. It is soft, bouncy, and “not too sweet,” making it a perfect companion to crystal boba tea.

Japanese chef Tomotaro Kazuno created the jiggly cake recipe with less sugar and cheese than the traditional cheesecake. So, you can pair it with tea, coffee, and fruit juice.

Happy wolfing!

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