This cherry blossom Japanese cheesecake proves it is spring, despite what the weather would have you believe...
1 cup cream cheese
6 eggs, divided
2/3 cup sugar, divided
4 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup whole milk, warm
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup cake flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons freeze-dried cherry powder, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup cherries, halved
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons pink powdered food coloring
Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Grease and line an 8-by-3 inch cake pan with parchment paper.
Over low heat melt the cream cheese. Turn off the heat and incorporate the yolks, one at a time, then add half of the sugar. Mix in the warm butter and milk, the lemon juice and zest until combined.
Sift in the flour, cornstarch and freeze-dried cherry powder and mix well.
Place the egg whites in a bowl and mix on medium speed. When soft peaks form slowly add the cream of tartar and remaining sugar. Beat just until stiff peaks form, then slowly fold into the batter.
Toss the cherry pieces in a tablespoon of flour then fold into the cake mix. Pour into prepared cake pan. Place the pan in a water bath and bake for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 280 degrees and bake for 40 to 50 more minutes. Allow the cake to cool slowly in a water bath.
Remove parchment paper, and dust top with powdered sugar. Blend the powdered food coloring with the remaining powdered sugar, and, using a cherry blossom stencil and tinted powdered sugar, dust a cherry blossom motif onto the cake. Cut and serve.