Yuzu Cheesecake — classic with a Japanese twist
Updated Jan 20, 2020 (Originally published February 19, 2017)
I created this yuzu cheesecake back in 2017 for my very first blogiversary! It’s been over two years since I made it and I can still remember how perfectly creamy and tangy it was!
When I was brainstorming an appropriate dessert to celebrate the one year anniversary of my blog, the first thing that came to mind was cake. Who doesn’t love birthday cake, right? But I felt like birthday cake is so overdone and wanted to do something a little different and a little more creative.
I combined my Japanese and American roots and made yuzu cheesecake. Creamy and rich individual cheesecakes topped with tangy yuzu curd.
Tristan even said they might be his favorite cheesecake. I asked him about this cheesecake two years later and he still claims this to be one of his favorites! Although to be fair, I don’t make cheesecakes very often.
What is yuzu?
Yuzu is a Japanese citrus. It’s sharp and sour like a lemon but the flavor and fragrance are very distinct. You would never peel a yuzu and eat as you would an orange.
Trust me, you don’t want to do it.
In cooking, the peel can be used to add a citrus note to pickles, used as a garnish on soups, or made into marmalade. The Koreans make a yuzu marmalade and add it to hot water to create a hot drink called yuja-cha which they drink in the winter as an herbal remedy.
The juice is used to make ponzu sauce, one of my favorite condiments! People also float whole yuzu fruits in their bathtubs to extract the essential oils from the rind and infuse the bathwater with its beautiful aroma.
How to make yuzu cheesecake
The first step in making these individual yuzu cheesecakes is to make the yuzu curd. Yuzu curd is basically a lemon curd that uses yuzu zest and juice instead of lemon. It’s rich yet zesty and tangy and goes well on anything. Toast, cookies, cakes, you name it!
While the yuzu curd is chilling in the fridge, make the buttery crust. Many cheesecakes call for graham crackers, but I love using butter biscuits. It makes for a very rich cheesecake, but the extra salt and butter makes it oh so decadent!
The best thing about these cheesecakes is that it’s baked in a muffin pan. Shorter baking time, no water bath while baking, and cools faster which means less time spent waiting to eat them!
You should really let the cheesecakes chill in the fridge for an hour, but how can anyone wait that long when the house smells of amazing cheesecake?! But really, try to wait 30 minutes at least. You want set, not jiggly and loose, cheesecakes.
I used about 2 teaspoons of yuzu curd to top each cheesecake, but you could use as much as you like! The recipe for the yuzu curd makes enough for exactly one batch of individual cheesecakes, but I only baked half the batch this time so I don’t eat them all. So I had half my yuzu curd in the fridge, and made little sandwiches using the leftover butter biscuits from the crust!
Of course, this is after eating some a good amount with a spoon straight out of the bowl.
I topped my yuzu cheesecake with candied yuzu peel. If you can’t find any, no worries, these yuzu cheesecakes are delightful on their own!
The tart sunny flavor of the yuzu curd complements the rich cheesecake so nicely. If you’re up for a change from topping your cheesecakes with berries or caramel, give this yuzu cheesecake a try!
I mean, really. Look how creamy that is!
What’s your favorite cheesecake flavor? Leave me a comment, and make sure you’re following me on Instagram and Pinterest, and subscribed to me on YouTube!!
- 3 tablespoons (42.5g) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (25g) granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ cup (60ml) yuzu juice
- 1-2 teaspoons yuzu zest
- 16 oz (454g) cream cheese
- ½ cup (120ml) sour cream
- ½ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- candied yuzu peel (optional)
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February 20, 2017 at 6:38 am
I am drooling looking at your pictures. so good and happy blog anniversary!
February 20, 2017 at 10:12 am
February 20, 2017 at 11:34 am
Creamy is an understatement! I would absolutely love to bite into one of those!
February 20, 2017 at 12:40 pm
September 07, 2021 at 12:20 am
Thank you. the yuzu cheese cake is a success and it tasted so good. Praised by many.By the way how long can I keep the yuzu curd in the chiller?
September 08, 2021 at 3:45 pm
Hi Esther! I’m so happy it worked out well! I would say it lasts in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, but you can also freeze it! Just make sure you give it about 24 hours in the fridge to defrost.
February 20, 2017 at 9:34 pm
Yuzu looks like a citrus fruit between lemon and mandarin. I haven’t seen one, but maybe one day. and when I do, I will surely try this recipe. The cheesecake looks absolutely fantastic! Congrats on the blogiversary. Cheers to more years of blogging and delicious foods! 😛 Thanks for sharing at this week’s party.
February 22, 2017 at 10:58 pm
Thank you, Jhuls! Yuzu is very sour like a lemon and the fragrance is distinct but I would say it does have a slight mandarin-like quality. Definitely grab it if you come across one in a shop! Thanks for stopping by?
February 22, 2017 at 2:21 am
Happy Blogaversery!! I am not familiar with yuzu but that doesn’t mean these baby cheesecakes don’t have me drooling!! I want, I want, I want!!
February 22, 2017 at 10:59 pm
Thank you, Mollie! I think almost everyone who likes citrus would like yuzu?
Recipe looks so yummy thinking to definitely try this weekend
Let me know how they turn out!
Sounds really good and something different
Thanks Janice! It’s like a twist on a lemon cheesecake 🙂
Yum!! I cannot wait to try this recipe, it looks fabulous!
Thanks Nicole! Hope you like it!
These look delicious, and now I’m hungry! Happy anniversary (blogaversary?) to you!
Thanks Nyxie! I can’t believe I’ve managed to continue something for 3 years!
These look gorgeous, and I love all citrus fruit so I am sure I’d love yuzu too!
Oh if you love citrus, you’ll definitely love yuzu!
This looks amazing! I love how you shared other things this fruit is used for!
Thanks Andra! Glad you liked it 🙂
Please pass some my way, right away! I like the fact they infuse the fruit in the bath water! Must have some solid skincare benefits knowing the Japanese very well when it comes to skincare! Great post and thanks for sharing
The essential oils in the rind gets extracted into the bath water and it smells amazing!
Ai, I am so going on a yuzu hunt! I think hubby would love it (he eats lemons as they are and loves plain grapefruits too). Oh, and how cute are these being baked in individual muffin tins — what a great idea! Thanks for linking up with us and sharing at Fiesta Friday! Have a great weekend.
September 05, 2019 at 6:31 am
Cheesecake is my favorite desert any this sounds and look amazing!
September 05, 2019 at 2:27 pm
November 06, 2019 at 3:28 pm
hi, may i know.. if i will use the same recipe to bake it as a whole cake, how long shall i bake it? Thank you very much 🙂
November 06, 2019 at 9:07 pm
Hi Ester! What size cake were you hoping to make? Although I’ve never baked this into a cake myself, a girl on Instagram made it in a 5 inch round pan but seemed to have extra batter, so I’d use a 6 inch pan (either springform pan or one with a removable bottom) if you want to make it into a whole cheesecake. Maybe try baking it at 320°F/160°C in a water bath for 30-40 minutes. You can cover the pan with aluminum if you see the cheesecake browning too quickly on top. When it’s done, the sides should be set but the center should still jiggle a little if you gently shake the pan. Let it cool in the oven with the door open a little (whole cheesecakes tend to crack with a big temperature drop). I’d keep it in the oven for an hour, then room temperature until it’s completely cool, and then refrigerate for a couple hours. Make sure to run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cheesecake before taking it out. Let me know how it turns out! Hope you like it 🙂
November 22, 2019 at 7:24 pm
I have finally found a store that sells yuzu juice — I am Danish — in Denmark — not too many Japanese stores here.
Just wondering if you think the juice measure is equal for fresh/bottled juice?
I am SO looking forward to making your cute little cheesecakes — and taste the yuzu.
November 22, 2019 at 9:09 pm
Hi Jette! Is the yuzu juice 100% yuzu? If so, I think the yuzu curd would come out perfectly 🙂 Looking forward to hearing how it turns out!
November 21, 2020 at 11:40 pm
I need to try this recipe. I love yuzu taste.
December 10, 2020 at 3:33 am
Hop you like it! One of my favorite cheesecakes😉
I can only find the yuzu juice. Are there any adjustments that I can make for the lack of zest in the curd? Looking forward to trying yuzu for first time with your recipe.
You can just omit the zest, or if you want, you can use lemon zest instead. Hope you like it!
I had search a Yuzu recipe and found you Yuzu cheesecake and tried to make it. And I can sell to my friends too. I love it so much thanks for a nice recipe.
Thank you for trying my recipe, and leaving a rating and comment! I’m so happy you liked it 🙂
August 16, 2021 at 11:08 pm
Hi, I love to try this recipe, Does it work with I freshly squeezed juice from yuzu fruits like baking a lemon cake. Or I have to use ready packed yuzu juice from store?
August 16, 2021 at 11:12 pm
Hi, can I use freshly squeezed juice fr yuzu fruits? How much should I use?
Hi Esther! Yes, you can use freshly squeezed yuzu juice! Although, you may need a lot of yuzu depending on how juicy they are. Hope you like this recipe 🙂
Can I use shortbread cookies as a substitute for the butter biscuits? The recipe looks so yummy! : )
Absolutely! Shortbread cookies as the base sounds delicious!
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