Cheesecake is life. I can not begin to put into words how much I love a good, rich, sweet and creamy cheesecake... but I do. The only problem is that most cheesecakes are ridiculously high in calories of which most is fat and sugar... not exactly great if you're on a diet... but fear not, I have solved the problem.
I have tried and failed on many, many occasions to make a low-fat, low-sugar high protein cheesecake. Every time I tried the finished product it was either too dry (from either the protein powder or the lack of sugar) or not sweet enough (despite using plenty of sweetener). The lack of fat also made it hard to get a "creamy" texture.
I had a little free time recently so I decided to play around with a different style of cheesecake. I lived in Japan for 4 years (a long time ago) and the Japanese make a very distinctive type called a "Souffle" cheesecake (which for some silly reason, people in the west call "cotton" cheesecake). It's lighter and fluffier than a regular baked cheesecake but very, very rich in flavor.
After a few attempts, and playing around with a few different ingredients I finally made a cheesecake that had a great texture, was sweet, and tasted delicious all the while being low in fat and sugar and high in protein. Winning!
I want to explain why I used some of the ingredients because a I feel a proper knowledge of the science of baking can really help when you're trying new recipes or trying to make old recipes healthier:
- Fat-Free Quark: a fresh cheese that is like a very, very thick yogurt that provides the base ingredient for the cheesecake. You could use fat free cottage cheese too but you need to run it through a blender first to break up the curds.
- Vanilla Protein Powder: This is what flavors the cake and adds a little sweetness. If you use too much the cheesecake would be dry and hard
- Oat Flour: The high fiber content of oats help to hold onto moisture in cake batter, helping make up for the lack of fat. (you can make it from regular oat-flakes by whizzing them in a blender).
- Apple Puree: This has both the moisture retaining function of the oat flour due to the fiber content and also the natural sugars in the apples help to give the cake a more natural sweet flavor. If you just use artificial sweeteners, without any real sugar, the sweetness is just unbalanced and artificial. The sugars also help to hold onto more moisture too.
- Beaten Egg-Whites: These are essential to give the cheesecake it's souffle-like texture. They make it light and fluffy.
I've simplified the recipe a lot to make it easy for most home chefs. The big difference is that for this cheesecake, you don't need a water bath in the oven and I've reduced the cooking time considerably. The only special piece of equipment you might need is a springform tin to make removing he cake easier, but it's not essential.
So, not only is this cheesecake, really easy to make, but it has incredible macros. One quarter of this cheesecake is only 157 calories and 4g of fat compared to a regular slice of cheesecake which can have almost 400 calories and 30g of fat. Time to get baking.
Ingredients (makes 4 portions)
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- 250g Fat-free Quark (or blended cottage cheese)
- 30g Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
- 30g Oat flour (or ground oatmeal)
- 100g Apple puree/compote
- 3 egg whites
- 2 egg yolks
- Liquid Sweetener (sucralose or stevia) (to taste)
- 18cm Springform Pan
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Line a springform pan with grease-proof paper (here's a super quick video tutorial)
- In a bowl, mix the quark, flour, protein powder and apple sauce until uniform. Taste for sweetness and add liquid sweetener until the desired level of sweetness is achieved. ***REMEMBER: the cake will taste sweeter after baking so don't go crazy with the sweeteners***
- Add the egg yolks and mix in.
- In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer (or by hand if you've got the forearm strength) until the egg-whites form stiff peaks
- Mix one third of the egg whites into the rest of the cake batter completely. Add the remaining egg whites and gently incorporate them into the batter with a spatula. You don't wan to beat/mix it too hard as you'll lose all the air you worked so hard to whisk into the whites.
- Pour the batter into the lined springform pan, tap it on a counter top to make sure the mix is even in the pan and place in the lower part of the oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove and allow to cool completely (if you can wait that long because your kitchen is going to smell amazing).
- Serve as is or with low-sugar raspberry jam on top.
You can change the flavor of the cheesecake by adding some grated lemon rind or some grated white chocolate and raspberries before baking, play around with different ideas. Seriously, if you don't bake very often, give this recipe a try. It's not overly complicated and it's so delicious and macro-friendly that I'm sure you'll want to make more.
Have you been working out? You're looking good!
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