Fried Cheesecake & Other Delicious Japanese Desserts

June 20, 2024

Imagine the perfect mix of a creamy, luscious cheesecake and the light, crispy perfection of tempura batter.

Yes, it’s a real dessert: It’s called fried cheesecake!

Japanese cuisine boasts a wide array of delicious desserts like fried cheesecake, that have evolved throughout history and gained popularity in Western cultures–but their origins might surprise you.

In this blog post, we’re going to do a deep dive into the history of popular Japanese desserts and what makes them so delicious.

We promise you’re in for a treat!

History of Tempura Desserts: 3 Fascinating Facts

Did you know that tempura, a hallmark of Japanese cuisine, isn’t just for savory dishes?

It’s also used to create popular desserts!

Fried Ice Cream - one of many Japanese Desserts

Let’s take a look at 3 more facts we bet you didn’t know about Japanese desserts:

1. Tempura originates from Portugal

The art of tempura has a rich history, originating in the 16th century when Portuguese missionaries introduced the technique to Japan.

2. Tempura has Latin roots

The word “tempura” is derived from the Latin word “tempora,” which refers to the “Ember Days.” The Ember Days was a time during which the Portuguese and Spanish missionaries would refrain from eating meat and instead eat fish and vegetables.

3. Using Tempura in desserts started out as an experiment

Traditionally, tempura was used for frying seafood and vegetables.

However, Japanese chefs, known for their culinary creativity, began to experiment with this frying method for various ingredients, including sweets.

The light, crispy texture of tempura batter was a natural fit for desserts, leading to the creation of tempura desserts that provided a delightful contrast between the crispy exterior and the soft, flavorful interior.

Over time, tempura desserts became a beloved part of Japanese cuisine, showcasing the versatility and innovation of Japanese chefs.

From simple fruits to more complex desserts like fried ice cream and tempura cheesecake, these sweet treats offer a delightful combination of textures and flavors that continue to captivate dessert lovers around the world.

Now, let’s take a closer look at what makes these desserts so well-loved.

Popular Japanese Dessert: Fried Ice Cream

Fried ice cream is an intriguing dessert that combines contrasting temperatures and textures.

Sounds delicious, right?

Fried Ice Cream - one of many Japanese Desserts


The exact origins of fried ice cream are a popular topic of debate.

Claims to this dish come from various cultures including Mexican, American, and Chinese cuisines. However, it became particularly popular in Japan during the latter half of the 20th century.

Japanese chefs mastered the technique of quickly frying the ice cream to achieve a crispy exterior while keeping the interior cold and creamy.

The key to this culinary magic?

The rapid frying process.

Ice cream is first coated in tempura batter or breadcrumbs and then flash-fried at a high temperature. This creates a deliciously crispy shell around the still-frozen ice cream.

Current Day Version

Today, fried ice cream is a popular dessert in many Japanese restaurants around the world.

Typically, a scoop of ice cream is coated in tempura batter or breadcrumbs and briefly fried to create a delightful contrast between the warm, crunchy shell and the cold, creamy center.

It’s then served with a drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce, and a dusting of powdered sugar for an extra touch of sweetness.

Modern variations have introduced different flavors of ice cream and coatings, making fried ice cream a versatile and exciting dessert option.

Check out these popular fried ice cream flavors:

  • Vanilla
  • Matcha
  • Black sesame

Our next Japanese dessert is what you’ve been waiting for: fried cheesecake!

Popular Japanese Dessert: Fried Cheesecake

Did you know that fried cheesecake is a relatively recent innovation in the realm of Japanese desserts?

Let’s take a closer look at the origin of this beloved dessert.

Fried cheesecake - one of many Japanese Desserts


Inspired by the success of fried ice cream, Japanese chefs in the early 2000s sought to create a dessert that combined the rich, creamy texture of cheesecake with the light, crispy coating of tempura batter.

Japanese chefs, known for their ability to blend traditional techniques with modern flavors, began experimenting with frying small pieces of cheesecake.

The result?

A unique fusion dessert that quickly gained popularity both in Japan and internationally.

Current Day Version

In today’s culinary scene, fried cheesecake has become a sought-after dessert in Japanese restaurants globally.

The process is relatively simple, but yields irresistible results:

Step 1: Slice cheesecake into bite-sized pieces
Step 2: Dip the cake into tempura batter.
Step 3: Fry the dessert until it’s golden brown.

Once fried, the exterior will be crisp and light, while the inside remains creamy and decadent.

To top things off, chefs will often serve it with a side of fresh fruit, a dollop of whipped cream, or a drizzle of berry sauce.

The modern version of fried cheesecake continues to evolve, with chefs experimenting with different flavors of cheesecake and accompaniments.

Whether it’s classic New York style, matcha-infused, or flavored with seasonal fruits, tempura cheesecake offers a delightful twist on a beloved dessert.

Other Common & Delicious Desserts in Japan

Japanese cuisine offers a plethora of desserts beyond fried delights. Here are a few common and delicious options you might find:

  • Mochi: These chewy rice cakes come in various flavors and fillings, including red bean paste, matcha, and fruit.
  • Dorayaki: A traditional confection consisting of two small pancake-like patties filled with sweet red bean paste.
  • Taiyaki: Fish-shaped cakes filled with sweet fillings such as custard, chocolate, or sweet red bean paste.
  • Anmitsu: A classic Japanese dessert featuring agar jelly, sweet red beans, and fresh fruits, often served with a drizzle of syrup.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Mochi, one of many Japanese Desserts

Experience Japanese Desserts at Kobé

Whether you’re intrigued by the concept of tempura fried cheesecake or curious to try other traditional sweets, you’ll find that many of these delicious desserts are more available than ever thanks to Japanese restaurants across the United States.

Book your reservation at one of the 13 Kobé locations today and treat yourself to an unforgettable dessert experience, blending the best of Japanese culinary traditions with innovative twists.

We look forward to serving you soon!

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