Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Japanese Honey Castella Cake

"Ah-ah-ah-choo!" Pardon me. I think I have caught the latest "Castella-cake flu bugs" too :p

I can't stop admiring how Biren from Roti and Rice and Ann from Anncoo Journal bake their Castella cakes. Biren is always clever and detailed with her baking and I enjoy reading all her detailed explanations of the origins and procedures of her baked goods. Ann is always brilliant and perfect with all her baking and her Castella cake is a spot-on! 

A few years back before I started blogging, I always remember a particular Castella cake post that had enchanted me for years! It was the one from The Little Teochew that captured all the "sparkling" angles of her Castella cake. Her post mentioned that she used the recipe from Just Hungry which uses a technique of whisking the cake batter while holding the bowl over a pan of hot water. I did tried baking Castella Cake using Just Hungry recipe for not just once but for more than three times but failed very badly in all my attempts. I thought I was hopeless in Castella cake baking and wouldn't be able to bake a Castella cake in my life. LOL!

Until recently, I saw how Cheah from No-Frills Recipes did all her interesting research to bake her Castella cake and how Sonia from Nasi Lemak Lover finally succeed baking her Castella cake after five attempts. I am very inspired by Sonia's perseverance, and didn't want live my life regretting not baking a Castella cake...LOL! And, here I am baking my own honey Castella cake! And, I'm glad that I did it!

The Castella cake recipe that I using is from Roti and Rice. With so many recipes to choose, why am I choosing this recipe?

All mainly because Biren's recipe doesn't contain any cake stabiliser. I have used Ovalette (a cake stabiliser) before to bake my sponge cakes but didn't like the idea of having an emulsifier in my cake because I reckon that it creates an over-"bouncy" texture. I must admit that the cakes with added stabilisers does stay in their shape very well with the least amount of shrinkage but I think Biren has designed her recipe in the way that the eggs in her cake has been cleverly treated to create a fabulous Castella cake texture. Thanks Biren. This cake is so light and beautiful!

Japanese honey castella cake
I didn't have a traditional Castella wooden cake pan and so I improvised mine according to Biren's instructions.
Making the cake
Admiring every angle of the cake when it was freshly baked
Thanks Biren! This cake is so light and beautiful!

Here's the recipe from Roti and Rice
(with my modification in blue in order to bake the cake in 11 cm x 21 cm loaf pan)

2 egg whites at room temperature (increase to 3)
2 egg yolks at room temperature (increase to 3)
5 tbsp (70g) sugar (remain unchanged)
1/3 cup (50g) bread flour, sifted (increase to 75g) 
1 tbsp (25g) honey diluted with 1 tbsp hot water  
(increase to 40g with 1 1/3 tbsp water)

Line a 9 cm x 19 cm (mine is 11 cm x 21 cm) loaf pan with aluminum foil followed by parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C) (or 150°C fan forced).

Place egg whites in mixing bowl and beat at high speed (speed 10*) for 30 sec until slightly foamy. Add sugar in 2 to 3 batches until firm peaks form, about 4 min.

Add yolks one at a time at medium low speed (speed 4*) until well combined, about 1 min. Add sifted bread flour and beat until just combined.

Pour in honey mixture and continue to beat for 1 min.

Pour batter through a sieve into cake pan. Press with a spatula to help batter go through sieve. Tap pan lightly to remove air bubbles. Using a spatula, smoothen the top of batter to remove any remaining bubbles.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 min or until top is evenly browned. Toothpick inserted into cake should come out clean. Remove pan from oven and drop it from a one foot height onto the counter to prevent shrinkage.

When cake is cool enough to handle, remove from pan. Peel off parchment paper and turn it upside down onto a fresh piece of parchment paper. Wrap with plastic wrap and leave overnight at room temperature to preserve moisture in the cake and for flavor to develop.

To serve, cut off edges on three sides except the browned top with a very sharp knife. Cut into thick slices using a sawing motion and serve with a cup of tea.

*These are the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer speed numbers.

Happy Baking

53 comments:

  1. yes Zoe, so many castella cake seen in many blogs lately
    i havent tried at all, not even once
    i shall give it a go this time
    i hope i can make the cake as pretty as yours :)

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  2. I don't think I am familiar with castella cakes-very interesting. In fact, awesome.

    Velva

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  3. this is really a must try, the cake looks soft and moist almost like a pancake

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  4. WOooo...the kasutera bug is still growing :D
    Zoe, your castella cake looks so soft and light. Well done!

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  5. Wowee...so glad you have finally succeeded in baking this castella cake! Your cake is just beautiful! I was amazed myself at how light the cake turned out to be with so few ingredients.

    The castella bug? You should try the matcha one next. Many thanks for the mention :)

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  6. haha but its a lovely bug to catch yeah!? Can imagine the aroma in the kitchen when the cake is being baked... makes me wanna just get a cuppa tea and sit by the oven to wait for the cake to finish baking!

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  7. The cake indeed looks very soft and tender...can imagine how it will melt in the mouth !... Saw many bloggers baking this ! I guess should start on one too !! Lovely piece of cake there !!

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  8. Bless you! :)
    You have given me hope, Zoe. I have also read all the other bloggers' attempts at making this and it seems like such a sensitive recipe and klutzy me certainly wouldn't be able to handle it. I don't have a castella mould either and wasn't going to get one just to make a failure. I'm going to try it your way with a regular pan.
    Looks delicious!

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  9. Now you've shown carrot to the bunny ib me. I HAVE to make this :). Thanx for detailed explanation and procedure

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  10. I love these step-by-step photos Zoe! This looks like the perfect afternoon cake to enjoy with a cup of tea or as an afternoon snack for the kids. I am so going to make this!

    I am sorry I never made a Donna Hay recipe this month. This month has been crazy and I have not been able to do to many complex recipes. I am posting early, my favorite Barefoot chocolate cake recipe. When are you having the Barefoot month? I still have a chicken dish I could do for that.

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    1. Hi Jacquelyn,

      No worries about participating DH event :D I actually quite exhausted too keeping up with all my blogging,cooking and baking... we just do what we can do and most importantly, we have to enjoy the cooking and baking :D

      Barefoot theme starts on 1st May. I'll be going away for a holiday for half of Apr and will be back on 1st May for this event :D No pressure...you can publish any number of posts for the event...It's all for fun and learning to cook :D

      Zoe

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  11. yes...that why i also choose Biren recipe....No SP and oil....healthy .. :)your cake bottom look very nice....
    Zoe,also Biren say you should try green tea...it very nice.
    i try it already.i also try chocolate already...will try to make coffee castella later....

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  12. You seems to catch that bug beautifully ! hahaha It looks really good ! Throw me some slice or two over here ! ;D

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  13. wow! The cake texture is so soft! yes, I also dislike the cake stabiliser, already copy Biren's recipe too.

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  14. It looks mouthwatering!I wish I had a slice right now!Kisses,dear!

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  15. Congratulations! FYI, the real Castella cake texture should be slightly dense but not light. I know the texture after i tasted a honey cake i bought recently..

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    1. Thanks Sonia for your advice. I did tried the slightly dense version of Japanese honey cake from a famous bakery from Sydney. To create this kind of texture, the addition of cake stabilser is absolutely essential. Both the denser and Biren's version are yummy in their own unique texture and taste :D

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  16. Yours is done perfecto! The top and bottom has a nice brown skin!

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  17. Bravo, Zoe! Lovely castella you made, so light. Thanks for the mention too.

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  18. Good improvising! I was thinking of baking it too and didn't have the cake stabilizer. Looks like yours just prove my doubts wrong! Great one Zoe..the caje looks really nice and soft.

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  19. Oh Zoe your honey castella cake looks so, so, so soft and beautiful! I've gotta catch this flu and bake the cake too!

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  20. I love the recipe simple ingredients,and looks perfectly done,and soft,,YuM,,
    Ridwan

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  21. I saw this cake a few days ago on the net. I have never heard of it, but then again there are so many food things from around the world I don't know that this is not a surprise. This looks very fluffy and tasty and I am putting it in my 'to do' projects!

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  22. Looks delicious, great shots! I can just taste it. So light and so good. Wish I had a big piece with my morning coffee.

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  23. hi there! what a coincidence! i also just made this honey castella cake using biren's recipe.. and it turn out quite good :) many many thanks to biren!

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  24. This looks so moist and delicious!

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  25. You are good Zoe! I had never heard of Castella Cake, but this would be perfect with my cup of tea.
    Rita

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  26. Your cake is beautifully baked! Very soft texture. I have no corauge to try yet. Thanks for your detail steps I'm sure one day I will refer back.

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  27. This castella cake looks so soft and fluffy. Well done, Zoe!

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  28. Your Castella Cake looks wonderful, Zoe! Looks so soft with nice texture! I have never attempted to bake this before, maybe one day I shall! :)

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  29. Oooh great recipe! I can't wait to try this, it looks divine. X x

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  30. I am so intimidated by this type of cake. But.. your instructions are so helpful that I might just have to give it a try. I will let you know how it goes! :) I nominated you for the Happy Blogger Award, my friend. :) I hope you will accept. xoxo

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  31. I've seen this on Roti n Rice. It seems to me that you nailed it too! Hope to try it soon.

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  32. Can you believe I've never heard of a castella cake? I'm so curious now! Thanks for introducing me to something new- I can't wait to try it!

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  33. This sounds really interesting...I've never heard of castella before but any cake with honey in must be a winner! It sounds like it might be a little tricky but I might give it a go. :-)

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  34. Looks very soft, I can feel the taste of the cake in my mouth :p

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  35. Wow! this looks so soft and delicious!! I love my castella with chestnuts in them!

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  36. another beautiful castella cake! even though you did not use the wooden mould, it still came out very square, i'm admiring the top and bottom too! well done, zoe, you finally made it!!

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  37. Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments.

    Just to clarify that there are a few versions of Castella cake recipes. Typically, there are mainly two major type of honey cake available. One is dense with syrupy and this one is the lighter and non-cake-stabiliser version. Each has its own delicious characteristic and it's up to individual to decide which is better :D

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  38. I crave food that is wholesome, fillng and.....just plain comfortable. .... Gorgeous pictures

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  39. Before I comment, I must take 1 slice of this super hot cake from you! Hmmmm, yummm!One of my worries of making this cake is how to place the baking paper nicely in the baking pan/wooden mould coz I can never do a good job in this! And as for the techiniques as to how to bake the cake, I'm still a bit scare, haha! Will leave my newly bought wooden mould in my store room first!

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  40. I have so much to do lately but I do want to try to make this cake. Thanks for the tips and pictorial instruction. They are very helpful. Have a wonderful Sunday.

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  41. I don't think I've ever seen a more perfect cake...every side is beautiful...and the texture is divine!!! Wonderful job, Zoe!!!

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  42. I see you using bread flour (high protein flour, right?) and no beking powder. It rises so well.

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    1. Hi Sheoh Yan, I did use bread flour which is higher in protein content that all-purpose flour. I didn't add any baking powder at all. Zoe

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  43. Hi Zoe, first thing first thank u for leaving comment @ my blog so I can find ur beautiful blog, sooo happy to follow ur blog. I've never eaten castella, but if u mention Japanese cake, I can figure the texture is, will definitely make this cake soon

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    1. Hi Rita,

      There is a few versions of castella cake that I have tried before. Some can be fluffy but some can be slightly dense and compact. However, the addition of cake stabilser is essential in order to bake the dense kind of Castella cake and so I have chose to bake this version which doesn't require any cake stabiliser. Both the denser and Biren's version can very delicious in their own unique texture and taste.

      Will stay tune to check out your Castella cake :D Happy Baking!

      Zoe

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  44. hi, would you happen to know why the castella cake shrinks after i take it out of the oven? It looks pretty puffy when i take it out from the oven and then it begins to shrink. Please help! thank you! =)

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    1. Hi,

      Sorry for my late reply due to personal matters. It is normal that the cooled cake will shrink a little when it is cooled.

      However, if your cake has shrunk dramatically, I'm guessing that your cake has not been cooked well inside. Have you tried cutting a slice of your cake and have a look inside?

      Zoe

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  45. Looks very soft like clouds in the sky :) Yummy!

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