Ogura in Japanese language can be a name or has a meaning of small storehouse or red bean paste. Most often in Chinese culture, we like to associate red beans with love and would literally translate the meaning of Ogura to 相思 which means love sick in Chinese language. Although having a Japanese name, this cake is not Japanese originated at all. It is simply called Ogura or Xiang Si meaning that everyone will be lovestruck after tasting this cake.
With this catchy name, even I got into the craze baking this cake... Typically, Xiang Si cake has a chiffon-like cottony texture but short with a flat cake top. It is quite a tacky cake to bake, archiving the right techniques for its most ideal look.
Not surprisingly at all, the first Xiang Si cake that I baked was totally disastrous! It was badly cracked on its top and soggy inside. I had lots of strange mixed feeling after experiencing this failure... Is it my curiosity, pride or disappointment? Or am I lovestruck or what? I just don't why I am pursuing to bake this cake so much?
With more thoughts and less sleep, I finally managed to bake my Xiang Si cake... And these are what I did for my second bake:
One: To avoid cracked top, baking the cake with an oven with the right setting is important. Like what Sonia from Nasi Lemak Lover always says "You have to understand your oven..." Now, I can clearly understand... LOL! My oven is a fan forced oven and seems that 130°C fan forced is the best temperature setting for my Xiang Si cake baking. To avoid too much initial heat while baking, I have covered my cake loosely with a foil (pierced with holes) at its first 40 minutes of baking.
Two: Most bloggers prefer to bake this cake with steam bake which is basically baking with boiling water. For my first bake, I didn't boil my water prior preheating the oven with the tray of water and reckon this affects the overall oven temperature resulting my cake to be soggy and uncooked in the middle. My lesson learned: use boiling water if I'm going to steam bake my Xiang Si cake.
Three: To prevent excessive Xiang Si cake rising, beating egg white to the right stage for this cake is very important. According to most bloggers including Sonia from Nasi Lemak Lover, the egg white is only required to beat to soft peaks. To further tackle this problem, I have used the same technique that I did baking my Japanese Honey Castella Cake which is to pour my cake batter through a sieve into a cake pan. This simple test will ensure and determine if your egg white in your cake batter has been over-beaten or not. If your cake batter can't pass through your sieve, this means that you have over-beaten your egg white...
Update on 1 May 2013: Please check my Vanilla Xiang Si Cake post for my improved Xiang Si cake baking. As advised by Sonia, Nasi Lemak Lover, the egg whites should be beaten to near stiff peaks, not soft peaks.
|Finally... my Xiang Si cake|
|These are things to prepare...|
|Making the cake...|
|Baking the cake...|
|Invert my cake onto a cake rack to cool completely|
|A little sweet and salty with nice coffee fragrance: a perfect way to enjoy nice cottony texture of this cake.|
Here's my adapted recipe (which half amount of the recipe used by most Asian bloggers including Sonia from Nasi Lemak Lover, Minty from Minty's Kitchen and Min from Min's Blog)
For 14cm square tin
5g decaf instant coffee and 5g cocoa powder mixed 20ml of hot milk
25ml rice bran oil
¼ tsp salt
2 ½ egg yolk
½ whole egg
35g cake flour
2 ½ egg white
35g caster sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar
Line baking sheet at the bottom of an un-greased 14 cm square pan and preheat the oven to 130°C fan forced with a tray of boiling water on the most bottom rack.
Whisk corn oil, milk, coffee mixture, salt, egg yolk and whole egg until frothy.
Sift in flour and mix well, put aside.
Using electric mixer, beat egg white with tartar powder and castor sugar till soft peak.
Using a spoon, mix mixture A and B together until well combined. Press with a spatula to help batter go through a sieve. Tap pan lightly to remove air bubbles. Using a spatula, smoothen the top of batter to remove any remaining bubbles.
Cover the pan loosely with foil with holes and bake at 130°C fan forced for 40 mins. Remove foil and bake for another 20 mins or until cake tester comes out to be completely clean.
Invert pan onto a cake rack and allow it to cool completely.
Please note that this cake has a little bittersweet taste and please do not reduce the amount of sugar added into this cake.
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Being away from home (Singapore), this is where and how we celebrate our Chinese New Year. We were at Lorne, a seaside town along Great Ocean Road at Victoria, Australia with blue sky, fine sand and crystal clear water... Enjoy the scenes of our "Chinese New Year" celebration!