Monday, September 5, 2016

Japanese Sakura / Cherry Blossom Castella Cake for Spring

Yay! It's Spring now in Melbourne. The weather is mild and beautiful with many pretty flowers blooming everywhere. I love Spring and very inspired to bake something that is related to Spring and cherry blossoms...

If you have been following my Japanese Castella cake baking exploration, you will know that I have found the BEST Castella cake recipe that is also rather fail proof at here.

To continue, this is a short 4th episode of my Castella cake baking adventure and here, I'm testing the "BEST" Castella cake recipe to see if I can bake a Castella cake with pickled sakura (cherry blossom) topping and it works very well too!

FYI if you are interested: My 1st, 2nd and 3rd episodes are at here, here and here.

I'm happy to see that the weight of the flowers didn't weigh the spongy cake texture down and once again, it can produce a beautiful Castella cake that is so moist and elegant with a nice salty plumy taste.

Double triple confirmed that this Castella cake recipe is awesome!!!

Sakura Castella Cake for Spring
See! This cake is so perfectly and nicely risen!

Want to see how I bake this cake? Watch my one-minute video and I hope that it will help you to bake a beautiful Sakura Castella cake too. For more Castella cake baking tips, please read here, here and here.

Love love love this elegant sakura Castella cake.
Simply perfect to enjoy for our Spring season
This is why I love this cake so much.
Every bite of it is perfectly moist and beautiful.

And I hope that you will enjoy baking this cake too :)

Here's the recipe that is very modified adapted from here

Make one 17.5 x 10.5 x 8 cm or 10 x 20 x 8 cm Castella cake

Please weigh all ingredients and use the exact weight.

For the egg yolk mixture:
50g milk
30g oil, preferably any oil that is light. smooth and neutral tasting
40g (about 2 tbsp) honey and I'm using sakura honey
45g egg yolks (about 3 egg yolks), at room temperature
60g caster sugar
115g bread flour with about 12% protein
a few drops of pink food colouring, optional - I'm using the natural food colouring and it is very mild

For the egg white mixture:
105g egg whites (about 3 egg whites), at room temperature
60g caster sugar

2 tbsp pearl sugar to sprinkle the bottom of the cake
9-10 salt-preserved sakura flowers to top the cake
Note: You can buy salt-preserved sakura flowers from selected Japanese grocery shops in Melbourne city or online at Nihon Ichiban from Japan. These flowers are properly processed, packaged and labelled and so the Australian quarantine won't stop these purchases from arriving at your home. 

Place a baking rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F with NO fan forced.

Line the internal sides of your cake or loaf pan with aluminum foil and a piece of baking paper to fit its bottom. Sprinkle the bottom of the lined pan with pearl sugar. If you are using 10 x 20 cm standard loaf metal pan, please see here for instructions and photos to prepare your metal loaf pan for your Castella cake baking.

For the egg yolk mixture:
Place milk, oil and honey in a saucepan or heat proof bowl. Cook mixture in the saucepan using the stove with low heat or microwave mixture in the heat proof bowl with short pulses of low power until the honey dissolves into the mixture. Do not over-cook the mixture until it boils because overcooking the mixture will cause it to curd!!! Set aside for the mixture to cool slightly, about 10 mins.

Place egg yolks and sugar in a large mixing bowl and use a hand whisk to beat until mixture turns lighter in colour. Whisk in the honey mixture. Sift flour into egg yolk mixture and whisk until everything is combined. Stir adequate amount of food colouring into the mixture if desired.

For the egg white mixture:
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites in medium low speed until foamy. Increase beating speed to medium (not too high to avoid large bubbles forming). While beating, add sugar gradually and continue to beat until stiff peaks form and the meringue look smooth and glossy. Do not over beat the mixture.

To combine and bake:
Using a hand whisk or a spatula, gently fold in the egg whites to the egg yolks mixture in 3 portions. It is ok to mix the 1st portion of egg white more vigorously into the egg yolk mixture but the subsequent portions must be folded in very gently. Make sure that most of the white is not visible after folding.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Gently drop the pan onto the kitchen bench from a height of 10 cm to remove any large air bubbles and do this just once. If you are afraid of doing this, you can use a skewer to draw a zigzag to remove air bubbles in the batter. You can choose to do either one of these steps or both but do not over-do these steps.

Very gently, place sakura flowers on the batter. Place pan in the middle rack and bake for 10 mins. Decrease temperature to 140°C / 285°F and bake for another 60 mins, or until the cake is thoroughly cooked and must has a nice golden brown top. NOTE: (1) An inserted skewer or cake tester is not a good gauge to see if the cake is thoroughly cooked. (2) Different oven is different. To optimize your baking, you might wish to try other oven temperature setting that I have mentioned earlier in this post at here.

Allow the cake to cool with the foil until the cake is still warm but cooled enough to touch. Remove the cake out of the pan, peel off the foil and the baking paper at its bottom and wrap the cake in plastic wrap. Place cake in an airtight container or a zip lock bag and allow it to rest in room temperature so that the cake will moisten by itself for at least one day.

Slice and serve on the next day. Store the uneaten cake in an airtight container for up to 3 days in room temperature and I promise you that it will be still moist and nice!

Happy Baking
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  1. You had me at fail-proof, Zoe. This is a gorgeous looking cake! ^.^

  2. Happy Spring! Your cake looks beautiful. You are so very talented.


  3. I wish I could ask you to send me a little parcel of these melt-in-mouth slices... delicious!

  4. Great combination! Love to have a bite too, dear! xoxo

  5. Happy Spring! What a nice cake -- great way to celebrate the season. :-)

  6. It looks so yummy. Could I ask where I can buy the Sakura flowers in Melbourne :)

    1. Hi, I saw a Asian grocery shop along Elizabeth Street in the city selling these pickled flowers before but cannot recall the shop's name. Otherwise, you can buy these online from any Japanese food shop. I bought mine from Nihon Ichiban. Cheers!