Wow…I’ve neglected my blog for a long time.
The recipe that I am going to write about here is another Japanese recipe that I’ve made back in fall (it is winter now :)). Anyways, I found this recipe on a Youtube video here. The video is Japanese and the video quality is not the best but the recipe is AWESOME. I’ve always wanted to find a good recipe for the Castella or also known as “Kasutera” in Japanese romaji. It is basically a traditional Japanese sponge cake made without using any leavening ingredients (ie. baking powder etc.) nor any oils. It is always served in (almost) square slices like photographed above. Another special thing about this cake is that it is traditionally made with bread flour – not cake flour. The bread flour gives it a slightly chewy texture and honey also adds moisture to the cake which makes it very good to enjoy without serving it with cream, fruits, syrup etc. The castella was brought to Japan by the Portuguese and the Japanese eventually made it to suit their taste, making it a famous Nagasaki sweet.
The video above shows you how to bake the cake in a newspaper mould, the instructions for making the mould is here. Yes, it might sound crazy to bake something in newspaper but it works very well according to the video. To my knowledge, this cake is traditionally baked in a special wooden mould but making your own with newspaper is very affordable and easy. I have a 7″ square cake pan at home so I didn’t make my own mould with newspaper, and it just worked as well. I made a half batch of the recipe in the video and baked it in a 7″ square pan. I didn’t follow the instructions on the video exactly. I mixed in the yolks, flour and honey with my trusty stand mixer instead of by hand because I was too lazy to do it by hand.
- 5 Egg Yolks (room temperature)
- 4 Egg Whites (room temperature)
- 125 g Granulated Sugar
- 100 g Bread Flour (sifted)
- 15 g Turbinado Sugar (optional)
- 50 g Honey (diluted with 2-3 tbsp. hot water)
- Prepare pan: line insides and bottom of pan with foil and add a piece of parchment paper onto the bottom, sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Preheat oven to about 325 F / 160 C.
- Place egg whites in mixing bowl and mix with a mixer on high speed for about 30 seconds and start adding sugar in 2 - 3 times. Beat until firm peaks are formed.
- Add yolks one by one and mix on low speed until well combined.
- Add sifted bread flour and mix on low speed until just combined.
- Add honey and hot water mixture and mix on low speed until mixed.
- Pour batter through a sieve into cake pan, use a spatula or whisk to help the thick batter go through the sieve.
- Tap pan on the counter to remove any large bubbles in the batter.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 60 minutes or until golden brown on top - check with a skewer to see if cake is ready.
- If ready, take out of oven (with oven mitts) and drop the pan on the counter from about a foot in height to prevent shrinkage.
- Cool cake. Revert cake onto a piece of parchment paper and plastic wrap, remove foil and wrap in plastic wrap until ready to serve (at least overnight) to preserve moisture in cake (leave upside down).
- Cut off edges and slice to serve!