I made honey castella cake again, to be given as a gift to a dear friend. In this second attempt, I used Australia honey and the cake turned out lighter. Besides this, I also reduced the sugar used and used mirin.
In the first attempt, I whisked the eggs using setting 2 and switched to setting 1 after the egg mixture started thickening. The texture was less dense than this cake. For this cake, I used setting 1 throughout and it resulted in a more dense, less porous cake texture. Not an easy task. It took me 1 and a half hour of continuous whisking to get it to the correct consistency. I heated the egg mixture on and off over a pot of gently simmering water.
I used 10 eggs for this cake instead of 8 eggs. Recipe is for pan or wooden mould size 19cm by 29cm (7 1/2 by 11 1/2 inches)
(Recipe adapted from Ms. Maki’s)
- 10 eggs (55 grams each)
- 250 grams granulated sugar
- 250 grams bread flour, sifted twice
- 5 tbsp (100ml) honey
- 5 tbsp mirin
- 25ml milk
- Honey water (1 tbsp honey + 1 tbsp warm water)
- Sugar for sprinking (about 1 tbsp)
- Line pan or wooden mould with parchment paper, with around 2-3 cm of parchment paper overhanging the sides of the pan or mould. This facilitates easy removal of the cake when done. The wooden mould I use is 19cm by 29cm. If using mould, do line the bottom of the mould with aluminum foil. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of sugar on the parchment paper.
- Warm milk slightly, either in the microwave or in a saucepan over low fire. Add honey and whisk until combined.
- Crack eggs into a large heat-proof bowl. Whisk, using the lowest setting, until combined with a hand mixer. Add in sugar in 3 portions and whisk after each addition.
- Place bowl over a pot of simmering water and start whisking the egg sugar mixture over a low setting. Be prepared to whisk for an hour and a half if you use the lowest setting on your hand mixture. Every 15 minutes, take the bowl off the pot of simmering water and continue whisking. Test temperature of the egg mixture by touching the outside of the bowl or dipping your finger (clean or not up to you :P) into the egg mixture. When temperature falls below lukewarm, place the bowl back on the pot of simmering water.
- The egg sugar mixture is ready when it is thick and flowy. The mixture drips off the whisk slowly and when you draw an “O” in the mixture with your whisk, it takes around 10 seconds before it melds back.
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celcius.
- Whisk in honey and milk mixture and mirin. Whisk in flour a tablespoon at a time until combined. Make sure no pockets of flour remain. You may use either a hand whisk or the mixer.
- Pour batter into prepared tin or mould. Using a bamboo skewer, draw a few “Z” in the batter. This will help release large air pockets in the batter.
- Bake in middle rack of the oven for 1 hour 20 minutes. Check on the cake at around 20 minutes and loosely place a sheet of aluminum foil over the cake to prevent the cake from browning too fast, if necessary. The timing indicated is for my oven. I suggest to start checking for doneness for the cake from 1 hour 5 minutes onwards. Cake is done when there is no jiggling and the top is nicely browned. Do note the first time I made this cake, I pierced the cake with a bamboo skewer when the cake was not yet ready and it kind of deflated a bit. Though the deflation was not drastic, you could still see a slight difference.
- When cake is done, brush the top with all of the honey water. Let cool for around 5-10 minutes, remove cake from pan or wooden mould, remove parchment paper and place cake on another sheet of clean parchment paper. Wrap cake in parchment paper, followed by cling wrap. Place wrapped cake carefully into a large ziploc bag and let it cool in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. This will help retain moisture in the cake.
It is not an easy cake to attempt, but it is certainly challenging! I still have loads to improve. My cutting skills are still terrible and the top of the cake always turns out wrinkly and a bit soggy. I think this is because I did not let the cake cool long enough after brushing on the honey water. I’m too impatient, I guess. I shall try again!