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Honey Castella


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BTW, Bunmeido had a seasonal Yogurt Castella on sale (680 yen for 1/2 block size) when I went through Narita Airport.

I stupidly held back on buying, but will ask my wife to pick one up in a few weeks.

Gratuitous Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4it1Ji7IEnQ

80s version:

Edited by sanrensho (log)
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I was wondering how I got here via Google and not the P&B Forum index, hahaha! Found the topic too late, though-- I already made Pichet Ong's Honey Castella. It should make an appearance soon on the Desserts thread. The top of mine didn't brown as dark as the examples here (or Ong's book), but it was still spectacular. The crumb was too open based on the replies here, but it's my first ever taste of Castella, so I didn't mind. That is the fastest that a cake has disappeared in this household.

The reason I was drawn to the castella recipe first (I just received the book) was because of this entry at Cake Chef:

http://www.cakechef.info/special/chef_aida...tte1/index.html

If you backtrack to the opening page, the crumb is very dense and the top's very dark-- very appealing indeed. Unfortunately, the recipe called for invert sugar, to which I don't have access (whaddya think? Use corn syrup?). If you watch the movie at the site, he doesn't whip it to a thick ribbon either (Ong's recipe is very thick-- beat it using a hand mixer for 10 minutes over heat, then 6 minutes-- I didn't think it could get any thicker as a whole-egg meringue). Neither does he disturb it while in the oven, I think. There's a step that I can't understand, even with Google Translate-- the step before it goes in the oven.

Mark

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Hello jumanggy! Thank you for the link to that great site. I loved the overhead, step by step photos. Can anyone tell me what those 7 ingredients are that are listed at the top of the page?

sanrensho--very cute videos! Thanks!

Edited by Mary Elizabeth (log)
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No problem :smile:

400g Whole eggs

280g Sugar

240g Flour

280g Butter (It's translated to "butter fermentation." Er...)

80g Honey

40g Invert sugar

28g Baking powder (!)

The sequence is almost the same-- sweeteners and baking powder in eggs, beat over a flame until 40°C. Whip until thick and pale. Fold in flour, then the butter that has been melted and cooled to 60°C. I'm not sure if there's a step before baking. (Er... It's not like they freeze it or anything like that, right?) Bake at 180°C for 35-40 minutes. Cool inverted? Dunno.

Edited by jumanggy (log)

Mark

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No problem :smile:

400g Whole eggs

280g Sugar

240g Flour

280g Butter (It's translated to "butter fermentation." Er...)

80g Honey

40g Invert sugar

28g Baking powder (!)

The sequence is almost the same-- sweeteners and baking powder in eggs, beat over a flame until 40°C. Whip until thick and pale. Fold in flour, then the butter that has been melted and cooled to 60°C. I'm not sure if there's a step before baking. (Er... It's not like they freeze it or anything like that, right?) Bake at 180°C for 35-40 minutes. Cool inverted? Dunno.

I've made the Butter Castella recipe before. It was good, but nothing like the dense texture of Bunmeido castella. Of course, it could have been my technique.

Couple of notes:

1. The recipe calls for "hakko butter" or cultured butter. This is of course a twist on traditional castella (traditionally no added fats).

2. There is no extra step (before putting in the oven) described in the video or text. Note that one of the Bunmeido sites shows the baker carefully stirring bubbles out of the batter before it goes into the oven, but the CakeChef photo seems to show a decently dense crumb.

3. It does say to invert to cool. You can see it flipped over in the last photo.

I'll add one more tasting note about Bunmeido castella (based on memory, the cakes I have in the fridge are the "maki" type). The Bunmeido process uses coarse sugar mixed into the batter at the very end. If I recall correctly, some of this settles into the bottom skin.

Now on foam and genoise cakes, the skin generally just doesn't taste that great and is a good reason to trim cakes, in addition to the need for leveling. However, the coarse sugar makes the skin on the Bunmeido cakes taste really good. In fact, I usually take a knife and scrape off the "skin" that is stuck to the parchment paper on Bunmeido castella and eat it, it is that good.

Mary, you're welcome for the videos, now I have that jingle permanently stuck in my head. :wink:

Edited by sanrensho (log)
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Okay, today I made SuzySushi's recipe, and it really turned out well. Great flavor, great texture. I baked it in an 11x17" pan (couldn't find any 9x9's around, and I was under the gun, so it had to bake fast and I wanted to make sure it was thoroughly cooked before I shot out of the house). The top, sides, and bottom were evenly brown, the cake moist and eggy and tasting marvelously of honey. I'd definitely make this again!

A couple things I did that were different from SuzySushi's recipe but seemed to work out well: First, I put a cookie sheet both under and on top of the pan; this really helped the cake to cook quickly and evenly. Warning: lightly grease the top pan so that the cake doesn't stick to it! Don't ask me how I know this.

Second, I used a Korean all-purpose white wheat flour that is a lot lighter than American all-purpose, since I've found that it's closer to what's used in Chinese noodle recipes. It has a polar bear logo and green printing; since I don't read Korean, that's all I can tell you about what I used! However, if you can't find it in spite of this excellent and detailed description, a close approximation is 6 parts pastry flour to 1 part all-purpose.

Next up: Kuma's recipe and a visit to the local muumuu shop.

Thanks for the vote of confidence in my recipe! :smile: Now I need to try baking it with a (greased) cookie sheet on top!

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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gallery_59865_6000_17199.jpg

I bought this cake at the Nijiya Market in San Francisco--shinju, you are in the bay area, so you must know this market. The ingredients are eggs, sugar, flour, black sugar (brown sugar?), cornsyrup, honey, malt, OSE corn syrup.

sanrensho--Thank you for pointing out that the cake was inverted to cool in the cakechef pictures, I missed that. Re: sugar at bottom of cake, one internet recipe said to sprinkle sugar on the pan bottom before you poured the batter in.

jumanggy--I agree that the Ong cake is especially delicious. I'm just going to keep that cake recipe as it is, do separate, stiff white/yolk foams and bake like a chiffon. I think his high sugar, extra yolks, and oil makes a really tender sponge that is its own hybrid. I'll keep watching this site for a good kasutera recipe and technique. Although it annoys me that the picture in Ong's book seems to be of a kasutera, but not the one from his recipe. I agree with your observation that a part of the kasutera technique we see in the pictures and videos is beating the eggs to thin foam, not ribbon-forming thickness.

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Both the Bunmeido and Shinju's link from another manufacturer say that the coarse sugar is mixed into the batter (some of it ending up on the bottom).

BTW, here is a link that shows what zarame (coarse) sugar looks like:

http://shop.tomizawa.co.jp/category/data_d...=06&pg=&ID=3898

It's too bad there isn't a Bunmeido outlet in California, or anywhere on the continent for that matter. Maybe you can find a local source that flies it in?

For the CakeChef Butter Castella recipe, the instructions say to foam to about 40-50% of full foam. I don't interpret that as thin foam, but the opposite--thick foam or only 40% aerated.

sanrensho--Thank you for pointing out that the cake was inverted to cool in the cakechef pictures, I missed that.  Re:  sugar at bottom of cake, one internet recipe said to sprinkle sugar on the pan bottom before you poured the batter in.

jumanggy--I agree that the Ong cake is especially delicious.  I'm just going to keep that cake recipe as it is, do separate, stiff white/yolk foams and bake like a chiffon.  I think his high sugar, extra yolks, and oil makes a really tender sponge that is its own hybrid.  I'll keep watching this site for a good kasutera recipe and technique.  Although it annoys me that the picture in Ong's book seems to be of a kasutera, but not the one from his recipe. I agree with your observation that a part of the kasutera technique we see in the pictures and videos is beating the eggs to thin foam, not ribbon-forming thickness.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
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It's too bad there isn't a Bunmeido outlet in California, or anywhere on the continent for that matter. Maybe you can find a local source that flies it in?

Ah! But there is a Bunmeido in Hawaii, and they do mail orders:

http://www.hawaiibid.com/bunmeido/

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Sanrenso - that tune takes me back to my youth. Yogurt kasutera sounds very interesting. I wish I had Bunmeido kasutera that I can do some serious comparison too.

Jumanggy - thanks for the video and another good lead. Within a week, I plan on testing that recipe as well.

Mary Elizabeth - I have Nijiya within 5 minutes drive in Mountain View. How was that one? I've purchased several at Nijiya in the past and have been disappointed. Don't remember the brands I purchased, but they seemed really dried out. Are you happy with your purchase?

Last night I started my first kasutera. And, wouldn't you know it, I also made the same mistake by not oiling the pan that goes on top. I thought it would not touch, but I was wrong.

My batter was quite thick going in after whipping for 6 minutes - I may back off on that a bit to make the batter thinner.

The taste of was right on, not too eggy and not too honey-like. But, the 35-40 minutes in my oven was too long. I need to decrease the timing. It was bit too dry for my taste, but the texture was quite appealing. It was a little chewy - dense but light at the same time. I would like to see finer texture though. Still needs some tweaking due to my lack of technique and my oven that seems to overbake at times.

I used 9 x 9 x 2 in square pan and it was too big for this recipe. Kasutera ended up being a little over 1 inch high. I also inverted the cake after it finished baking before covering it with plastic. The bottom is where it hit the top pan - so not much darkness there.

kasutera.jpg

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sanrensho--zarame is beautiful. That's a great technique.

shinju--OK, I am really impressed. That top crust especially is right on the mark. It has a smoothe surface and is distinct from the cake. When you're done tweaking, will you tell us how you did it? You really did a terrific job!

And no, that cake from Nijiya was not very good, due to storage problems probably.

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Here's my first make/taste of Castella (Pichet Ong):

gallery_53129_4592_18436.jpg

gallery_53129_4592_8614.jpg

Really, really good. My top crust wasn't as dark as Ong's (?) but it did look much more velvety (maybe that's not even the way Castella's supposed to be, but everyone liked it a lot). As you can see there's about a half-centimeter contraction of the cake; there's a raised rim of top crust all around (probably from where it remained stuck to the parchment as the cake sank). Maybe I'll invert it as it cools next time but frankly I'm not too bothered by it. Plus there's the risk of the top crust ripping apart!

Edited by jumanggy (log)

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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jumanggy--You did a nice job. That cake looks great. Mine sunk more in the middle when I tried half the recipe in an 8" round cake pan. My technique, without doubt.

Did you put a parchment collar around the sides of the pan?

Nice photos, as usual.

Edited by Mary Elizabeth (log)
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Yep :smile: Once I saw that the CakeChef chef used a parchment collar, I took it as a green light to add my own. Nothing more tragic than a cake destroyed at that last step of unmolding!

I didn't grease the parchment collar, though.

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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jumanggy--I greased my parchment liner, which led to the very collapsed castella at the top of the thread.

sanrenso--You mention that the foam is 40-50% -- (is that a volume to weight ratio?) -- and that that is a thick foam, not a weak foam as I had suggested. That is a very important point. The cakes are light, with alot of air incorporated; it is just that the air bubbles are small and even, so that it looks like a tight crumb. The thread "Tiger skin roulade" has a picture of another type of sponge with small, regular bubbles. I wonder how they get bubbles like that? I skimmed through Mcgee's "egg foam" section, but I couldn't find anything that addressed that issue. I have seen cookbooks say to beat slow-medium to get a small bubble/stable foam. I wonder if they use some emulsifier to get that fine grain, or if it is beating technique.

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sanrenso--You mention that the foam is 40-50% -- (is that a volume to weight ratio?) -- and that that is a thick foam, not a weak foam as I had suggested.  That is a very important point.

Japanese chefs and cookbooks use a different way to refer to the stiffness of whipping, which I find a bit more precise. Stiff peaks would be the reference point, so here the chef is referring to 4/10ths or 5/10ths of stiff speaks. Or, if you prefer, "whipping 4/10ths of a way to stiff peaks."

I simplified this to percentages for ease of explanation, which may have been confusing. I hope the above makes sense.

Overall, I wouldn't categorize traditional castella cake as light by any stretch of the imagination. It is dense but moist (yet not soaked) and the crumb doesn't fall apart. If you break apart a slice of castella, it separates more into clumps I guess. Not crumbs. It is very distinct from any sponge cake I have made or had (genoise, separated egg or chiffon--unsoaked or soaked).

Not to be repetitive, but I have had lots of "castella cake" that is not like the real thing at all--from non-Japanese bakeries especially. But also cheap castella cake in Japan that was just plain sponge cake--nothing special.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
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The thread "Tiger skin roulade" has a picture of another type of sponge with small, regular bubbles.  I wonder how they get bubbles like that?  I skimmed through Mcgee's "egg foam" section, but I couldn't find anything that addressed that issue.  I have seen cookbooks say to beat slow-medium to get a small bubble/stable foam. I wonder if they use some emulsifier to get that fine grain, or if it is beating technique.

This is straying from the topic, but the tiger skin sponge cakes that I've had have been from commercial Chinese bakeries (here in Vancouver). My understanding is that they basically all use commercial emulsifiers in their sponge cakes.

I can't remember the name of the product at the moment, but these emulsifiers are also used for sponge cakes that you by from supermarkets and lower-end bakeries in Japan. (It was a Japanese product.)

EDITED: I found the link. Riken is a Japanese company.

http://www.rikenvitamin.jp/int/emulsifier/index.html

http://www.rikenvitamin.jp/int/emulsifier/...ion/04cake.html

Also, this thread talks about the use of mixes/stabilizers in sponge cakes typically found in Chinese bakeries. Read from post #9 down:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=71162

Edited by sanrensho (log)
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Japanese chefs and cookbooks use a different way to refer to the stiffness of whipping, which I find a bit more precise. Stiff peaks would be the reference point, so here the chef is referring to 4/10ths or 5/10ths of stiff speaks. Or, if you prefer, "whipping 4/10ths of a way to stiff peaks."

Gosh, this system takes a LOT of getting used to! I'd have no idea what half a stiff peak is! I wonder if they have a "peak diagram" (10%, 20%, 30%, so on) in Japanese baking books :hmmm:

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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  • 6 months later...
  • 5 years later...

Resurrecting this thread because I want to make a honey castella cake. I made one several years ago but can't find the recipe. I remember there was a you tube video, but how does one find a 3 or 4-year old you tube video? What I remember most about it: the cake batter was poured through a fine sieve to make sure there were no air bubbles. I had never seen that before. I remember the recipe called for a 7-inch square cake pan, which I duly went out and bought. Also, bread flour is stressed, not AP flour, not cake flour, only bread flour for an "authentic" texture. I've seen a few recipes that I think look good, the one from kitchentigress looking best to me, and I will try that one. Has anyone made this cake lately? Tips to share? It is a lovely cake.  

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