Friday, November 15, 2013

Foodie Fridays - Kasutera (Castella Sponge Cake) in a rice cooker

Alright, I may have bitten off more then I can chew when I jumped head on for Mama Sue's What's Cooking blog train - Japanese cuisine.  For a cuisine that the DinoFamily love so much and with dishes that looks so simple to prepare, there is nothing simple about it.  For starters I am clueless about the Japanese seasoning let alone where to get them.  I was really late in submitting my dish and was almost on the verge of giving up.  However, that is not an option for me, plus I do not like to join a blog train only to back out later.

I actually picked a dish in my newly purchased Japanese cookbook but it is still missing some ingredients.  Time is running out and I am really like an ant on hot pan, translated to 热锅上的蚂蚁 in Chinese.  Then I chanced upon Ochikeron's youtube, baking a Kasutera or Japanese sponge cake using a rice cooker and I immediately decided to do this instead.  I have just started to get interested in making different dishes using the rice cooker, dishes besides the usual plain white rice or one pot rice dishes and this looks like one recipe to add to my list.

According to the all mighty wiki - Kasutera is a popular Japanese sponge cake brought by way of Portuguese merchants in the 16th century. The name is derived from Portuguese Pão de Castela, meaning "bread from Castile". Castella cake is usually sold in long boxes, with the cake inside being approximately 27 cm long. It is somewhat similar to Madeira cake, also associated with Portugal, but its closest relative is pão-de-ló, also a Portuguese cake.  All these names are so foreign to me but its good to know where the cake originated.

Well, the video makes the baking of the cake looks easy-peasy loemon squeezy~ but being a noob baker there are a few things that leaves question marks in my mind.  How long should I whisk my egg & sugar mixture till its white and fluffy? Or until the batter drips back into the bowl like a ribbon?  I did not have time to find out the answer then but managed to find a good site at Just Hungry that explains clearly the taste of a Kasutera cake with a detailed step by step guide and tips on baking this cake.

Anyway, my cake turned out ok; since I have not tasted the Kasutera cake before I wouldn't know if its anything close to the real thing.  According to Ms Maki of Just Hungry, the cake should be "moist, with a very fine texture, and is very light... It is sweet yet not cloyingly sweet."  Alright...

moist - checked
fine texture - nothing near that
light - not really, it has a springy bread like texture
sweetness - checked!

So half good?  I really don't know!  Who will be so kind to bake or buy a Kasutera for me to taste???  Next time I am trying Ms Maki's recipe in my oven, then I will know if its a success this time.

Kasutera (Castella Sponge Cake)

by DinoMama (adapted from Ochikeron's recipe
Prep Time: 30mins
Cook Time: 45-50mins
Keywords: bake dessert cake Japanese

* 3 eggs
* 90g (3.2oz.) sugar
* 45g (1.6oz.) cake flour +
* 45g (1.6oz.) bread flour (strong flour) +
* 2 tbsp. milk
* 1 tbsp. honey
* butter
+you can use 90g (3.2oz.) all purpose flour instead

1. Warm the milk in a saucepan. Add honey and mix well.
2. Place the eggs and sugar in a large bowl. Beat them with an electric mixer until white and fluffy.
3. Add 1 in 2. Place the bowl over a pan of hot water. Mix until the batter continuously drips back into the bowl like a ribbon when you scoop it up.
4. Sift in flour and gently cut through the mixture with a spatula until combined.
5. Butter the pot of the rice cooker and pour in the mixture. Drop the pot lightly on the counter to raise the air bubbles out of the batter. Place the pot in the rice cooker, close the rice cooker, then press the button to start. *When it is half-baked, press the button to start (cook) once again.
6. When it's done, let cool on a wire rack until warm. Then place it in a plastic bag (to keep it moist) to cool completely. It tastes even better the next day after the flavors have settled!

How to bake in the oven:
Bake in an oven at 170C (338F) for 10 minutes. Then turn down to 140C (284F) and bake for 40-45 minutes.

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  1. A cake in a rice cooker... hmmm... very interesting. Looks very doable though. I must give this a try and see how it turns out!

    1. Serenely, I'm sure you will do a better job then me. Mine is not perfect.

  2. Thanks for sharing this such a nice Rice cooker product .i am happy to buy this.

  3. Reminds me of the anime I watched before - Yakitate Japan - where the lead character baked bread using rice cooker. This is something very interesting and easy, I might try this one... I just have to unearth our old rice cooker from its hiding. :)

  4. I have not tried that cake before too Jen but wow, with a rice cooker?!? That's a first! Looks fun! Thanks for participating and not giving up!!!

    1. Mama Sue, it was not a good bake but its a new experience to me baking using a rice cooker =) You know I don't like to make a promise only to back down at the last minute right? *wink wink*

  5. Thanks for sharing this post..i am using this rice cooker ,it consume less power and save your money & make a delicious food

    1. Rice cookers in recent years has become more versatile thus we can use it for more variety of uses.

  6. wow.. one of my favorite cakes and i mostly baked at the oven.
    i'll try in a rice cooker. very interesting ^^
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Ratri, mine is sort of a failure coz the color does not seem right. Pls try and let me know if it's as good as oven baked.

  7. I tried this recipe yesterday. Honestly, I think there's a problem with the measurements as the cake she makes seems HUGE compared to the flat, dense mess I made and had to throw out :( Even the milk she cooks seems like a LOT more than a tablespoon.

    1. Mine did not turned out well too but mine tasted good though.