Yesterday, I had the day off so I had enough time to make the Lentil Burritos for lunch and then bake later in the afternoon! I was really looking forward to that. See, a few days ago, my kitchen scale came in the mail and I've been dying to use it! The first thing that popped into my head was this Korean baking website, Baking School. They have recipes for Korean desserts and sometimes an entree makes an appearance. But the desserts are what you'd see at a Korean bakery. Have you ever been? If not, you should. Donuts sprinkled with sugar, bread shaped like walnuts with red bean paste inside, custard bread, peanut cream sandwich bread, chestnut bread, pizza bread (my favorite and the hardest to come by), corn sticks, and fancier bakeries have even more. There is also something about the way Koreans make sandwich bread that I prefer when eating as toast. I can't even choose a favorite because they are all delicious, but one thing that I always did get was Castella, a Japanese sponge cake. The soft spongy texture is so good. But no matter how irresistible, I couldn't afford to buy it so frequently.
Unfortunately, all the measurements on that website is in grams, which didn't help the kitchen-scale-less me. So for two years, I've just been bookmarking recipes, dreaming of the day I would be able to make anything from that site. The day has come! The scale is seriously great. Light, simple, and runs on AAA batteries too so nothing I have to go searching high and low for.
Castella is a recipe that requires more work than most other cakes. Of course, if you have a stand mixer, then probably not, but I have just a hand mixer. At least my arms got a workout. My end result certainly did not look very pretty and because it was not as dark as the original post, I thought it must not be done yet, but the toothpick came out clean. After brushing on some melted butter, I waited for the cake to cool. Now that I think about it, it's been more than 3 years since I've had Castella! But once I took a bite, it all came back to me. Delicious, soft, and spongy just as I remember.
From Baking School
- 4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
- 90 to 100 grams sugar
- 30 grams milk
- 20 grams honey
- 10 grams corn syrup
- 2 tsp rum extract (or mirin)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 100 grams bread flour
- melted butter to brush on top
1. Prepare baking pan by lining with parchment paper.
2. Mix egg whites on high for 10 seconds. The strategy this website provides is add 30 grams sugar, mix on middle speed, then on the weakest speed, then on the highest speed. Add 30 to 40 grams of sugar, mid speed, weak, high. Add the salt, mid, weak, high again.
3. In another bowl, mix the egg yolks. Then add 30 grams sugar until the yolk mixture turns a lighter yellow.
4. Melt the milk, honey and corn syrup together. Add it to the yolk mixture little by little and mixing after each time.
5. Add 1/3 of the meringue to the yolk mixture and fold gently. Add 1/3 of the bread flour and mix until just blended. Keep alternating with the remaining meringue and bread flour.
6. Pour the batter from a high height into the center of the prepared baking pan. If the batter makes a rippling pattern, then it's done right. Pick up the baking pan and drop onto counter twice. Even the batter out with a spatula.
7. Bake at 335F (170C) for 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 310F (150C) and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Start testing at 30 minutes to see if it is done as every oven varies.
8. When it is done, take it out of the oven and drop onto the counter again. Then brush the top with the melted butter.
I will definitely keep making this until it looks like the picture on the site! I didn't realize I had skipped the sifting step. The site suggests sifting the bread flour at least twice. I also whipped the egg whites a bit too much so the cake came out a bit tough this time. Still, that first bite brought back such tasty memories that I'm satisfied.