Monday, May 17, 2010

My 1st Attempt in Kasutera Japanese Sponge Cake

When you see me posting 'My 1st Attempt'…..that meant that I have failed in my 1st attempt and that they will be more posting on this item that I'm dying to achieve and will work harder to achieve it. First it was the Pullman White Bread, then the Macarons………, eh, I think the Macarons I totally didn't have the heart to even put up a post to talk about my first 3 attempts before I finally succeeded in the 4th one :P........well, it's too heartbreaking to talk about it L
Well, I was very curious about the Kasutera Japanase Sponge Cake or aka Castella Cake. The reason is because when I went through the recipe and the method, it was a very different group of ingredients compared to a normal sponge cake.......and as for the methods......special steps are taken to achieve that cake.........just take a good look at the original Kasutera's texture is so fine and velvety ………. I actually wouldn't call it 'sponge cake'…… it is so velvety and fine that the word 'sponge' does not actually fits the category.......its a total opposite of a normal sponge cake that I used to bake. I'm surprised why the Japanese called it a sponge cake, it's just too 'high class' for a cake of this texture to be called sponge cake.
Anyway, I wanted so much to bake this cake from the moment I laid my eyes on that piece of Kasutera I saw in the web. I don't know if this photographer has done some 'fixing' to this picture or not, but it sure captures my attention. I told myself I have to learn this cake and I will definitely try baking it no matter how many times I fail. I searched and searched and study all the pros and cons and techniques to bake this cake. I knew very well that I have gathered the 'perfect' recipe as I have seen many praised Ms Maki of  Just Hungry for this superb recipe and detailed explanation of the method that she has spend 'don't know' how much time to penned it down and share with us. So, why do I still fail?...........The answer is …….it's all on ME and MY technique and also my "not enough" understanding of this cake. My Kasutera turned out OK as a sponge cake, but of course not OK as a "Kasutera Japanese Sponge Cake".

My mistakes, I reckoned would be :-
  1. I did not beat out the air bubbles in the batter enough to release all the air and that resulted in a spongy cake with a loose and crumbly texture;
  2. And I beat the eggs on medium speed, which resulted bigger air bubbles and that's why the cake turned out to have bigger airholes. This cake requires complete patience and it has to be beaten at 'low speed' - no hard and fast rules here;
  3. And I opened the oven door to many times to check on the doneness of the cake as it actually passed the suggested time, and therefore I started to worry that the cake will be too dry, thus resulting the top of the cake to sink a bit when it's finally done L
  4. And I wrapped the cake too early when it's still hot, konon too scared that the moisture will disappear if I waited to long for the cake to cool down (haiyo, silly me) into a plastic bag to lock in the moisture, ended up the steam in the plastic bag actually soaked the cake a bit on the top.
It was said that a good and successful Kasutera Cake should be moist, with a very fine texture, and is very light. It should have dark brown and sugary top and bottom. It is sweet but not those really sweet to the tooth kind of cake and it is rich, with a taste owing it to the honey used. My Kasutera is moist, but not fine in texture , it has large airholes and are so not refine and the crumbs are coarse. My brown top was pretty, but the bottom brown was scarred by me when I try to remove it from the parchment paper, aiyo, :(

I am definitely going to bake it again and I am going to achieve a Kasutera Japanese Sponge Cake like this one as shown in the pic……….so perfect and velvety and so refine ^_^ Tempted to bake one after looking at this picture? This is the picture that got me mesmerized and eager to try baking my Kasutera ……Tell me what do you think?


Anonymous said...

i've tried & failed miserably too....

Mumto4Angels said...

Hi, thanks for dropping by a comment. Yeap, this cake is really not a normal cake that can be achieve that easily.......hehe

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

This is not an easy cake to bake. Do not give up... keep trying!

Mumto4Angels said...

Thanks Shirley, I will.....btw, I love your blogs and recipes......will definitely try them one by one :)

Meg Elisabeth said...

This is my favourite dessert—to bake, and to eat!

The recipe for the Kasutera in the above link is the one I have continually used (after having tested quite a few), and each time it has yielded beautiful and delicious results which are always devoured by company within the first hour after having set it down.

In my personal trials with this cake, I’ve noticed that there are several tricks which might be dismissed through haste or inexperience with the procedure. These include:

I. Beating the egg whites and yolks separately (whites are best beaten when they are room temperature; after separating the eggs, let them sit for about 30 minutes to 1 hour before beginning).

II. Not over-beating the egg whites. If you mix them for too long, they become dry, then will not provide so much ‘fluff’ to the cake as they are meant to.

III. Using true ‘cake flour’, and actually sifting the flour—whether it be with a sifter or with a mesh colander.

IV. Using a high-quality honey, given that this ingredient acts as the entire base for flavour in this dessert. (I tend to use a particular orange blossom variety which I purchase at the Fresh Market. I recommend browsing your local farmer’s markets or organic grocery stores/aisles for a jar.)

V. Ensuring that the temperature, times, and tips are utilized and implemented correctly.

Be patient with it, and you’ll definitely enjoy the product.

If you’ve yet to find a suitable recipe for a Kasutera, I suggest trying mine. Let me know if it works out for you!


Mumto4Angels said...

Hi Meg,
Thank you so much for dropping in to my blog :) I must say I'm so gald that you take the time to explain to me the details of making this cake. I promised that I'll definitely check out your recipe for this cake and give it a try. I really appreciate your help and tips , Meg! Keep in touch :)

Coco said...

Thanks for all the good advice! It's an intimidating cake. I baked a sponge cake last night for my husband's bday and it was a success-I'll post that recipe soon. But I've got to try yours.