Written by Rae
I finally got a chance to try my new castella pan this weekend! It was so fun to use a wooden mold. The really cool thing about it is that the sides did not brown at all, unlike when I made the castella in the loaf pan. Only the top and the bottom browned. It doesn’t actually matter if the sides of the castella brown or not, because you cut them off when finishing the cake. But, I just thought it was interesting to see how it conducted heat differently. The only problem I had was that the bottom got too brown. This is probably due to the type of pan I used to put the wooden mold on, which was an aluminum pan with holes in it. Too much heat got through. Next time I will just put it on a regular baking sheet. I also sprinkled can sugar at the bottom of the mold, because it was suggested by the recipe to give the castella some texture, but it wasn’t a good idea because it burned.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with this cake. It was so beautiful, especially coming out of the mold. It was like opening up a special present. It was light and fluffier than the matcha one I made. The recipe I used was different than the matcha castella. Instead of making a meringue first, I just put the eggs (with the yolks), sugar, honey, and water in one bowl and whipped it for about 8 or 9 minutes until nice, pale and fluffy. After, I added the flour. This is actually simpler and less messy than making the meringue, so I was pretty satisfied with the method. It also yieled a fluffier cake, which I wasn’t suspecting. I actually wasn’t sure just by whipping everything in one bowl if it would be sturdy enough, but I didn’t have any problems.
The only thing I changed with this recipe was that I substituted 2 T of maple syrup for 2 T of honey. I also used light brown sugar instead of dark brown sugar, because our dark brown sugar was too hard, and I cooked the cake at 160 C for 50 minutes rather than the recommended temperature of 176 C. I made sure to drop the shit out of the cake on the counter to kill all the air bubbles, and a few more times after the cake was done cooking, so it wouldn’t deflate. I also swirled a chopstick around in the batter, after I put it in the pan, to pop and air bubbles. It worked like a charm, and turned out beautifully. The only thing I wouldn’t recommend is sprinkling cane sugar on the bottom of the pan, as the recipe calls for. Although, I might try it again when I place the castella mold on a different pan.
The maple flavor is a bit subtle, and I would like it if it were stronger. I think next time I could brush some maple syrup and water on the top, after it comes out of the oven, like I see others doing with their honey mixture. This might make it a little more maple-y. I’m sure rum would also taste good. Also, the thing about castella is that it needs to be wrapped in saran wrap immediately after it is cool enough to handle, and then let sit in the fridge over night or for a few days for the cake to develop its flavors and also stay moist since it contains no fats or oils.
Here is the recipe I used, which I found on this website:
Prepare mold by lining it with parchment paper. Place on baking tray.
Now in a bowl, put 120 grams of bread flour in your sifter and sifted into the bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, add crack four eggs, 100 grams of brown sugar, two tbsp each of Mirin and honey (I used maple syrup). Place the mixing bowl in your stand mixer for about seven minutes until it becomes very fluffy and ribbony. After it’s been mixed, add your bowl of flour and mix it with the whisk. You want to make sure you add the flour little by little so it will not clump up in the mixture. If it’s not completely mixed in, put it back in the stand mixer and mix it for about 30 seconds until everything is incorporated.
When the batter is done mixing, pour it into the pan.
Swirl a chopstick in it to rid the air bubbles, and bang it hard on the surface of a counter to kill any air bubbles. It’s okay to drop it from a foot high or so.
After the batter is poured into the pan. Place it into the oven set to 350 F and bake it for 45 minutes. (I baked it at 320 f/160 c for 50 min)
Letting it cool:
After it is done, you want to wrap the cake with a saran wrap while it is still hot. Leave it alone for a day so it will reconstitute the moisture inside of the cake.
After its been cooled for a day in room temperature, you can cut all the sides of cake to show the brown inside. Peel the piece of parchment paper on the bottom and it is ready to eat.
-Be sure to keep the cracked eggs at room temperature. Otherwise they won’t whip up properly.
-Whip the egg mixture for about seven minutes until it turns fluffy and ribbony. This is quite an important step because castella relies only on the fluffiness of the eggs to rise up.
-Try to keep the moisture in castella by wrapping it in a piece of saran wrap. The cake dries up rather easily because it contains no oil