Saturday, September 5, 2009

Green Tea Kasutera/Castella Cake

This was a gift and what a welcome one as i have yearned to taste one since it has so many good reviews of how good it is. I was inspired to try to bake one.

This is my green tea kasutera wannabe, at least this time it did not go to the Culinary God and in fact, tasted better than the gift. I don't know if i had used the wrong type of Green Tea Powder, which is slightly brownest than green and the Honey was brown too, thus making my cake more like a caramel cake. The most important thing that i managed to bake this sponge without it sinking and creating a huge crater and i was glad that i borrowed BakeWise by Shirley O. Corriher from the Library. The first chapter - Priceless Knowledge is all what home bakers need to know before we start baking.
For this cake, i went through Genoise in this book and applied what she has to suggest with her technical knowledge - the recipe has to balance - the weight of flour and sugar are close to equal and the amount of sugar should not exceed the ratio of 1 - 1.25 to the weight of eggs.
Adding more egg yolks to the whole eggs improves their aerating ability and the stability of the foam.
Temperature of the eggs and sugar is important and the desirable temp. of 86 - 90F and to achieve a thick egg foam with very fine bubbles, patience is required. Beat on medium and since beating time on medium speed is extended, the stability of the foam increases.
Adding 1 tablespoon of sugar to the flour aids in blending the flour into the batter and prevents white clumps of flour in the baked cake.
Add the flour before you add the fat. The fat must be added at the final mixing stage to minimize the loss in volume.
Folding anything into the foam can be tricky, so i love the technique of blending a cup of the batter with the melted butter/oil, and then folding this mixture into the rest of the batter.
A good kasutera is moist, with a very fine texture, and is very light. It should have a dark brown and sugary top and bottom. It is sweet yet not cloyingly sweet. It should not have any oil but i added in 2 tablespoons besides adding in 2 yolks cos according to E,J. Pyler in Baking Science and Technology, modern eggs may be deficient in yolk solids. The next time around, i would use 2 tablespoon of whipped cream instead of oil and milk.
Although most sponge is baked with cake flour, bread flour is used in this recipe to give more structure to the mixture.
A long long time ago when i came here to visit and i wanted to bake the Kuih Lapis Batavia but there was no square cake pan available in the house. So, i covered a square cardboard box with heavy duty aluminium and voila the cake baked in it was so moist and wonderful. i used the same approach and it did not failed me this time too. The cardboard is thick and not as hot so it allowed the cake to finish baking and remained moist. My dear friend, Nellie, gave me a very good answer to my question of why the green tea turned brown - it is HEAT which caused oxidation.


4 large eggs
2 yolks
4 1/2 tbsp fine granulated sugar
3/4 cup bread flour,
1 tbsp fine granulated sugar,
1 tbsp green tea powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp oil
Sugar for sprinkling
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp hot water

Line a cardboard box with heavy duty aluminium foil and grease the inside, then line with grease proof/parchment paper, bottom and sides - make the sides 1 1/2 inches higher than the sides. Sprinkle sugar on to the base of box.
Arrange oven rack to the middle of oven and preheat oven @ 350f.
Sieve flour, green tea powder, salt and sugar together.
In a saucepan, one which your mixer bowl will sit and the bottom does not touch the water, heat about 1 inch of water to 110f.
Rince mixer howl with tap water as hot as possible to warm, then dry well.
Whisk eggs, egg yolks and sugar in the warm bowl sitting over the simmering water.
Check the temperature of the mixture, you want to get the mixture between 86 - 90f. Keep whisking and checking the temperature.
Put honey and milk in a bowl and place it over the warm water, stir to melt the honey. Remove and leave aside.
Place the bowl of warm egg mixture on the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes only. Turn the speed down to medium(4 in kitchenaid) or just below medium and beat for 10 minutes until the foam is completely cool, thick and shiny.
Sift part of the flour mixture on top, avoiding the edges of the bowl and 1 tbsp of honey and milk mixture. Very carefully fold once only by dipping a large spatula into the foam at the 12 o'clock position, dragging it across the bottom. At the 6 o'clock position, lift up some foam and spread it across the top. Sift more of the flour mixture and honey mixture, fold again. Try to incorporate all the flour and honey mixture in about three to five batches and fold carefully to blend.
Place oil in a medium mixing bowl and spoon in 1 cup of the batter and fold together. When this is well blended, fold this mixture into the main batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 300f and bake further for 40 minutes. Check for doneness.
As soon as the cake is out of the oven, brush the top with the honey-water mixture.
When it's cool enough to handle but still warm, lift it out of the pan, paper and all, and put into a plastic bag. Seal the bag and put into the refrigerator, for several hours preferably overnight as this will ensure a moist texture.
To serve, use a very sharp serrated knife to make clean cuts. Cut off the sides and make small, neat slices.


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