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Monday, March 5, 2012

Kasutera: Traditional Japanese Honey Cake from SCRATCH!

Warning: This is one of those very weird cake baking experience. The measurements in the recipes are a little bit more complicated than regular recipes. If you’re looking for a project to take away some time during a boring weekend, this is JUST RIGHT for you!

Kasutera with Bread Flour
Just when I think I can't make the phrase “from scratch” more literal, I DID! I found an awesome website with great recipes from a Japanese chef living in Taiwan while I was doing a search for Traditional Japanese honey cake recipe. Of course I got distracted by the numerous other recipes on the website and made a couple for dinner, but I still got around and made what I had in mind. I also did a little experiment on the different flours to see how it would make a difference on the texture! It was fun, and the result is GREAT! And you may ask what I meant by making “from scratch” more literal, well it’s because……I made the honey cake by starting with making the CAKE PAN! Now isn’t that fun:)
Kasutera with Cake Flour

Ps. When I used the word “traditional”, I meant that there is no additional emulsifier involved in this recipe, because many of the Kasutera sold by boxes I’ve seen at markets have it. The emulsifier helps oil dissolve in the cake batter and results in a more moist texture.

http://www.masa.tw/  if you can read Mandarin, you’ve got to check out this website. If you don’t…well that’s too bad. Haha jk. I might try out more recipes from him and post it up!

How to Make a Cake Pan
1.   Buy some newspaper. Preferably the cheapest one just because you’re not gonna be reading it. I grabbed The Wall Street Journal for no reason ($2 at starbucks, the most expensive kind—WHY), well I guess if you really want to know what’s going on in Wall Street.

     2. Cut 4-5 pages of the newspaper into the largest square you can get, by doing (1)
         The square should be about 57-58cm on each side (2).


3.  Then draw out measurements as such (3), and cut the red lines.

4.   Fold (all 4-5 pages together) all sides in to create the sides of the cake pan and make sure all sides are about 8.5cm as demonstrated. Fold each side to the adjacent side.

5.   Pop out your heavy duty 18inch foil and line this paper pan inside and out very well.

Home made cake pan!!

Kasutera (Traditional Japanese Honey Cake) Recipe
·      4 eggs, room temperature
·      ½ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
·      25 ml milk (2 tablespoon, minus 2 teaspoon), slightly warmed
·      2 tablespoon honey
·      200g bread flour (½ cup + 2 tablespoon) OR 200g cake flour (½ cup + ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon)
1.   Preheat oven to 350°F.
2.   Mix eggs and sugar well in a glass mixing bowl.
3.   Dissolve the honey in warm milk completely.
4.   Put the mixing bowl in hot water, keep mixing the eggs and sugar on low till the mixture is warm.
5.   Take the bowl out of the warm water and turn the speed up to high, beat till the mixture is white and fluffy and that the mixture is about tripled in volume.
6.   Add the honey milk mixture to the egg mixture and mix well
7.   Mix in flour (bread OR cake, just one kind in one batch) in three small portions.
8.   Beat the batter on medium speed for 30-45 seconds till the batter is foamy and well mixed.
9.   Line the cake pan with parchment paper. Pour batter into the home made can pan. Scrap the cake batter to ensure there are no big air bubbles. Take the cake out after the first minute and scrap off any air bubble formed on the surface of the cake. Put the cake back into the oven and continue to bake for 30 minutes.
10.Check the cake at 30 minutes and see if the top is already very browned, cover the top of the cake pan with foil, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, till a toothpick comes out clean.
11.Let the cake cooled down to almost room temperature (still warm to touch) then wrap it air tight with plastic wraps and chill in the fridge overnight before eating. This will make the cake more moist--don't skip!

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