Saturday, August 16, 2008

Home Cooking - Honey Castella

Good morning food blogosphere... the sun is shining brightly, kids are romping around playing tennis and soccer and the smell of a Honey Castella is in the air! Today I attempted a very popular and appetizing cake posted by Manggy at No Special Effects. I must thank him for the wonderful recipe he posted up and the beautiful photos which accompanied it. Too bad I cannot say that mine was as good in presentation...

I started today with high optimism with an early awakening of 9:30 ( which is very early for a Saturday morning to those people shaking their heads :P) but alas was meet with a bad omen. While getting the 4 eggs out of the fridge (2 in each hand), one of them began to slip and so trying to grab an egg with one already in the hand equaled chaos and egg oozing down from shelf to shelf.

I did not let this small incident deter me from my baking so I powered on. I had only bought a new non-stick 8" round pan so I was eager to test it out. Manggy had did some mathematical mumbo jumbo to convert the original recipe:

"However, I did make a major change in the size of the cake. Originally it's meant to be in a 9"x13" pan, but I don't have one. So to make it in an 8" round pan with the same height, all I have to do is divide the areas: (3.14)(4)(4)/(9)(13)=0.42. Here's where the magic of the metric system comes in: just multiply the quantities by the factor. What about the 7 eggs and 3 egg yolks? Since I don't really remember how much an egg yolk weighs, I just add all the whites together (7) and the yolks (10) and multiply each by 0.42, giving 2.8 whites and 4.2 yolks. Round them to the nearest one and you get 3 whites and 4 yolks, or 3 whole eggs and 1 additional egg yolk. Easy peasy. The baking time is the only step that'll be difficult, but not a problem for me! :)

I just smiled and nodded while I read this passage but what actually happened in my head was just "mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm cake". So, another big thanks to him for doing all the hard work haha.

1/2 cup + 2tbsp plain flour
3 large eggs + 1 more egg yolk, room temperature
pinch of salt
1/2 cup + 2tbsp granulated sugar
1tbsp + 2tsp honey
1 & 1/2 tbsp of melted butter (or 1tbsp + 2 tsp canola or other neutral oil)

Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees C. Add eggs, egg yolk, salt, sugar and honey into a mixing bowl. Place this on another pan of simmering water and whisk for 10 minutes.

The mixture should b about 40 degrees C and foaming nicely. Take off the heat and beat on high for a further 6 minutes with a hand mixer or 10 minutes with a stand mixer. The batter should have pale, thick ribbons and this is where I think my main problem was. I do not have either a hand mixer or a stand mixer so I whisked by hand but I think I didn't whisk enough.

Gently fold in the flour in 3 additions. Mix about 1/2 cup of the batter into the butter or oil ad stir until it is homogeneous. Then add it back into the rest of the batter, constantly folding to introduce as much air as possible. Pour the batter into a pan and bake for 20 minutes at 175 degrees C and then for a further 18-25 minutes at 150 degrees C. Cool the cake inverted on a non-sticky surface if desired.

For me the main problem was volume. When I was reading the ingredients I was very surprised at how little flour was used but shrugged it off. During the the baking of the cake I was very very worried when I poured the batter into the pan. The batter did not even reach the sides of the pan so it was mainly just a small lump in the middle. I think it was because I did not get enough air into the batter :(

After the baking my fear was confirmed... my so-called cake turned out to look like a giant cookie. I did not take any photos of it because it was too embarrassing haha. It was supposed to be some spectacular looking cake like Manggys' but ended up into a cookie.

The taste and aroma of this cake/cookie was spectacular though. The smell of honey wafted everywhere through my place from the time of whisking to the baking and serving. I totally agree that this cake can be served plain and tastes absolutely delicious with its' dense crumb and crunchy/sugary crust. The sugar and honey I added was again for aesthetics but I also liked it with the extra honey on top like a glaze.

As this is my first cake I am happy that it has not turned out into a total disaster :) I am quite proud of my Honey COOKIE-shaped Castella hee hee. From now on I shall venture further into the cake world more determined and aiming for a cake-shaped cake next time ^^!


1 comment:

Snooky doodle said...

This looks nice . I have to try it sometime :)