When I visited my parents over the holidays, my mom asked me to bake something for a potluck dinner. Seeing as how I usually don’t take my recipes with me on vacation, I really only had my online sources at hand. I eventually settled on making a castella cake, which is a Japanese honey sponge cake, recipe found here. It’s a very light and moist cake that has no butter or oil and does not get frosted, unlike most other cakes. The honey flavor is quite pronounced and it’s not overly sweet. I like to have mine with green tea as a snack (or for breakfast). Its origins are pretty interesting, I’d recommend reading up on it if that sort of thing interests you. Anyway, it was already on my mind, as there used to be a bakery that was famous for its castella cake which I was was wanting to visit again after many years, but sadly found that it was closed down for good.
I had made this castella cake recipe successfully twice before in my own kitchen, so I figured it’d be fine in my mom’s kitchen. Boy was I wrong. The flavor was fine, actually, it was the texture that was coarse, rough and unappealing. Not light, spongy, and slightly bouncy as expected. I attribute this failure to beating the eggs with a hand mixer with limited speed control, in addition to folding in the flour with my bare hand since a decent spatula was lacking. The result was giant air bubbles and small pockets of flour. Bleh.
Having been twice thwarted from dreams of a tasty castella cake, I gave it another try today in the comfort of my own kitchen. Luckily I did, and can now reap the rewards.