So spring has finally here in the land of down under. It is still a bit cold in the morning and late at night, but warm sunshine is abundant during the day. I certainly enjoy these beautiful sights around me. My camera has been very busy. I spent the last weekend in Melbourne, shooting a beautiful and warm gathering. In the next few days, some other (work, food and/or photography related) projects will also flow on. So busy and exciting yet so little time.
You may notice I have been and will be quieter in the blog world for a while. Life inspirations and other duties mean less time for blogging. I will still be browsing my favourite blogs and discovering new ones. But catching up with comments might be a bit slower.
In my kitchen, I have some projects need to be accomplished. Today cream cheese castella is one of them. What is castella, some of you may ask? Essentially, it´s a popular sponge cake in Japan. The cake is a perfect example of how western cuisine has integrated into local food scene. Castella cake was brought to Japan all the way from Portugal but the Japanese have adapted the cake to their very own taste. I have made several versions of this cake in the past. Hopefully one day I can share it with you about the best version yet.
Today version of the cake is not so traditional. Learning from my friend, Sunny, I bake cream cheese castella. Because of the cream cheese, the cake is not as light and airy as the original castella. I am thinking to modify the recipe a bit more by including some corn flour to lighten the texture. Also, I may keep the cream cheese mixture warm so that it will not weight my batter down as much when folded. Any suggestions, my dear friend?
Flavour-wise, the cake is really beautiful though. It´s not overly sweet but rich enough. A fine balance between sweetness and richness, something I miss from Asian desserts. We finish the cake in just a day. A proof of quality I suppose?
So here´s my work-in-progress cream cheese castella. I have included some step-step photos for reference. Hope they are helpful for you.
Recipe adapted from different sources. The quantity here is good for the traditional wooden castella pan which I do not have. I use a 20x20cm square pan and it works fine although the cake is not as tall.
100g cream cheese
5 egg whites
½ tsp salt
8 egg yolk
1 tbp maple syrup (or honey)
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
Preparation: Sift flour 2-3 times. Butter your baking pan and line it with baking paper. Preheat oven to 170C.
Using a double boiler, put milk, butter, cream cheese in a bowl over simmering water. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Put egg yolk, sugar, vanilla and maple syrup in a separate mixing bowl over simmering water. Warm the yolk just until lukewarm. Take out and beat until thick and pale.
Whisk egg whites until soft peak forms.
Gently fold cream cheese into the yolk mixture. Sift flour over the yolk, fold gently to combine.
Gently fold the egg whites into the cream cheese and egg yolk mixture. Pour into the prepared pan. Hit the side of the pan to release some air bubbles.
Bake in the oven at 170C for 10 minutes, then lower the oven to 150C and bake for 30-25 mins.
If desired, when the cake is hot, brush some sugar syrup onto the cake. Invert the cake pan up-side-down to release the cake. Cool and serve.