I always have sudden thoughts to bake in the middle of the day, so I am interested in simple recipes with basic ingredients that I can find at home. I previously made a Black Sesame Japanese Cotton Cake few years ago, but this time I want to challenge an authentic treat in Taiwan, Old Street Castella Cake (古早味蛋糕). The recipe uses the same ingredients, slightly different method, and with a different texture.
Similar to the Japanese Cotton Cake, I use the scalded flour method, which is a common technique in baking pillowy soft cakes. But what is Old Street Castella Cake?
Unlike the Japanese cotton cake which is better to eat cold, the Taiwanese Old Street Castella Cake tastes better when fresh from the oven. It has a strong egg flavor, with a fluffy texture. Baking this cake requires much patience to achieve a smooth surface. It is baked in a low temperature for 1 hour with a hot water bath.
This time, I decided to infuse Hojicha Powder that I got from Hojicha Co. in my cake. I prefer using powder than loose tea leaves in desserts because I don’t have a grinder to grind the tea leaves into powder form. And the powder tends to have a stronger flavor. It is difficult to find them in Vancouver, so I am glad that Hojicha Co. carries them. This Hojicha Powder is originated from Kyoto, Japan, and I also enjoy using it as a Hojicha Latte.
Houjicha Old Street Castella Cake
- 45g All Purpose Flour
- 38g Vegetable Oil
- 10g Hojicha Powder from Hojicha Co.
- 3 Egg White
- 35g Sugar
- 3 Egg Yolk
- 30g Milk/Soy Milk
- Mix the egg yolks and soy milk until combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the hojicha powder. Set aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil at a low temperature in a clean pot. Then pour the heated oil immediately to the flour mixture and quickly stirred until everything is combined and lump-free.
- Wait until the scalded flour mixture is partly cooled, then mix in the yolk mixture until combined. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add in the sugar gradually and whisk until soft peak forms.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) for 10 minutes.
- Fold one-third meringue into the yolk mixture gently until combined.
- Pour the mixture into the meringue. Gently fold/mix until no streaks remain.
- Cover the cake pan with parchment paper. Wrap the cake pan with an aluminum foil. Make sure that the cake pan is fully covered to prevent water going into the pan.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Tap the pan lightly on a table top to get rid of any trapped air bubbles in the batter.
- Place the cake pan onto a baking pan. Add about an inch of hot water to the baking pan, so it surrounds the pan. Make sure you add enough water, so it does not fully evaporate during the baking process.
- Bake the cake for 10 minutes at 170°C (325°F) for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 150°C (300°F) for another 45 minutes.
- Once it is done, turn off the oven and let the cake be in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the pan. Serve immediately.