Quick Rice Cooker Castella

1230161527a-1pm

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!  This is going to be a quick post on an easy and quick recipe that I saw today and just HAD to try right away.  I was browsing FB and saw this video:  https://www.facebook.com/dingo.food/videos/854615187974792/

Bake a cake in a rice cooker????  say what???1230161535-1pm

I always wondered why my Zojirushi Rice Cooker had a “cake” button and who would be crazy enough to bake a cake in their rice cooker… I guess I was crazy not to try it sooner!  At least with this Castella recipe, the rice cooker was just the right amount of heat and steam to make a fluffy, light, and airy Castella cake, which is basically a type of sponge cake, but a far cry from those dry sponge cakes that need to be soaked with syrup.  It’s a childhood favorite growing up and now my own children have adopted a love for them as well. Try it with a tall glass of milk!  You’re welcome.

And without further adieu, here are my converted measurements for the ingredients which were all in grams.  (If you know Korean and you watched the video, you may have noticed I substituted Mirin for Soju, since that’s what I have in my pantry and we don’t have soju in our home.)

1230161529a-1pm

Quick Rice Cooker Castella

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided into 1/2 cups
  • 1 TB Mirin
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 2  1/2 TB honey
  • 1  1/2 cups cake flour
  • 4 TB oil (canola, vegetable)
  • scant 1/4 cup milk

Directions

  1. Grease your rice cooker with Canola oil spray.
  2. Whip 6 egg whites in a clean stand mixer with whip attachment and add 1/2 cup sugar in 3 increments until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.
  3.  Whip 6 egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar.  Add the Mirin, salt, and honey and whip.  Add the cake flour and mix.
  4. Fold in a third of the meringue (egg whites) into the yolk batter and carefully fold in.  Add another third and fold.  Finally, add the remaining meringue and fold.
  5. Mix the oil and milk together then fold into the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into greased rice cooker pot and push your “cake” button or the video says “steam” setting for 60 minutes.
  7. carefully invert the cake out of the pot onto a plate, cool, and eat!

*Note: the top of the cake will look pale when you open the rice cooker and you may wonder if the cake is “cooked” through.  You’re welcome to try the toothpick test,  but it was nicely browned on the bottom of the cake (which becomes the top when you invert it).

1230161543-1pm

Now go and try it yourself!!!  I’m  never baking my Castella in the oven again!!!

Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!!!

-Flora

Advertisements

Castella Cake + Whipped Cream = Korean Bakery Cake

IMG_0623

My youngest just had a birthday and the baby in our family has turned a whopping 3 years old!  It’s hard to believe that this spunky little “baby” is already a little human-in-training: walking, running, eating like there’s no tomorrow, talking, and asking the most annoying question in the cutest little voice, “why?” on repeat, constantly, like a broken record. I love this little person so much and enjoyed a little moment of nostalgia this morning as I held her asleep in my arms; her warm, snuggle-y little body resting against my chest in a deep, sweet slumber.  I didn’t want to move until I finally accepted the reality that it was time to pick up my #2 from preschool and hoped that I might be successful in transferring my sleeping “baby” to her carseat without waking her so it could count for her nap for the day.  She has always been pretty good at transferring and continued to sleep until we got to big sis’s school, so thankfully, we didn’t have a cranky 3 yr old throwing tantrums left and right due to an inadequate nap tonight.

Months before my little C’s birthday, her two older siblings had already started planning her birthday party, including the theme, colors, cake, and friends to invite, when I hadn’t the tiniest inkling of throwing a big party for my 3 year old.  Perhaps it’s her fateful lineup as the youngest of the three children in the family, because I do recall throwing a big party for my first on his 3rd birthday, and a smaller party for my second on her 3rd as well… This time with my third child, I thought, I’ll invite a few of her friends over for a little playdate and make a special day for her, which I hope to accomplish this week…I hope. But rest assured, we did have a family birthday party for my little pup with a special dinner, cake, presents, and even invited grandma, her favorite person!

Now on to the cake!  Korean bakery cakes with their light, sponge cake layers frosted with fresh whipped cream and decorated with a variety of colorful fruit nestled into more mounds of cream all covered with a little shaving of chocolate, are one of my favorite cakes.  It might top a deep dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting on certain days.  When I got into baking, one of my first recipe quests was to find that right sponge cake to make one of those Asian bakery copycat cakes.  I’ve tried a variety of sponge cakes, with and without soaking cake layers in sugar syrup, and none of them made the cut… until I figured out I could use this Castella recipe to make my fresh cream cake.  And it is perfect!  You don’t need any sugar syrup to soak the cake layers and you don’t get dry cake when you don’t use the sugar syrup.  What you do get is a beautiful, soft, moist, yet well structured sponge cake that tastes just right with the fresh whipped cream I like to slather on to turn it into a cake.  Castella is normally a popular Japanese cake (with Portuguese roots); it’s not frosted but is baked in a square or rectangle, chilled, sliced, and eaten with a cup of tea or milk.  You can use this recipe to do just that by baking it in a square pan OR you can bake it in two 8″ round cake pans to make a layered cake even better than the ones at the Korean bakeries!

Recently Updated3

Prep: Grease and line your cake pans, sift your cake flour, microwave the milk, mirin, and butter.

IMG_20150509_074916

Separate your eggs, place 8 yolks in mixer bowl and set the whites aside.

IMG_20150509_075744

Whisk the yolks with sugar, honey, and salt until pale yellow and ribbons fall when you lift the whisk. Set aside.

IMG_20150509_080405

Whisk the only 1/2 cup of the egg whites in a clean and dry mixer bowl with clean and dry whisk attachment

IMG_20150509_080445

Add sugar when it starts to foam.

IMG_20150509_080727

Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Lift your whisk and the peak should gently fall over.

IMG_20150509_080842

Add a third of the whites into the yolk mixture, gently fold in, fold in half of the cake flour, gently fold in, then repeat ending with the remaining egg whites.

IMG_20150509_081222

Add a big dollop of the cake batter into the melted milk, mirin, and butter mixture and mix. Pour it into the cake batter and gently fold in.

IMG_20150509_081357

Pour batter into prepared cake pans and drop onto the counter several times.

IMG_20150509_083853

Bake 350°F for 10 mins then lower heat to 335°F and bake for another 15 mins

IMG_20150509_134704

Whip your cream and add sugar and vanilla. Whip until soft peaks form

IMG_20150509_135451

To make lemon whipped cream filling, fold 1/2 cup of lemon curd to 1½ cups of the whipped cream in a separate bowl

IMG_20150509_135636

I got that glass round from the dollar store and it’s a perfect 8″! I think it’s actually a cutting board. And using a nonskid mat works wonders when decorating a cake.

IMG_20150509_135821

Once you cake is completely cool, slice each cake in half to make a 4 layered cake.

IMG_20150509_140000

Smear a dollop of cream to the cake round so the cake will stick

IMG_20150509_140056

Add a layer of cake. I should have had the cut side facing up…

IMG_20150509_140223

Make a little dam by piping an edge around the perimeter of the cake then spread the lemon filling into the middle. You can use just regular whipped cream for the filling as well.

IMG_20150509_140540

I added raspberries that I split in half.

IMG_20150509_141044

Repeat the process for two more layers

IMG_20150509_141446

Add the last layer then you will frost the entire cake.

IMG_20150509_141926

Place a generous scoop of whipped cream to the top and let it fall over the edge

IMG_20150509_142308

carefully cover the sides of the cake. Use lots of frosting and don’t let the spatula touch the cake or you will introduce cake crumbs into the pretty frosting.

IMG_20150509_143002

Use a spatula to smooth out the top and the sides. I like to use a handheld pastry scraper to hold it along the side of the cake while I turn the cake turntable. Using a hot spatula also creates a smooth finish.

IMG_0585

Decorate it any way you want!

Castella Cake
  • 2½ TB milk
  • 2 TB mirin
  • 1½ TB unsalted butter
  • 1 cup + 1 TB cake flour, sifted 2-3 times
  • 8 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar, separated (see directions)
  • 2 TB honey
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cake pans by greasing and lining all sides with parchment paper. (I just line the bottom and use a sharp knife to run around the sides for the cake since I’ll be covering it with frosting)
  2. Combine milk, mirin, and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in microwave for 40 secs (until melted) then set aside to cool.  Sift the cake flour 2-3 times onto a piece of wax paper and set aside.
  3. In a clean mixing bowl, place all 8 egg yolks, 1/3-1/2 cup sugar (more or less depending on your sweetness preference), honey, and a pinch of salt and mix on medium to high speed until it turns a very pale yellow and starts to show peaks. If you don’t have another mixing bowl, then transfer the yolk mixture to a large bowl and wash this mixing bowl and dry it very well (also the whisk attachment).
  4. Place only 1/2 cup of egg whites into clean and dry mixer bowl (save the rest of the whites for another use), and beat with whisk attachment until it starts to foam.  Then slowly add 1/3 cup of sugar and beat only until SOFT peaks form.  The peak should fall over when you lift the whisk upright and not stand stiff and straight, so watch your whites carefully.
  5. Add a third of the egg whites meringue to the yolk mixture and quickly but gently, fold it in.  Then add half of the sifted cake flour and also quickly but gently fold in.  Repeat with another third of the meringue and the rest of the cake flour then end with the remaining meringue.
  6. Add a large dollop of the cake batter to the melted milk, mirin, butter mixture and mix it together.  Then add the milk mixture back to the cake batter and gently fold it in.
  7. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pans then drop the pans down onto the counter a few times.
  8. Bake the cake at 350°F for 10 mins then lower the heat to 335°F and bake for another 15 mins.  The cake should be done when it’s golden brown and springs back up when gently pressed.
  9. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 mins then gently remove from pan to finish cooling on a cooling rack.
Whipped Cream
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup lemon curd (optional for filling)
  1. Whip the cream until it foams then add the powdered sugar and vanilla and whip until soft peaks form.  Don’t overwhip or it’ll curdle.
  2. To make the Lemon curd cream, add 1½ cups of the above whipped cream to a bowl and fold in ½ cup lemon curd. Use this cream to fill your layered cake.
  3. Use the rest of the whipped cream to frost the outside of your cake.
  4. Decorate ! Conjure up your creative side~

IMG_0678

Oh, and did I mention that refrigeration does wonders for this cake?  No more hard cake straight out of the fridge!  I used to have a strawberry flavor oil? and when I added it to the whipped cream after whipping it, it tasted SO good when I made this cake with strawberries instead of raspberries and no lemon curd, just whipped cream filling.

14314071255891

We are a bookworm family so please excuse all the books scattered on the table. They were some of the gifts little C received for her bday. 🙂

Tonkatsu 돈까스: Japanese Breaded Pork Cutlets

IMG_0392

Another weekend gone!  We packed in our Saturday with dental appointments, T-ball game, ballet class, friend’s birthday party, and cleared out our little patio to make some extra room for the kiddos to hang out in.  We are planning to be adventurous and TRY to make our own DIY teepees in the near future so the kids don’t burn outside since we don’t have any good trees for shade.  But in the meantime, I made A and B’s favorite dish: Tonkatsu!  We like to serve it up with cabbage slaw, white rice, and the special tonkatsu dipping sauce.

Back in March, I asked A what dish she wanted for her birthday dinner and she asked for Tonkatsu! She loves the crunchy breaded pork dipped in the sauce with the slightly sweet and tangy cabbage slaw on the side.  I think it’s safe to say it’s a family favorite.  My kids have never been huge meat eaters but I can always count on them to clean their plate when I serve them Katsu.  C likes to lick her dipping sauce bowl clean… … …

CYMERA_20150419_184004

Before you start on anything, you want to make your rice since it takes a good 40 mins in my rice cooker.  I used my handy dandy electric rice cooker and made 3 cups of white rice (we like to have rice leftover for making rice balls or fried rice for lunch the following day).  After you cook your rice, you want to make the cabbage slaw, the tonkatsu sauce, and the tonkatsu (pork) last.

Tonkatsu is a Japanese dish, but is quite popular with Koreans and was a favorite of mine growing up (now you know why my kids love it).  I like adding some garlic into my egg to help offset any “pork smell” and I think it makes it taste better.   You could “hammer” down the pork to make it more tender, but I don’t find it necessary.  Feel free to substitute pork with chicken or beef, too. And you can add tonkatsu to curry, ramen, and other dishes. How can you go wrong with crunchy, fried pork?

IMG_0355

Look how pretty and green the cabbage is!

IMG_0356

I used half a head of cabbage and sliced it nice and thin.

IMG_0358

Make your cabbage slaw sauce by mixing the mayo, vinegar, and sugar.

IMG_0359

Then mix the sauce with your sliced cabbage and add some shredded carrots. I usually have a bag of shredded carrots on hand from Trader Joe’s.

IMG_0360

Make the Tonkatsu sauce by mixing all the ingredients together.

Before you touch the pork, you want to get all the prep ready.

IMG_0364

Heat the oil on medium heat in a pan deep enough and wide enough to fry about 4 cutlets at a time.

IMG_0363

Prepare the flour mixture by mixing in the salt and pepper.

IMG_0365

Start with 1 cup of panko bread crumbs in a wide dish. I ended up using 2 cups total.

IMG_0366

Lightly beat the egg (I used a fork) with 1 TB of milk and a cube of frozen crushed garlic (from Trader Joe’s)

IMG_0367

Get your assembly line ready! 1.Flour 2.Egg 3.Panko

IMG_0368

Now time to handle the meat!

IMG_0369

You can buy the thin cut pork, or if it’s thicker, just slice it in half, horizontally.

IMG_0370

All sliced and ready to “bread”

IMG_0371

Coat in flour mixture

IMG_0377

Dunk it in the egg mixture

IMG_0379

Press it into the Panko bread crumbs until coated

IMG_0382

Bread half (4) of the cutlets then carefully place into hot oil to fry before breading the rest

IMG_0383

Gently and carefully place the pork into the hot oil and fry

IMG_0384

It should be hot enough that it bubbles. I had my heat on Med high heat. Raise or lower the temperature as needed.

IMG_0385

Flip it and fry until nice and golden.

IMG_0388

You can cut one in half to see if it’s ready.

Now for the recipes.  The ingredients are all easy to find.  Mirin is a sweet rice wine and can be replaced with these and they can be found in the Asian aisle at most grocery stores.  And I can’t imagine any grocery store that doesn’t stock Panko Bread crumbs in this day and age.  🙂  And you know where to find all the other ingredients.

IMG_0391

Cabbage Slaw Recipe
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 TB vinegar
  • 1 TB granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Mix mayo, vinegar, sugar, and salt together in a small bowl then add it to the cabbage and carrots and mix.  You can add more or less vinegar and sugar to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

IMG_0393

Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2-3 TB worchestershire sauce
  • 1 TB light soy sauce
  • 1-2 tsp Mirin
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.  Adjust worchestershire, mirin, and sugar to taste.  (If you like a stronger kick, then add 3 TB worchester, otherwise, just 2 TB) You can also omit the Mirin and add another 1/2 tsp of sugar, if desired.

IMG_0389

Tonkatsu (Breaded Pork) Recipe
  • 1.5 lb bonless pork loin chop (thin cut preferred)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 TB salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 TB milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 cube frozen crushed garlic from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • Canola or Vegetable Oil (approximately 4 cups, enough to fry the pork)
  1. Heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat in a saucepan or pot that is wide and deep enough to fry the pork (4 at a time).
  2. Prepare the flour mixture by placing 1/3 cup of flour into a wide plate and mixing in the 1 TB salt and 2 tsp ground pepper
  3. Lightly beat 2 eggs and add in 1 TB milk and garlic and mix.  Place in a wide plate deep enough to hold the egg mixture.
  4. Place 1 cup of bread crumbs into a wide plate and add more as needed.
  5. Prepare the pork by coating it in the flour mixture, dipping it completely in the egg mixture, then coating it with the panko bread crumbs.  Lightly press the pork into the bread crumbs to ensure a full and even coating.  Set aside and repeat for half of the pork.
  6. Check that the oil is hot, then carefully slide the breaded pork into the oil.  Fry about 2 mins on each side.
  7. Meanwhile, bread the remaining pork following the same order: flour, egg, panko.
  8. Fry the remaining pork cutlets in the hot oil and place the fried cutlets on a plate lined with paper towels.
  9. Cut and serve immediately with the dipping sauce, the rice, and cabbage slaw.

IMG_0390

If you’ve never tried Tonkatsu, then TRY IT!  L&L Hawaiian BBQ’s Chicken Katsu is sort of a spin-off of the Japanese Tonkatsu if you’ve tried that before.  I used to frequent L&L for their chicken katsu many times during my college years (I lived right behind it). Now I just make my own.  🙂

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week!

-Flora