Friday, May 27, 2011

Castella (Kasutera)

I fell in love with everything Japanese after a trip to Hokkaido. Everything there was made with perfection. From the food to the things that they use. Almost any food outlet that we stepped in was serving the best of everything I've ever tasted in my life. Even a simple tasting sponge cake.

The discovery of Castella was a pure accident to me. We were just killing time enjoying some milk ice cream from a farm in Niseko and we noticed a queue forming at the deli. It was a low tourist season and Japanese, unlike Singaporeans, do not usually queue up for something. The next moment, we smelt something wonderful. Just like a typical Singaporean, we joined in the queue! Sadly, the Castella was sold out before we could even see it. We went back to our resort but my greedy hubby just couldn't get the smell off his head... well, he drove back to the farm and got the next batch of Castella fresh from the oven.

Everything was history after we had that 1st Castella from Niseko. It was so good that we finished a 25cm x 25cm cake before we could take a good picture of it. Since we do not travel to Japan that often, I decided to try baking a Castella.

Before I started, I was studying the recipe from Just Hungry and looking at the notes from Little Teochew. It seems to me that this sponge cake is a lot like making a Genoise. As I am a lazy baker and depended largely on my stand mixer, I warmed up the eggs and sugar using a heat pack while running the whisk at speed 3-4. As the mixture gets colder, I will warm up the heat pack in the microwave and wrap it around the bowl. It took me a good 20mins to get a stable mixture.

I've never seen a sponge cake that can withstand that much beating! After observing this video, I used my whisk to fold in the flour, honey and milk. With much guts, I poured the batter into the tray from great heights and stirred the batter in the pan in a zig zag manner using a spatula.

I have to say that the final outcome tastes very close to the Japanese made Castella but even after following the instruction to store the cake in a sealed bag in the fridge while still hot, I still feel that it is a little dry. Moreover, the cakes in Japan was served fresh and were still good when left in the open for a few days despite the dry weather there. Perhaps I should adjust the baking time and milk volume the next time. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Messy Piggy Cupcakes!

During our parents meeting session with the teachers, my hubby revealed that I love to bake. With this friday's Fairytales party coming, Ms Biliian suggested that I bake some cupcakes for the kids...TADA!

I've been baking from this recipe book 'Heavenly Cakes' by Rose Levy Beranbaum, the author of 'The Cake Bible'. Her recipe are very detailed and so far they have not failed on me. If it does, it is usually my own fault for not following closely... Which nearly happened to my cupcakes.

Well, how many 3yrs old actually like to eat cakes? In order to make a plain buttercake more interesting, I swapped some of the ingredients in place of some butterscotch....mmmm.... After mixing, the batter turned out to be very sticky. Instead of filling up 16 cups as the recipe stated, it only filled 12 of my cups.... oops... (I've got 14 kids to feed). Luckily I was baking another cake at the same time and had some extra batter to fill up 2 cups (sorry teachers, no cupcakes for you). Looking at the batter, I was prepared for them to fail in the oven. But as the baking time comes to an end, the cupcakes looked quite decent though I think it will taste like scorns.

To make up for this awful mistake, I decided to cover it with some chocolate lacquer glaze. This prove to me that I am really seriously dyslexic or idiotic. Instead of using cocoa powder, I actually used dark chocolate bar. With all the water and cream in the chocolate, the mixture was too runny. Instinctively, I tried to correct the texture by adding cocoa powder and extra gelatine. All I wanted was mud, so I do not really care.

With the finishing touch of fondant piggy on the choco mud. It really does look messy doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


The durian season is here and I have been dreaming of everything that can be made of it. I've attempted to make a Duriamisu together with my sis-in-law who is also interested in baking. The final outcome was a little too sweet but it is still a nice treat for any durian lovers. :)

This is the last morsel of the Duriamisu taken with my iPhone...


  1. 300gm of fresh durian flesh

  2. 250ml of whipping cream

  3. 20gm of icing sugar

  4. 1 packet of sponge fingers

  5. 40gm of gula melaka

  6. 250ml of coconut milk


  1. Melt gula melaka, then add 200ml of coconut milk. Do not boil as coconut milk will precipitate and turn oily.

  2. Soak sponge fingers with the above mixture and place a layer of the fingers in a tray.

  3. Process the durian flesh in a food processor with the remaining coconut milk until smooth.

  4. Whip the whipping cream with the icing sugar until stiff.

  5. Fold the whipped cream into the durian mixure and pour a layer into the tray.

  6. Lay another later of soaked sponge fingers on the durian mousse and pour the rest of the mousse into the tray.

  7. Set in the fridge for 6hrs or freezer for 3hrs.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My 2nd Princess

I was at the market as usual when I felt strong contractions. I knew that I will be in labour pretty soon but was not too sure as the contractions did not increase in frequency and intensity. Nevertheless, I just warned my hubby about it and continued to do my usual chores. It was until I noticed blood back at home then was I sure that my 2nd Princess was coming!

Just like my previous labour, I showered and called my hubby to send us to the hospital. Upon arrival, the nurses treated me like it will take a long time for my baby to arrive, so they slowly prepared me and called my gynae. I was not dilated at all, so my gynae went on to do a C-section for his other patient before attending to me. By the time he came (1hr later), I was ready to deliver.

Thank God for epidural! I was able to laugh my baby out with 5 strong pushes...but somehow my Princess has not been laughing since.... Guess I still need time to understand her demands. :) My 1st Princess was also such a lovely gal and has been very protective over her little sis ever since. :)