Ogura Cake

Thursday, 13 June 2013


相思蛋糕 is aka Ogura cake. The Japanese name belies its origin. Ogura cake hails from Batu Pahat, not Japan.

"Ogura" is a Japanese surname and "相思" means lovesick. One day, I'll tell you the story about Kak Faridah (who lived in Batu Pahat, of course) pining for her Japanese abang, Ogura-san (who died tragically but Kak Faridah didn't know that), and why she baked a "lovesick cake". For now, let's focus on how to bake kek batu pahat, shall we?

Ogura cake uses the same method as chiffon cake. You whisk egg yolks and oil, then fold in flour and a non-fat liquid, followed by whisked egg whites. Sounds simple enough but, for novice bakers, here are a few tips:

Measure all the ingredients needed and line the cake pan before you start whisking the yolks and whites. If you faff about after the yolks and whites are whisked, your cake won't rise properly.

The egg whites, along with cream of tartar and castor sugar, should be whisked till firm peak stage, i.e. between soft and stiff. The peak formed doesn't flop over but it's not ramrod straight either. The tip curls to form a hook.

The egg yolks and oil should be whisked till slightly thick, i.e. till just after the yolks turn pale, plus maybe another minute or so.

After the yolks are whisked, you add canned pineapple juice, flour and salt, and then the whisked egg whites. When everything is almost evenly mixed, you have to scrape down thoroughly. There may be some pineapple juice at the bottom of the bowl. If there's a lot, the batter is too thin. You've under-whisked either the yolks or whites, so your cake won't rise well. If the batter is too thick because of over-whisking, it forms distinct thin narrow ribbons when you lift your spatula.  It won't rise well, it'll brown and dry out quickly, and the crumb will be holey.

When you pour the batter into the cake pan, you should see lots of bubbles bursting as they flow out of the mixing bowl if the batter has the right consistency. If the batter is too thick (or if you pour too quickly), it traps the air bubbles and stops them from escaping, resulting in a holey cake. If the batter is too thin, it wouldn't have many big air bubbles.

You have to line the bottom of the cake pan. Should you line the sides as well? Not if you have a deep pan. Mine is 5 cm high, so I line the sides to extend the height by about 2 cm. If you're lining the sides, the parchment paper must be crease-free. The cake clings to the paper which, if crumpled, would make the sides of the cake crumpled too. Handy tip: smear the pan with a bit of whisked egg white, then smooth the parchment paper over it.

The batter should fill a 18 x 5 cm square cake pan to 1 cm from the edge. If you have more, you've over-whisked. If you have less, you've under-whisked. Or you've measured something wrongly.

If your batter has the right consistency but it doesn't rise well or rises too much in the oven, you're not baking it at the right temperature (or you've measured something wrongly). Just because you've set the oven at 170°C doesn't mean it is necessarily at 170°C. When the temperature is way too low, there might be a layer of starch at the bottom of the cake after it's baked. If the temperature is too high, the cake will rise too much and crack.

Most people let their Ogura cakes cool down upside down, and the cakes are inverted and unmoulded once they're removed from the oven. I prefer to let mine rest in the pan for 10 minutes. The support from the pan helps prevent the cake from shrinking too much. When the worst of the shrinkage is over, I unmould the cake and let it cool down right way up. Both methods work well but mine doesn't involve inverting a searingly hot pan.

If you've measured the ingredients correctly, whisked correctly, and baked at the correct temperature, your cake should shrink only slightly after it's removed from the oven. If the cake shrinks a lot, you could have done any of the steps wrongly, or it's overbaked. Don't underbake either or the cake will collapse.

Coconut oil gives great flavour but if that's not your cup of tea, any vegetable oil would do. Likewise, canned pineapple juice may be replaced with your juice of choice, such as orange or apple juice. Don't use fresh pineapple or kiwi juice which has enzymes that break down proteins. You can flavour the cake with anything you like, such as almond extract, coffee, vanilla, etc.

My recipe makes an Ogura cake that's as fluffy as Bengawan Solo's pandan chiffon cake. If you reduce the amount of castor sugar from 75 g to 60 g, it'd be even fluffier.  The batter is lighter with less sugar, so it rises better and makes a fluffier cake. For most people, 60 g sugar isn't sweet enough but you could always add a filling or icing to bump up the sweetness.

To make an orange cake, you could add some orange peel to the batter. What does the additional weight do to the cake? Yup, makes it less fluffy . . . unless you use my secret recipe. Which is? Heheheh . . . . That's another post for another day.

  

COCONUT PINEAPPLE OGURA CAKE (相思蛋糕)
Source: adapted from anncoojournal
(Recipe for one 18 cm cake)

150 g egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
75 g castor sugar

75 g egg yolks
45 g egg whites
40 g hot-pressed coconut oil
70 g canned/boxed pineapple juice
55 g cake flour
¼ tsp salt

Measure ingredients as detailed above. Preheat oven to 170°C. Cut parchment paper for lining 18 x 18 x 5 cm pan, leaving overhang of 2 cm. Put kettle on.

Whisk 150 g egg whites till frothy. Add cream of tartar. Whisk till thick. Gradually add 75 g castor sugar whilst continuing to whisk. Keep whisking till firm peak stage.

Separately whisk yolks, 45 g egg whites and coconut oil till frothy and slightly thick. Add pineapple juice. Whisk thoroughly. Sift cake flour into mixture. Add salt. Whisk till just evenly mixed.  Add whisked egg whites in 3 batches, setting aside 1 tbsp or so. Whisk till almost evenly mixed after each addition. Scrape down thoroughly. Fold till just evenly mixed.

Smear sides of cake pan with remaining whisked egg white. Place parchment paper in pan, making sure paper sticks to pan and is crease-free.  Pour batter into cake pan, slowly so that big air bubbles burst as they flow out of bowl. Tap pan against worktop 3-4 times to level batter.

Bring kettle to a boil again. Place baking tray in bottom of oven. Fill tray with freshly boiled water, to about 1 cm deep. Place cake in middle of oven. Bake till cake is risen and brown, about 40 minutes, rotating as necessary so that top browns evenly. Reduce temperature to 130°C. Bake till cake springs back slightly when pressed lightly, 15-20 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Wait 10 minutes. Unmould. Remove paper from sides of cake. Leave cake on wire rack till completely cool. Remove paper from bottom of cake. Cut and serve.

51 comments:

Sana said...

oh mai, that looks lush =w=. I'll be trying this as soon as I replace the whisk that blew up on me yesterday!

Would you mind telling me something about the difference between canned and fresh pineapple juice? Is there something I can do to the defrosted reconstituted (!) liquid we buy here to make it an acceptable alternative?

Veronica's Kitchen said...

Just discover your blog, there's so much to learn from your wonderful cooking! Always want to use coconut oil to bake cake, will try this one for sure! :)

Joanne said...

Hi KT,
I love your beautiful blog and have been following. I love the way you describe the process and comparison. Tried the baked tapioca cake. My family loves it. Will be doing the souffle cheesecake this weekend. I have been waiting patiently for your Ogura cake. May I know, what is hot pressed coconut oil and can I change from pineapple to orange? Any difference in amt? Thank you.
Btw, I love your video. Hope to see more desserts coming in. :) Have a good day!
Joanne

Jeannie Tay said...

Great video and your cake hardly shrank at all! Yummy flavor...I'll not to invert my cake next time I bake this and see if it will stand tall:D

Kimmy said...

Hi KT, thanks for sharing this helpful info/video about Ogura cakes. I called all the Ogura cakes that I baked as cottony cakes so as not to confused myself as there are various versions. This post is really helpful and please allow me to link you post to mine the next time I have another bake of the kind to share.

kt said...

If heat is used during the extraction process, the oil is hot pressed. If no heat is used, the oil is cold pressed and it's still raw.

Joanne said...

Got it, tks!

kt said...

Permission is granted. ; - )

kt said...

The cake shouldn't shrink very much because it's baked at a very low temperature, with the tray of water blocking most of the heat from the bottom of the oven.

Josie said...

Hello, just stumbled upon your wonderful blog. Thanks for sharing the recipes and showing how to make them properly. I've been looking for the Ogura recipe for quite some time now. This coming July, I am making a wedding cupcake tower for a friend. Have you tried this in cupcake form? Also, I have no weighing scale, if I google for conversions, can I use those or do I need a food weighing scale to get this result? I'd prefer converting if possible since I will be making lots of cupcakes and time is of an essence since I only have one oven. Would love to get your input. Thanks in advanced

kt said...

Sorry, I haven't tried baking cupcakes with the recipe. Good luck to your brave friend.

Merry said...

Thank you very much KT, now I know ��

Deb said...

woah

Addle said...

My cake turned out perfectly. Thank you kitchentigress!!!

Sam said...

Hi, KT. Can I use Hong Kong flour instead of cake flour?
Thanks

kt said...

Probably since both are low-protein.

sayf said...

Hi KT thanksss alooot for this great recipe, but i have a problem i cant find any coconut oil anywhere where i live, can i use just regular oil or melted butter? any advice?

KSY said...

Hi KT where can I find hot press coconut oil in Singapore or can I replace by cold press coconut oil ? Your early reply would be greatly appreciated,

kt said...

Heat the cold-pressed oil. If it's fragrant, it's good. If not, buy some that is from Mustafa or shops that sell Indian groceries. You could also make your own by heating fresh coconut milk.

Jennifer said...

You are a great cook! Enjoy watching ur videos. Thank you for your efforts...

Sammiiee said...

hi can you give me the recipe in a different measuring way instead of Grams? apparently i dont have any Grams measuring utensil at home. thank you i would really appreciate it!!

Wallis Morawska said...

I have been reading your blog, watching your great both educational and witty videos and of course reconstructing recipes at home for quite a long time. They were all fun to make and utterly delicious. It is partly due to your blog and videos that I have begun a love affair with Asian sweets and cakes, which is a great challenge in my country (Poland) where it is extremely difficult to find the ingredients. I have baked mooncakes several times as I have beautiful ancient wooden molds but only with red bean filling. Are there any other mooncake fillings or types of mooncakes that you could post the recipes of ? I would really love to make good and frequent use of my molds as their primary function now is kitchen decoration :) Hope you can help :)
Thank you in advance :)

Joanne Chua said...

Hi KT, I attempted this yesterday but the appearance seem quite different from yours. Mine was fluffier and the holes were really visible. Though soft and fluffy, it tasted dense too. Is this the right kind of texture for an ogura cake? Btw, you should be right about my oven's temperature.

Joanne Chua said...

Hi again, I read your ogura posting again and again. I think I might get a hint why the my cake was holey. I might have over beaten the yoiks or poured too fast into the pan?? Either way, I'm going for another try. Wish me luck tigress.

kt said...

Hello, sorry for the late response. Please refer to this post: http://kitchentigress.blogspot.sg/2013/03/ang-ku-kueh-kuih-angkoo.html


Mung bean paste makes a good filling for mooncakes if you can get hold of skinned mung beans. It's easier than red bean paste because the beans are peeled. You can add nuts or seeds (like pumpkin or sunflower seeds) to the paste if you like.

kt said...

To get Ogura cake spot-on is quite difficult. The egg yolks must have the right thickness but the visual cue that says when to stop whisking is subtle. You have to watch the yolks closely. It's after the colour turns pale, and a bit more, when the bubbles shrink from large to, um, kinda small but not too small.



At its worst, Ogura cake should be as good as a good chiffon cake. When you hit the bull's eye, it should be much better because it has a hell of a lot more eggs than chiffon cake. The crumb is finer, softer and moister.

Joanne Chua said...

Whoa!! This sure sounds tricky. Thanks and I will definitely put my hands on this cake again by this week.

clacla said...

Sorry I am french and I don't know what means tartar ?

kt said...

Cream of tartar is crème de tartre.



Here's some info: http://chocolateandzucchini.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3081

Chau said...

Hi KT, your cake looks fabulous and I'd love to try to bake this one for my daughter birthday. I have a couple of question hope you can help.
1) If use 23 x 33 cm cake pan for this recipe ( i assume the cake will be thinner), how should I change the temperature and baking time?
2) If use 23 x 33 cm cake pan for a thicker/higher cake, how should i change the recipe ( how many eggs, how much oil...etc)
Thanks a lot for your help
Chau

Joanne Chua said...

Hi again! I tried my 2nd attempt 2 days ago, guess this, I failed again. This was worse as it had such an eggy taste. Argh!!! Going for my 3rd try soon. Hey, wish me luck will you?!

kt said...

1) Sorry, don't know.

2) Change proportionately to the increase in the pan's volume.

Wallis Morawska said...

Thank you very much :)

kt said...

Wishing you lots of luck, Joanne. I'll see if I still have the videos for my less successful attempts. You can then compare and see how those are different from the best of the lot.

Joanne Chua said...

Appreciate so much KT!! *hugs*

Kai said...

Its chantifix

kt said...

Please watch this video: http://youtu.be/yUFScuE_RFs


1. 0:27 vs 2:40: The former shows the ideal state for the whisked egg yolks. The latter, which has smaller air bubbles, is overwhisked.


2. 0:29-0:53 vs 2:46-3:19: The former is thinner. The trails made by the whisk are broad and not so distinct. This is the right consistency. The latter is too thick. The trails made by the whisk are very distinct and very narrow.


3. 0:58-2.05: Note all the big air bubbles bursting. This is necessary if you want a tight, smooth crumb. If these air bubbles had remained in the batter, they would have grown even bigger in the oven, making the crumb holey and rough. If you had the video for the thicker batter to compare to (sorry, it's n.a. because I've deleted it), it would have shown the batter flowing more slowly, and far fewer air bubbles bursting.



The good news is the thicker batter makes an acceptable cake (if you're not too fussy).



Hope this helps. Good luck.

Joanne Chua said...

Whoa KT, I'm so impressed!
Thank you so much for the effort in putting up the video. I'll make my 3rd try soon. Thank you once again, KT!

Tori said...

Hi,
Is there anyway to substitute the coconut oil and the pineapple juice? Also, if I decide to add walnuts or something, will it ruin the batter or the finished product?


Thanks

Tori said...

Ah, I re-read your blog post- could you just answer my second question? The one about the walnuts?

kt said...

Ruined for whom? You or me?

Rhian said...

i made the ogura cake today and its texture was just as good as the Bangawasolo's chiffon cake's! I didn't have pineapple juice at home so I swaped it with milk and it tasted a bit eggy and salty. My fault :) Thanks for the recipe and the video! I'll give it a try again definitely!

Shakira Hamzah said...

is coconut oil is the same as palm coconut oil (or cooking oil) ?

Campbell said...

My cake callapsed. I read and followed the video! I noticed that there are two different amounts of egg whites, 159 g and 45 g. Should they be whipped together or is the 45 g for lining the sides of the pan?

Khor LuEe said...

May I know what is hot-presses coconut oil? Where can I find it? Thx

florence said...

hi, since you are whipping up quite a variety of foam cakes, would you be venturing into Chinese traditional steamed egg sponge cake any time soon ? I really missed my grandma's cottony, fluffy soft and moist kuey neng ko, which smiled till they cracked.

Christine said...

Hi, tried this cake..OMG! is super fluffy soft and nice! thanks for you super recipe. You are such a great angel to share all recipes with great tip!

pink said...

Hi, your recipes are truly amazing.. Each cake in your blog looks perfect and fluffy, I haven't seen any cake videos so professional in the net, like yours. I'm trying this Ogura cake. I would like to replace pineapple juice with vanilla extract. I'd like to know how much quantity of vanilla extract to use since I usually use 1tsp or a bit more for flavor. Your recipe calls for 70g pineapple juice. Should I add water in addition to vanilla extract to keep the consistency of batter, to reach 70g nonfat liquid.

Julie said...

Thank you very much for your recipe, I will try it out tomorrow. Oh my gosh it's looks so yummy.....

kwm said...

Dear kitchentigress, I want to make the cake in pandan flavor, can i dissolve the pandan flavoring in 70 grams water or coconut milk?

Grace said...

I made this cake twice today. I followed every single step. It rise nicely at the first 40 min. Once I dropped the temp to 130c it completely deflated. I just cannot explain the reason at all. I even used thermometer to ensure the temp was correct. Anyone can help.

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