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
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
(Makes 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.