KitchenTigress: Ogura Cake

Ogura Cake

square ogura cake sitting on a cooling rack
Ogura cake, aka 相思蛋糕, hails from Batu Pahat, Malaysia. "Ogura" is a Japanese surname; "相思" means lovesick. Is there a love story behind the cake? Nah, there isn't. Some baker in Batu Pahat just invented the name.

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. Here are a few tips for making the cake:

❤️ 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.
square ogura cake sitting on a cooling rack
❤️ 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.
ogura cake with beautiful crumb
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.
ogura cake just removed from the oven
❤️ 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.
pouring ogura cake into cake pan
❤️ 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.

❤️ If you measure the ingredients wrongly, whisk wrongly, bake at the wrong temperature, or overbake, your cake will shrink a lot after it's removed from the oven. Don't underbake or the cake will collapse.

How to make Ogura cake

Step-by-step guide

This recipe uses a large amount of eggs and a low baking temperature to give the cake a smooth texture. Great flavour comes from a combination of coconut oil and pineapple juice.

ogura cake
(For one 18cm cake)
  • 150 g egg whites
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 75 g castor sugar
  • 75 g egg yolks
  • 45 g egg whites
  • 40 g coconut oil
  • 70 g canned/boxed pineapple juice
  • 55 g cake flour
  • ¼ tsp salt

  1. 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.

  2. 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.
  3. adding coconut oil to egg yolks in a mixing bowl
  4. 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.

  5. 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.
  6. pouring water into baking tray in the oven
  7. 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.

  8. Reduce oven temperature to 130°C. Bake till cake springs back slightly when pressed lightly, 15-20 minutes.

  9. 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.