Clearly I thought I hadn’t tortured my right arm enough – here’s another fluffy pancake variation from Japan!
The Castella Pancake appeared in a TV drama called Kodoku no Gurume (孤独のグルメ, or “Solitary Gourmet”), which is a reproduction of the original manga. The main character, a middle-aged business man, discovers all sorts of local eateries and dishes (btw which all exists IRL) during his business trips around Japan. This pancake, by a cafe called Comma, Coffee, rose in popularity after the episode aired (Season 8 Episode 4) and many people had recreated it.
A castella cake is a type of Wagashi (Japanese sweet), a specialty of the city of Nagasaki. It was brought to Japan by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century, and developed into this delicate, honey-flavoured sponge cake of today.
The pancake version itself is pretty similar to a souffle pancake, except that it is baked in the oven on a skillet. (And it also deflated very quickly, hence the lack of photos.) The original cafe serves the pancake with a large slab of butter, icing sugar and maple syrup, but of course you can add other toppings to your heart’s desire!
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Separate the eggs. Place the egg whites into a large mixing bowl and chill in the fridge.
- Add honey and milk to the egg yolks and whisk until well mixed. Sift in flour and baking powder and mix.
- Using a clean whisk, whisk the egg whites until pale and frothy. Add 1/3 of the sugar at a time and continue whisking until medium stiff peaks.
- Add 1/3 of the meringue to the egg yolk mixture and fold. Then return all the mixture into the egg whites and fold.
- Pour the batter onto the skillet and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the oven for 10 mins, then take it out and cut a cross at the top with a small knife. Return to the oven and bake for another 8 mins until well-risen and golden brown on top.
- Serve immediately with butter, icing sugar and syrup.