This is a smooth, fluffy and moist castella with honey. The demerara sugar on the bottom gives it a crispy texture to it and reminds me of traditional castella from Japanese confectioneries. It has a very comforting taste.
Take an empty tissue box and cut off the top part. Fix the four corners with a stapler. Line the prepared box with a piece of baking paper. Leave the baking paper peeking out above the box (much higher than its sides) because the castella is going to swell a lot. Sprinkle with some brown sugar on the bottom of the box.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl and add the white sugar and soft brown sugar. Whisk the mixture with a hand mixer at a highest speed on a bain-marie heated to 80°C for 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the bain-marie and whisk for further 7 minutes until fluffy and smooth.
Mix the milk heated in a microwave and honey together and add to the whisked egg and sugar mixture. Whisk at the highest speed for 2 minutes. Add the sifted strong bread flour and gently whisk at a low speed for 2 to 3 minutes without leaving any lumps. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
Pour the batter into the prepared box. Hold a plastic spatula upright and move it in a criss-cross fashion through the batter. Try not to touch the brown sugar on the bottom, though.
After Step 4, small bubbles will float to the surface of the batter. Smooth out the surface of the batter and pop the bubbles with a plastic spatula. Repeat this procedure about 5 times.
After this, gently rap the box against the counter five times to remove bubbles inside. Put in the oven and reduce the heat to 170°C to bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 150°C to further bake for 35 minutes. Cover the castella with a piece of baking paper to prevent it from burning on top for the last 15 minutes before it's finished baking.
It's done. After taking out the castella box from the oven, remove the castella from the box straight away. You don't need to peel away the baking paper at the moment.
Wrap with cling film while still hot and leave to sit overnight. This will make the castella very moist.
The next day, remove the cling film and cut off the sides to trim into a nice clean rectangle. Leave the baking paper on underneath because you don't want to lose the brown sugar. You can eat the trimmings, of course!
This is my ultimate fluffy and yellow honey castella. You will be amazed how smooth and moist it is. It's like a shop-bought one!
Do not remove the baking paper underneath when serving. At least, that's what I like to do. I love scraping off the brown sugar that sticks to the paper.
You can bake a 20 x 20 cm square castella in the same amount of time.
Story Behind this Recipe
When I worked for a Japanese restaurant, the wife of the owner, who was from a Japanese confectionary family, used to make this for our snack. She showed me how to make it when I left the restaurant. This castella reminds me of old times. I added my own twist to her original recipe after figuring out the best quantities of each of the ingredients for home bakers.
Remember to pre-heat the oven. Getting rid of the bubbles inside the batter is a pretty important process. Use the eggs at room temperature. Shift the strong bread flour twice. Use the freshest eggs that are best possible quality. The taste of the eggs will definitely reflect on the taste of the resultant castella. Fix the corners of the tissue box with a stapler, otherwise the box might collapse because of the heated glue while baking.