So……….I’ve been dieting. UGH. All my life I’ve been able to eat whatever, and yes I am aware that I’ve been lucky that way. I’m not a skinny person by any means, just regular. But lately…well I’ll put this in the order I believe it should be in….1. I haven’t really exercised in about 3 years and 2. I’m getting older. And I don’t like it. About 3 years ago I stopped taking Tae Kwan Do or going to the gym, or going hiking and kinda stuck around home more….and possibly started baking more. My sister thinks the weight gain is mostly due to age but I’m fighting against that. So I’ve gained about 20 pounds if I’m being honest. The first 10 were no big deal, this last 10 however are another story altogether!!! I can see them! I can feel them in my clothes! So diet it is. Here is the problem, it’s not easy to change years of eating habits! I don’t eat badly, just probably too much for my current metabolism. So I went low carb. Thinking that way I can still eat sweets on the weekends! Low carb all week, dessert on weekends. Logical eh? A friend gave me fresh eggs from his chickens and pheasants. I can eat all I want of eggs on this damned diet.
Except after about a week and a half on this damned diet nothing seemed to be coming off. I’m not going to starve myself (hardly) if it doesn’t even work. Last night was my breaking point. I found a recipe for Kasutera Cake (a Japanese sponge cake) and decided what the hell, it’s a small recipe, it’s not too sweet, I have matcha powder and it uses eggs! I can eat eggs….green tea cake it is!
Jason only chuckled, diet over already? Well, no, just a break. Besides a light, not too sweet little tea scented cake couldn’t really hurt that much right?
There are many Kasutera also known as Castella, recipes out there. I chose this one because I thought it would be small enough that I wouldn’t completely blow the damned diet. You can make it in many flavors and Matcha is a green tea powder that can be used to flavor many things including ice cream, cake etc.
- 2 Tb milk
- 2 Tb honey
- 3/4 c flour
- 1 Tb matcha
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 c sugar
Prepare a small 9 inch rectangular pan with parchment paper. Combine the honey and the milk and warm it up. Sift together the flour & matcha powder in a bowl and set aside. Whisk the eggs and slowly add the sugar, place this bowl over a simmering pot of water, (very low simmer) and continue to whisk (I used a hand mixer.) The mixture will grow in size, get thick and get very light colored, it takes at least 10 minutes.
You want to reach a point where the mixture is very thick and reaches what is called the “ribbon stage”. See the picture below, when you take the whips out, the mixture will form what look like ribbons on top and slowly melt back into the rest of the mixture. If you’ve ever made Zabaglione, this is the stage you are looking for.
So far so good, right? It sure seems to be going great. Stir in the milk/honey mixture and preheat the oven to 360 F. Sift the flour/matcha into the batter and fold with a spatula, you want to fold gently so that you keep the light fluffiness of the egg mixture. Pour the batter into the pan and tap lightly on the counter to get any big air bubbles out. Bake for 10 minutes at 360 then reduce the temperature to 300 and bake a further 40 minutes. If a toothpick inserted comes out clean, it’s done! Then remove from pan, cool and blah blah blah.
My cake was doing fine, it had risen and looked good. When I checked it about 20 minutes after I had lowered the tempurature….disaster! The middle had collapsed! What in the world? I started racking my brain, did I beat it too much/hard? Oh I added food coloring paste at the end and it may not have blended that well, was that it? Ugh, this is what happens when your stomach has no carbs and takes over in a panic demanding cake. I did an internet search with the query “Why did my sponge cake collapse?” The very first hint made me realize my mistake….I had opened the oven door when I reduced the tempurate, thinking that would help get rid of some of the heat. WRONG MOVE. I guess sending in a rush of cold air causes sponge cakes to collapse, unless it’s more than 3/4 of the way done. I’ll never make that mistake again. The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. This may be an elementary mistake to all you sponge cake makers but I’ve never been a big fan of cake until I discovered sponge cakes. When I was little we mostly had box cakes, or bought cakes with waaaaay too much super sweet frosting. Here’s another example of one more thing I will conquer! My next attempt will be a Pandan Chiffon cake, similar I believe to a sponge. So… I definitely won’t be opening the oven door.
We let it cool a little bit and then cut a piece. It tasted delicious with crispy edges. Jason loved it and kept eating. I told him I knew how to replicate this exact cake now! I’ll just never be taking it anywhere! Oh and when I got on the scale this morning I had lost two pounds! It’s working!!!!!