I have been dying to try out ogura cake every since they got popular back in the early 2000’s. Despite its Japanese sounding name, this cake hails from Malaysia. The best texture I can describe when you bite into a piece of ogura cake is its impossibly airy and soft texture. Though it looks like sponge cake, it is closer to a chiffon cake. And since I have tons of cheese sitting around in my home right now, I decided to bake this cheesy pillowy ogura cake.
First technique: beat your eggs properly
Baking an ogura cake is all about mastering the right techniques. The first one is making sure to beat your eggs properly. You need two mixing bowls for this. The first one has your egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar. This you need to whisk until stiff, roughly around medium peak is good. The next bowl is where you add have everything else (minus flours) and beat until thick, then add the flours and whisk just until combined. Next, just fold the egg white into the batter.
Second technique: line your pan
You want to use an 8″x8″ square cake pan and you must line it with parchment paper. Why? Because it is the easiest method to remove the cake without them sticking to the pan. And I always make sure the parchment hangs over the pan so I can grab the paper and remove the cake easily. Now, if your batter was properly mixed, you will notice air bubbles when you pour the batter into the pan. These air bubbles are key to produce that elusive pillowy texture. If you don’t see air bubbles when pouring your batter, it is almost a guarantee your cake will be dense.
Third technique: au bain marie
Ogura cake must be baked with au bain marie method. It sounds so complicated, but it simply means you place your cake pan onto a baking sheet. Then, you pour hot boiling water to fill the baking sheet to about 1/2″ deep. It is best if you pour your water with kettle, or something that has a proper spout, like measuring cup, just to make sure you don’t accidentally pour hot water into your cake pan! Anyway, au bain marie simply means we not only bake the cake, but we steam it at the same time. If you do all the above, you should end up with a great ogura cake. So have fun baking, and who say you cannot eat the cake too!
- 1 egg
- 5 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoon (~ 20 gram) grated parmesan
- 3 tablespoon (~ 30 gram) grated cheddar (I use sharp Cheddar)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup milk
- 60 gram all purpose flour + 5 gram corn starch, whisk together
- 5 egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 80 gram (~ 5 tablespoon) sugar
- Preheat oven to 320 Fahrenheit (160 Celsius), boil a kettle of water, and line an 8"x8"x2" square cake pan with parchment paper.
- Egg yolk batter: in a large mixing bowl, beat 1 egg, 5 egg yolks, parmesan, cheddar, vegetable oil, and milk until thick and slightly pale. Add in the flour mixture and whisk until just mixed.
- Egg white batter: in a large mixing bowl, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar in three batches, and keep on whisking until stiff, stop when it reaches medium peak.
- Fold in the egg white batter to the egg yolk batter with a spatula in 3 stages. Make sure you use folding method so you don't destroy the air bubbles.
- Pour the batter to the lined cake pan.
- Place a baking sheet (I use a half sheet pan) in the middle rack of the oven, and place your cake pan on the baking sheet. Pour hot boiling water from the kettle onto the baking sheet (not your cake pan!) so the water fills about ½" of the baking sheet.
- Bake for about 55 minutes to 1 hour, or just until the cake is golden brown, and a cake tester comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven. Gently flip the cake onto a wire rack, and very gently peel away the parchment paper from the cake. Place another wire rack on the cake (the bottom side of your cake), and flip once more so the right side (upper part of the cake) is now facing up.
- Let the cake cool to room temperature, and cut into 9 serving pieces.