I think we can all agree that the end of year 2020 cannot come soon enough, for all its trials and tribulations. However, I’ll settle for striking a line through the year 5780 for now. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year arrives at sunset tonight. Offering an opportunity for a fresh start, rebirth and renewal, the significance of this holiday feels especially salient this time around.
Apples and honey are practically synonymous with the occasion, expressing edible wishes for a sweet new year. There’s usually a loaf of challah on the table, a lustrous golden crust shining beside tall pillar candles, perfumed with that same nectarous sweetener, too. In celebrations past, maple syrup was the default replacement, and plain bread the only alternative. Now we have truly ambrosial bee-free honey, either store-bought or homemade, and egg substitutes galore.
Rather than simply veganizing the classic round loaf, I felt that we could all use an extra measure of sweetness to rebound from such a miserably bitter 12-month cycle. Honey cake is a common addition to the festive table, but probably not like this one.
Kasutera, the Japanese interpretation of Portuguese castella sponge cake, is the perfect non-traditional dessert for Rosh Hashanah. Light and fluffy, yet still dense and rich, it glows with a golden interior crumb singing with floral aroma. The top and bottom are deeply caramelized from the high sugar content, but the interior remains as bright as a sunny day. Having the opportunity to enjoy such delicacy, tenderness, and indulgence strikes me as an ideal catalyst for a truly sweet new year on the horizon.
Chag sameach! Sweetest wishes for the year 5781!
Kasutera (Japanese Sponge Cake)
Kasutera is a Japanese sponge cake that's light and fluffy yet still dense and rich, with a soft, golden crumb. Typically flavored with honey and eggs, modern vegan alternatives make it an easy treat to adapt.
- 1/4 Cup JUST Egg or 1 Tablespoon Follow Your Heart VeganEgg Whisked with 1/4 Cup Cold Water
- 1 Cup Aquafaba
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/3 Cup Vegan Honey
- 1 1/2 Cups Bread Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 2 Tablespoons Vegan Honey
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan. Line with parchment paper, cut to fit smoothly, and grease once more.
- Prepare the vegan egg (or simply measure it out) and set aside.
- Place the aquafaba in the bowl of your stand mixer and begin to mix with the whisk attachment on low speed. Gradually increase to high, and very slowly sift the sugar in while the motor runs. Just as you would for making meringue, continue to beat the mixture for 8 - 10 minutes, until light and fluffy. It should form stiff peaks when the whisk is removed.
- Mix together the vegan egg and honey before incorporating both into the meringue. Switch over to a wide spatula and gently blend, being careful not to over-mix and destroy the fragile bubble matrix.
- Sift together the flour and baking powder before incorporating the dry goods, 1/2 cup at a time. Fold lightly, mixing from top to bottom, in three additions until the batter is smooth.
- Pour the batter into your prepared loaf and and smooth out the top. Tap the pan lightly on the counter a few times to level it out and release any large air bubbles.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. While still warm, brush with vegan honey. If you have trouble spreading the syrup, thin it first with a tiny splash of warm water.
- Let the cake cool to room temperature and wrap tightly with plastic. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours, for maximum moisture and the best texture.
- Once chilled and rested, remove the parchment paper and slice away the dark brown sides, leaving on the the crust on the top and bottom. Cut into 3/4 - 1 inch thick slices. Serve cool or at room temperature.
To make your own vegan honey alternative, try my recipe in Easy as Vegan Pie.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 251Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 73mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 1gSugar: 39gProtein: 4g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.
For more sweet Rosh Hashanah inspiration, try my Apple Fritter Torte, Apples and Honey Semifreddo, or Raw Apples and Honey Cheesecake
8 thoughts on “Honey-Do List”
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This looks wonderful and I have never tried vegan honey, gotta find that. Thanks!
Is it possible to modify the recipe for less servings?
I’m afraid that a smaller volume might not whip properly, and it I’m not sure what size pan would fit it properly. I wouldn’t recommend trying to cut it in half or reducing the size.
Is there anything that would work in place of the egg replacer? I realise that replacing the replacer is counterintuitive, but I can’t get hold of egg replacer right now (but do have a plentiful supply of aquafaba).
I really wish I could suggest an alternative to such a specific ready-made product, since I hate creating any barriers to accessibility, but I’m afraid this is one rare instance where I don’t see a good way around it. I haven’t tested the recipe with more conventional egg replacers, so there is some potential for sure, I just can’t confidently make recommendations. It plays such a large role in both the flavor and structure here, as it takes up a huge amount of actual bulk, my best guess it that it would at least take a combination of things, like aquafaba with ground flaxseeds, plus extra baking powder for volume and kala namak for eggy flavor. If you do give a go, I’d love to hear about your results!
[…] Castella カステラ / sponge cake recipe […]
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