Castella caramel pudding is literally a combination of Castella cake and crème caramel pudding. If you wonder, Castella cake, aka Kasutera, is a Japanese honey sponge cake while crème caramel is an egg pudding with clear caramel sauce.
I find some satisfaction while digging into this three-layered dessert. Its top cake layer is spongy but soft while the custard pudding is slightly infused with the signature caramel underneath.
As unique as it may sound, Castella caramel pudding can be tricky to create. One of the possible issues is either over baking the cake or under baking the pudding.
Unfortunately, most of my attempts resulted in me having to eat cold runny egg custards, sweetened with caramel. The cake was also burnt one time, so great experiences.
On the bright side, I have accumulated a list of tips in case you experience similar difficulty:
- Bake the pudding as long as possible to ensure it is fully cooked.
- Leave them in the hot water bath for 10 more minutes after they are out of the oven. Further set the pudding in the fridge overnight before digging in.
- Use a smaller cup so both the cake and pudding can be fully cooked at the same time.
- I found that filling as much water as possible in the bain-marie (hot water bath) helps to cook the pudding.
A similar dessert to crème caramel with different texture: roasted marshmallow crème brûlée
Castella Caramel Pudding
- 39 g (3 tbsp) granulated white sugar
- 15 ml (1 tbsp) water
- 15 ml (1 tbsp) hot water
- 320 ml whole milk heated to 60°C or 140°F
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 large whole eggs (60g/egg with shell)
- 50 g granulated white sugar
- 15 ml (1 tbsp) rum optional
- 1 large whole egg (60g/egg with shell) room temperature
- 21 g granulated white sugar
- 10 g honey
- 27 g cake flour sifted
- In a heavy-bottom pot, heat sugar and 1 tbsp water over medium heat until it caramelizes or turns brown.
- Remove from heat and carefully add 1 tbsp hot water into the caramel. It will sizzle quite aggressively so watch out for any hot splatter.
- Pour and divide caramel evenly into 4 heat-proof cups. Place the cups in a deep baking dish. We will bake this with a bain-marie (water bath) method. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, and rum until combined.
- Gradually add in heated milk (60°C or 140°F) while whisking the egg mixture. To avoid having chunks of cooked eggs, remember to keep whisking while pouring the milk.
- Strain the mixture into a jug. Set aside.
- At this point, preheat the oven to 320°F / 160°C.
- Using a hand mixer, beat egg, sugar, and honey until light and thickened.
- Sieve cake flour into the batter. Using a silicone spatula, fold mixture just until combined. Do not overmix as it will deflate the batter and result in a dense cake.
- Pour and divide the pudding mixture evenly into the 4 cups. Top each cup with cake batter until almost full.
- Transfer into the preheated oven. Pour as much boiling water as possible into the baking pan.
- Bake for 35 minutes or as long as possible until the cake top really browns. Longer baking will ensure the pudding inside is cooked through.