Light and Delightful Chocolate Cake

.Japanese chocolate cake

Ms. Shimbo provides this interesting recipe for making a steamed chocolate cake with candied orange peel. It seems that traditional Japanese homes do not have ovens for baking/roasting in their kitchens. From my reading of many current blogs about Japan, perhaps some (or many homes?) now have ovens, though they may not be as large (nor as hot) as ovens in the U.S.

Steamed Japanese Cake

I first tried to make this cake in early September for Mr. Tess’s birthday. It was certainly not “light” at that time: I was in a rush to make a “surprise” so the egg-whites did not get whipped as well as they should have been. The egg whites provide the only leavening for the cake. It tasted good enough to try again. Valentine’s Day was the occasion. This time the cake was still not “light,” but it was very “delightful” and rich without butter or cream.

Chocolate Cake with Candied Orange Peel

Light and Delightful Steamed Chocolate Cake

Mushi Chokoreito Keiki
serves 8 (see notes below)
page 478

Candied Orange Peel:

The star of this recipe is the candied orange peel and syrup. You can use purchased bitter orange marmalade to save time, but this stuff is so good and you can make it ahead of time. It makes more than you’ll need for the cake, but it’s good on ice cream or other deserts.
  • orange zest8 oranges
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons orange liqueur (I skipped this)

In a big pot of boiling water, blanch the oranges for 20 seconds. Drain and rinse under cold water. Dry. Remove the rinds in thin strips. I used a vegetable peeler. This is sort of picky work, but not difficult. Cut the strips 1/8″ wide. Peel and segment the oranges to serve with your cake. I made this ahead, so I served the cake with fresh raspberries instead.

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil over medium heat. Add the orange zest strips, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, chill in cold water, drain again, and dry with paper towels.

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of sugar and 6 Tablespoons water to a boil over medium heat. Cook the mixture, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add the orange strips and liqueur. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes. You can refrigerate the orange strips in a covered container for up to a week before making the cake.

Chocolate Cake with Candied Orange Peel

The Chocolate Cake:
Mr. Shimbo’s recipe is for a 10″ diameter springform pan. My bamboo steamers do not accommodate such a large pan, so I bought a 7″ pan for the steam to circulate and do it’s cooking magic. I reduced the ingredients for the smaller pan and that is what I’m posting. This should serve 8 or more.

Line a 7″ springform pan with parchment paper. Set up your steamer and get the water boiling well

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Separate the eggs: whites into a mixer bowl; and reserve the yolks in a dish. Beat the egg-whites with the sugar until shiny and peaks hold.

  • 3/4 cup Japanese flour (or pastry flour)
  • 3/8 cup joshinko (rice flour) (that is 6 Tablespoons)

Sift the two flours together in a medium bowl.

  • 8 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 3 Tablespoons of the candied peel, with syrup
  • the 4 reserved egg-yolks

In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, combine the chocolate with the water. Stir occasionally until chocolate is melted. Add the candied orange peel and stir. Remove from heat and add the yolks, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each one.

Stir about a quarter of the whipped egg-whites into the chocolate mixture. With a spatula, fold the chocolate mixture into the remaining whites. Mix gently but thoroughly by lifting from the bottom. Don’t stir. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan in your hot steamer basket and cover. Steam the cake for 45 minutes. Check for doneness with a bamboo skewer—it will emerge a little wet when the cake is done. Turn the cake onto a rack to cool, covered with a dry cotton cloth. Chill the cake in the refrigerator.

Serve the cake with orange sections or fresh raspberries. Spoon some of the orange syrup over the cake and let it puddle in the saucer.

Chocolate Cake on a Fork
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3 thoughts on “Light and Delightful Chocolate Cake

  1. Tess, this looks delicious! A chocolate cake that’s steamed is definitely something different and something I want to make. When I do, I’ll definitely blog it and link your post. :) I don’t have a bamboo steamer, but I have seen them in stores. Now I have a reason to get one!

    • Hi Z,

      Steamers are cheap. This is a tricky recipe! You can see the pic with my black cat Sula where the “cake” is very dense? Be very careful handling the egg-whites. They are the ingredient which makes the cake rise.

      Also, make sure that your steamer is producing a ton of steam and heat. Like atomic hot!! That will make the egg whites bubble and raise the dough. Even so, I think Ms. Shimbo may have been better off to call this recipe a brownie rather than a cake.

      At least I have not been able to make it really light and airie.

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