Castella Cake: Melt-in-Your-Mouth Magic

Easy Japanese Castella Cake recipe

Castella cake is a type of wagashi in Japan. This Japanese sponge cake has its roots in Portugal but has evolved into a distinct and beloved dessert in Japan. It’s known for its light and fluffy texture, moist interior, and slightly sweet flavor.

Strawberry Castella cake

Compared to the Japanese souffle cheesecake, the Castella is easier to make. You just need a few basic ingredients like eggs, flour, and sugar. Some Castella recipes also include honey or mirin (sweet rice wine) to enhance sweetness and moisture.

For this honey sponge cake, I used cake flour for its low protein content. This results in a more tender and delicate crumb in cakes and pastries. It helps achieve the fluffy and soft texture of this Kasutera sponge cake. This is how to make the Japanese Castella cake:

Japanese Castella Cake

A delectable and unique sponge cake
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Asian, Japanese
Servings 8
Calories 180 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 large eggs
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 200 g cake flour
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil for greasing

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C). Grease a rectangular cake pan with vegetable oil and line it with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until the mixture becomes thick and pale. This may take about 15 minutes, so be patient.
  • Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together into a separate bowl. This helps to aerate the dry ingredients and ensures an even distribution.
  • Add a portion of the dry mixture to the egg mixture. Using a spatula to fold them. Avoid stirring vigorously to maintain the airiness of the batter. Repeat the process until all the dry ingredients are incorporated, and the batter is smooth and well-mixed. Do not overmix.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the honey and warm water together until well combined. Gradually add this mixture to the batter, continuing to fold gently.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface. Take a skewer and create a zigzag pattern through the batter to release any trapped air bubbles.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Once baked, let the Castella in the oven for a few minutes with the oven door opened. Take the cake out of the tin, flip it upside down, and peel off the parchment paper.
  • Wrap the cake in plastic film to keep it moist. Let it cool completely, then pop it in the fridge overnight. This step is crucial for the Castella to develop its characteristic moist and fluffy texture.
  • The next day, take the Castella out of the fridge, unwrap it, and slice it into delicious servings.
Keyword baking, desserts, japanese, sponge cake

Castella Cake Varieties

Japanese Castella has become a popular souvenir and gift, especially during festivals and holidays. There are many variations of the Japanese egg cake! Here are some of them:

  • Nagasaki Castella is a regional variation with a history tied to the presence of Portuguese merchants in Nagasaki during the Edo period. Nagasaki Castella is often considered the most traditional, and it’s characterized by its rectangular shape and a slightly firmer texture compared to other types.
  • Flavored Kasutera cake: To make this version, you can add (matcha) green tea or cocoa powder (chocolate), citrus zest or juice into the batter.
Mini jiglly bread - baby Castella cake
Baby Kasutera cake
  • Brown Sugar Castella is for those who love a richer, more caramel-like sweetness. You just need to add brown sugar in the batter.
  • Honey Castella: Another sweet twist involves the addition of honey to the batter. This not only enhances the sweetness but also contributes to the cake’s moist and tender crumb.
  • Baby Castella is an adorable and bite-sized version of the traditional Japanese Castella cake. These mini cakes are often made using a special cast-iron pan or mold with small, round indentations, creating tiny, pillow-like cakes.
Johanna Cleveland
About the author
Kate

Hi, I'm Kate, the creator of Happy Baking Days. I'm a food lover, recipe creator, and kitchen explorer. I have amateur baking knowledge gained from years spent in the kitchen with my grandma and mum, where I graduated slowly from dusting work surfaces with flour and licking the spatula to the finer arts of pastry and meringue. Now in my own kitchen, I put all those years of training into practice, experimenting with recipes and ingredients from around the world. Join me as I share my culinary journey and favorite recipes that make cooking a delightful experience.

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