Castella, or Kasutera, is a popular Japanese sponge cake that was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese so it is quite similar to Madeira cake or Pão-de-ló, which is also a Portuguese cake.
In Japan, Castella (Kasutera) is now a specialty of Nagasaki city and is commonly sold in long boxes at festivals and street stalls. It is made out of only four basic ingredients: bread flour, sugar, eggs, and honey; because it is such a simple and plain flavour, it can be customised and adapted in endless ways! So you can make it any flavour you can think of. Some of the most popular in Japan are brown sugar and matcha (green tea) flavour.
I would like to share the most basic and plain Castella. It is such a basic cake but has actually been quite difficult for me to make to be honest. You need to follow the instruction and kind of know how much you need to beat and whip up the egg and sugar then add honey and mirin. Then fold in the flour. I made one that was too dry and one that deflated after taking it out of the oven. It has been hard for me to get it right. You also need to know your oven well too because this cake requires baking in 180 degree for 10 minutes then turn the temperature down to 150 to bake for about 30-40 minutes. The baking time is indication only and you need to adjust this time according to your oven.
I used baker’s flour for this recipe but plain flour can be used too. Using baker’s flour gives this cake a bouncy sponge texture, while using plain flour makes this cake a soft and fluffy sponge cake texture. I used the flour for baking bread and they are called baker’s flour in Australia. If you can not get baker’s flour, you can replace it with plain flour but the cake will have different texture from I made.
Although it’s just a basic flavour, it’s not dull and tasteless. It actually has a flavourful honey taste to it, which makes it sweet and very yummy. The honey also gave it an amazing smell that filled the whole house, especially when it was fresh from the oven. However, don’t be tempted by the smell to take the cake out and cut it straight away, it needs to settle for a while to take form.
- 4 medium sized eggs weighing 200g all together
- 100 g sugar
- 100 g Baker's flour bread flour
- 20 g plain flour
- 2 tbs honey
- 2 tbs mirin
- Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- sift the baker's flour and plain flour and set aside.
- Line the form or tin with baking sheet.
- Place the honey and mirin in a small bowl and microwave for 20 seconds on 600w and set aside
- Beat the eggs and sugar until it forms a peak.
- Add the honey and mirin mixture into the beaten eggs and sugar mixture.
- Add shifted flour and mix for another couple minutes on slow speed
- Pour the batter into the tin
- Bake for 15 minutes on 180 degrees celsius then turn the oven down to 150 degrees and bake for a further 35 minutes.
- 10. Remove the tin out of the oven, drop it from a height in order to avoid it sinking.
- 11. Remove the cake out of the tin and wrap it with cling wrap tightly.
- 12. Rest it in the fridge for a few days.
- 13. Slice the Kasutera cake to serve.