Castella cake is a Japanese sponge cake that is made with sugar, eggs, and wheat flour. It is a light and airy cake that has a slightly crisp outer crust and a soft, spongy center. Castella cake is typically served as-is or with whipped cream and berries. This easy castella cake recipe requires just 10 minutes of prep time and can be made in either the microwave or oven.
What Is Castella (Kasutera)?
Castella (カステラ) is a traditional Japanese sponge cake made with sugar, eggs, and flour. It was brought to Japan by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century. Castella has a light, spongy texture and a slightly crisp outer crust.
It’s often served plain or cut into small cubes and enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee. It can also be topped with whipped cream, jam, and fresh fruit for an extra special treat. Castella cake is popular in bakeries throughout Japan and a beloved snack at home.
Taiwanese Castella Cake Vs. Japanese Castella Cake
If you’re a fan of sponge cakes, then you’ve probably tried both Taiwanese and Japanese castella cakes. But what’s the difference between these two popular desserts?
Taiwanese castella cake is denser and moister than its Japanese counterpart. It’s also sweetened with brown sugar, giving it a deeper flavor. Japanese castella cake, on the other hand, is lighter and fluffier. It’s typically made with white sugar, resulting in a sweeter taste.
So which one is better? It really depends on your personal preference. If you like dense, moist cakes, then you’ll probably prefer Taiwanese castella cake. But if you prefer light and fluffy cakes, then Japanese castella cake is probably more your style.
Ingredients For Castella
Bread flour, sugar, eggs, honey, water and salt are the main ingredients for this cake. The bread flour results in a higher rise and more elasticity.
Castella is traditionally sweetened with sugar, but this recipe uses honey for depth of flavor and floral notes. It’s important to use room temperature eggs so they don’t affect the baking time. A good quality honey is key for strong flavors and complex aromas.
How To Make Castella Cake
By following a few simple steps, you can produce delicious results.
Start by preheating your oven to the correct temperature. Then, grab an 8″x 4″ loaf pan and brush it with oil, or use cooking spray. Set it aside. Next, sift the flour into a bowl and set it aside. In a large bowl, break the eggs and mix them with a hand mixer.
Add sugar to eggs and mix on high for 4-5 minutes until pale yellow. Then, reduce speed and add honey, water, and salt. Next, add 1/3 of bread flour and mix until combined. Repeat this process twice more. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake in middle rack for 35-40 minutes. Test with skewer – if it comes out clean, cake is done; otherwise cook 5 more minutes before testing again.
Mix 1 tablespoon honey with 1 teaspoon water and brush the mixture on top of the cake. This will add a touch of sweetness and depth of flavor. Then, flip the cake over and place it in a storage bag while it’s still hot. Fold the bag so that all sides of the cake are pressing against it – alternatively you could wrap the cake in plastic wrap – and leave it on the counter for 12 hours. This will help the flavors develop. Finally, slice off the brown sides of the cake, but leave the center intact. This will give your cake a beautiful presentation without sacrificing taste or quality.
Video How To Make This Cake
• Don’t substitute honey for sugar – the flavors are very different.
• Make sure to use room temperature eggs so they don’t affect the baking time.
• Use high quality honey for complex aromas and strong flavor.
• Be sure to leave the cake wrapped in plastic wrap or a storage bag while it’s still hot – this helps the flavors develop over time.
• Slice off the brown sides of the cake before serving for a more attractive presentation.
How To Achieve A Crack Free Cake
Castella cakes are known for their signature cracked top. To achieve this effect, follow these steps:
Heat The Milk And Butter Until Just Melted
One of the key things to remember is to heat the milk and butter before adding it to the flour mixture. This technique is known as the ‘cooked dough’ method, and it essentially breaks down the proteins in the flour so that less gluten is formed. This results in a softer, more delicate sponge. However, when heating the milk and butter it’s important to keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t overheat. If the milk and butter is too hot it can overcook the dough, causing it to form a sticky paste. The butter should have just melted and the milk should be just steaming.
Use Chilled Eggs
Another tip to keep in mind is to use chilled eggs. Cold eggs will help hold the air and fat within them, resulting in a more aerated cake. This helps create lots of little pockets of steam that rise up through the cake as it bakes, creating the cracking effect on top.
Finally, chill your batter for 20-30 minutes before baking. This will help the cake keep its shape and prevent it from sinking in the middle.
Whip The Egg Whites To Soft Peaks
For a more delicate texture, it’s important to whip the egg whites to soft peaks. This is done by slowly adding the sugar and whipping until the meringue has reached a glossy sheen and holds its shape when you lift up the beaters. Be careful not to over-whip as this can result in a dry cake.
Add The Sugar When The Egg Whites Are Just Foamy, And Whip Until A Dense Meringue Forms
Once the egg whites are whipped to soft peaks, slowly add the sugar and whip until a dense meringue forms. This will help give the cake lift and structure while also creating a light texture.
Finally, be sure to fold the meringue into the batter very gently. If you over-mix it can deflate all the air and the cake won’t rise as well.
Bake The Cake In A Hot Water Bath
Another key trick to bake a crack-free cake is to bake it in a hot water bath. This helps create an even heat distribution throughout the cake and helps prevent any cracking on top. To do this, place the cake pan in a roasting pan filled with one inch of hot water and then bake as directed.
What To Serve With Castella Cake
Castella cake is a delicious dessert on its own, but it can also be served with a variety of accompaniments to enhance the flavor. Fresh fruit such as strawberries and blueberries pair perfectly with the sweetness of the cake. A dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream is another great way to add richness and texture. If you want to take it one step further, try serving the cake with a side of warm chocolate sauce or caramel sauce.
No matter how you serve it, Castella cake is sure to be a hit with everyone! With its delicate texture and lightly sweet flavor, this classic Japanese dessert will quickly become a family favorite.
Leftover Castella cake can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. However, for best results, it’s best to enjoy it soon after baking as this is when the flavors are at their peak.
You can also freeze leftover cake for up to 3 months. Make sure to wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap and then place in an airtight container or freezer bag. To thaw, simply leave the cake out at room temperature for a few hours until completely thawed.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Difference Between Castella And Sponge Cake?
Castella cake is a type of sponge cake that originated in Japan. The main difference between Castella and regular sponge cakes is that it uses the “cooked dough” method which breaks down the proteins in the flour, resulting in a softer texture and less gluten formation. Additionally, this type of cake traditionally uses honey instead of sugar for sweetness.
Why Is Castella Cake Famous?
Castella cake is a popular Japanese dessert that is known for its light, airy texture and slightly sweet flavor. It’s often served with fresh fruit or a drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce. The traditional method of making Castella also helps to create an interesting cracking effect on the top of the cake.
Is Castella Cake Spanish?
No, Castella cake is not Spanish in origin. It’s a type of sponge cake that originated from Japan and is popular throughout Asia. The name “Castella” comes from the Portuguese word for “cake,” which was introduced to Japan during the 16th century when Portuguese traders arrived in Nagasaki.
What Is Castella In English?
Castella is a type of sponge cake that originated from Japan. It’s known for its light and airy texture, slight sweetness, and interesting cracking effect on the top. In English, Castella can be translated to mean “cake.”
Why Did My Cake Crack?
Sometimes cakes can crack on top while baking. This is usually due to an uneven heat distribution or over-mixing the batter. To help prevent this, try baking your cake in a hot water bath and make sure to mix the meringue into the batter very gently.
Why Did My Cake Deflate?
If your cake deflated after baking, it can be due to over-mixing the batter or using too much leavener. To prevent this from happening, use a low-speed mixer when combining ingredients and make sure to mix just until combined. Also, don’t open the oven door while the cake is baking as this can also cause it to deflate.
How Is This Cake Best Enjoyed?
Castella cake is best enjoyed soon after baking, when the flavors and textures are at their peak. It can be served on its own or with a variety of accompaniments such as fresh fruit, whipped cream, ice cream, chocolate sauce, or caramel sauce.
Castella cake is a classic Japanese dessert that is known for its light, airy texture and slightly sweet flavor. Whether you serve it on its own or with a side of warm chocolate sauce or caramel sauce, this cake is sure to be a hit with everyone! With the Liliana Kitchen ingredients and patience, you can easily make Castella at home for a delicious treat that the whole family will enjoy.
- Large eggs, at room temperature: 3
- Bread flour: 100g (about 2/3 cup)
- Granulated sugar: 1/4 cup + 2 tbsps (about 90ml)
- Honey: 60ml + extra for brushing
- Water: 1 tbsp
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease an 8-inch square or round cake pan with butter and line it with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs until they are light and fluffy.
3. Sift the flour into the egg mixture, then add the sugar, honey, water and salt. Whisk until a smooth batter forms.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. Once done baking, brush the top of the cake with honey. Cool completely before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
- If you want a crunchier outer crust, try baking your castella cake at a higher temperature.
- Don't overmix the batter when making the castella cake as this can result in an overly dense texture.
- Make sure to use fresh eggs and let them come to room temperature before beginning.
- Let the castella cake cool completely before cutting into it.
- Feel free to add your favorite mix-ins, such as chocolate chips or nuts, to the batter.
- If you want to make a fancy presentation, top with fresh fruit and whipped cream.