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Castella Cake Recipe

Castella Cake recipe

Castella Cake, a delightful sponge cake, has its roots deeply embedded in the culinary traditions of Taiwan and Japan. This cake stands out for its unique texture and flavor, making it a favorite among dessert lovers worldwide.

History and Origin

Castella Cake, a confectionery symbol of cultural exchange, traces its origins back to the 16th century when Portuguese merchants introduced it to Japan. This sponge cake, known as Kasutera in Japanese, was adapted from a Portuguese recipe. Over time, it journeyed to Taiwan, where it evolved into its current form. The Taiwanese version, known for its fluffy, airy texture, differs significantly from the denser, honey-infused Japanese variant. This evolution reflects the unique culinary fusion between Portuguese, Japanese, and Taiwanese cultures, making Castella Cake a historical artifact in the world of baking.

What Makes Castella Cake Unique

The allure of Castella Cake lies in its extraordinary texture and flavor, setting it apart from other sponge cakes. Unlike its counterparts, Castella Cake boasts a remarkably light, airy consistency, often described as pillowy or cotton-soft. This texture is achieved through a meticulous baking process that includes a hot water bath and precise ingredient mixing. Flavor-wise, it strikes a delicate balance between sweetness and subtlety, often enhanced with a hint of honey or syrup. This unique combination of lightness and flavor makes Castella Cake not just a dessert, but a culinary experience.

Popularity and Cultural Significance

In both Taiwan and Japan, Castella Cake transcends its role as a mere dessert. It’s a cultural icon, deeply ingrained in the culinary traditions of both countries. In Japan, it’s a beloved souvenir, often given as a gift during festivals and celebrations. Taiwanese Castella, with its signature jiggly texture, has gained international fame, symbolizing Taiwan’s innovative and evolving dessert scene. The cake’s widespread popularity is a testament to its versatility and appeal, making it a cherished treat in various cultural contexts and a staple in the global dessert repertoire.

Castella Cake Recipe and FAQs

Ingredients and Substitutes

The classic Castella Cake recipe calls for simple, yet specific ingredients: eggs, sugar, flour, and often honey or syrup for added moisture and sweetness. The traditional recipe includes:

  • Eggs: Essential for structure and leavening.
  • Sugar: Adds sweetness and aids in texture.
  • Flour: Typically, all-purpose flour is used for a soft crumb.
  • Honey or Syrup: For moisture and a hint of flavor.

For those with dietary restrictions, here are some substitutes:

  • Eggs: Use aquafaba (chickpea water) as a vegan alternative.
  • Sugar: Substitute with coconut sugar or a sugar-free sweetener for a healthier option.
  • Flour: Gluten-free flour blends can replace all-purpose flour for a gluten-free version.
  • Honey/Syrup: Agave nectar or maple syrup are great vegan alternatives.

Step-by-Step Baking Process

  1. Preparation: Begin by separating the egg whites and yolks. Preheat your oven to a low temperature, around 150°C (300°F), to ensure gentle cooking.
  2. Making the Batter: Whisk the egg yolks with part of the sugar until creamy. Sift in the flour and mix until just combined. If using, add honey or syrup for moisture.
  3. Meringue: In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites, gradually adding the remaining sugar, until soft peaks form. This is crucial for the cake’s fluffiness.
  4. Combining: Gently fold the meringue into the yolk mixture in parts to keep the air in the meringue.
  5. Baking: Pour the batter into a lined baking pan. Place the pan in a larger tray filled with hot water to create a water bath. This helps cook the cake evenly and maintain moisture.
  6. Cooking Time: Bake for about 60-70 minutes. Avoid opening the oven frequently as it can cause the cake to collapse.
  7. Cooling: Let the cake cool gradually in the oven with the door slightly open to prevent sudden temperature changes that can make the cake collapse.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  • Cracked Top: A cracked top is often caused by an oven that’s too hot. Ensure your oven temperature is accurate and consider using an oven thermometer. Also, avoid over-whipping the egg whites; they should be at soft peaks, not stiff.
  • Sunken Cake: This can happen if the cake is underbaked or experiences a sudden change in temperature. Bake the cake fully and cool it gradually.
  • Dense Texture: This issue arises when the batter is overmixed or the meringue deflates. Fold the meringue gently into the batter and mix just until combined.

Serving and Storage

Castella Cake is best enjoyed fresh, ideally within a few hours of baking, when its texture is at its peak – soft, fluffy, and slightly warm. It pairs beautifully with tea or coffee, making it a perfect treat for afternoon tea or as a dessert after meals. For a delightful variation, try serving it with a dollop of whipped cream or a side of fresh fruit.

For storage, keep the cake in an airtight container to retain its moisture. It can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerated for up to 5 days. If refrigerated, let it come to room temperature before serving to enjoy its soft texture.


Castella Cake

Castella Cake recipe

This Castella Cake recipe brings you the traditional Japanese sponge cake known for its fluffy, light texture and subtly sweet flavor. It's a delightful treat that pairs perfectly with tea or coffee, making it ideal for afternoon snacks or dessert.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 1 8x8 inch cake, approximately 12 servings
Calories 250 kcal


  • 8x8 inch square baking pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Electric mixer
  • Mixing bowls
  • Sieve or sifter


  • 6 large eggs separated
  • 1 cup 200g granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup 120g all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup 60ml honey, mixed with 1/4 cup (60ml) warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional



  • Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C).
  • Line the baking pan with parchment paper, ensuring it covers the sides of the pan.

Egg Yolk Mixture:

  • In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with half of the sugar (100g) until the mixture is thick and pale.
  • Add the honey-water mixture and vanilla extract to the yolks, and mix well.

Egg White Meringue:

  • In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until foamy.
  • Gradually add the remaining sugar (100g) while continuously beating until soft peaks form. This creates the meringue.

Combine Mixtures:

  • Gently fold one-third of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture using a spatula. Repeat with the remaining meringue in two more additions. Be careful not to deflate the meringue.

Sift in Flour:

  • Sift the flour over the batter in two batches, folding gently after each addition until just combined.


  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  • Tap the pan lightly on the counter to release any large air bubbles.
  • Place the pan in a larger baking tray and fill the tray with hot water (about an inch deep) to create a water bath.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 50-60 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.


  • Remove the cake from the oven and drop the pan from a height of about 3 inches onto the counter to prevent shrinking.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then gently remove it from the pan and peel off the parchment paper.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.


  • Once cooled, slice the cake into desired sizes.
  • Castella Cake is best enjoyed the day it's made but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.


  • Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature before starting.
  • Be gentle when folding the meringue into the batter to maintain its airy texture.
  • The water bath helps to cook the cake evenly and keep it moist.


  • For best results, ensure all ingredients are at room temperature.
  • The cake's texture is best when consumed within 2 days of baking.
  • If the top browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  • The cake can be flavored with lemon zest or matcha powder for a variation.
Keyword Castella Cake recipe

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