Bring one of Japan’s favourite baked desserts into your home with this traditional castella sponge cake recipe. Introduced to the Japanese by Portuguese merchants in the 16th Century and now a speciality of the Nagasaki region, Castella sponges have a finer, more compact texture than traditional sponge cakes, while still being lighter than pound cakes or butter cakes. This castella is ideal for serving during afternoon tea, or for dessert.
4 medium sized eggs, room temperature
2-3 tbsp honey 100g strong flour
In a metal bowl, crack the eggs, add the sugar and beat with an electric mixer over boiling water in a double boiler fashion on high speed for 6 minutes. The volume of the beaten eggs will increase by about 4 times.
Add the honey into the egg mixture and whisk on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
Sift 1/3 of the flour into the mixture, then lightly whisk on medium speed, then add another 1/3 of the flour and whisk. Add the last remaining 1/3 of flour and whisk until combined for about 1 minute. Do not overmix, this will lead to a fallen or flat cake.
Put some parchment paper in a baking tin and pour the batter into the tin. Using a skewer, draw a zigzag line to remove any large air bubbles from the batter. This will give an even texture throughout to the finished cake.
Bake at 180°C in a pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes until the top turns a rich brown. Then quickly cover it with cooking foil and lower the temperature to 170°C and continue baking. It will take about 55 minutes in total. Test with a skewer, when it comes out clean the cake is done.
When done, take the cake out from the tin and immediately cover the surface with cling film.
Turn the cake over onto a flat plate and while it is still hot put it in a plastic bag and leave it for 12 hours so that the cake will have a moist texture.
Before serving, slice off the sides of the cake. Serve with tea or coffee and a spoonful of Chantilly cream for extra decadence.
- You can keep the cake in the fridge for up to 5 days or wrap it with cling film and freeze for up to a month.