Castella or Katsura cake is a popular japanese sponge cake. If you are familiar with the cake, you will know that mine looks nothing like how it should look. Haha. My first attempt at making castella cake was not very successful.
I can never resist buying castella cakes. The soft, moist and tender cake is usually made into rectangular loaves and presliced into servings that go perfect with a cup of tea. When I looked up recipes, I thought they seemed pretty simple to make.
Since there aren’t too many steps, I’m pretty sure I went wrong at the egg stage. You are supposed to beat for about five minutes, until the egg batter ribbons. I lost track of time and was distracted. Also the recipe I read only said flour, but upon further research, all the other recipes I saw call for bread flour. My cake initially rose, but then collapsed in after it was out of the oven.
The cake still tasted good, it just tasted more like a pound cake rather than a sponge cake. I plan on trying this again until I get it right.
There are many castella cake recipes out there. I used one I found on My Kitchen Snippets because it was easier than some of the other recipes, and because her cake came out so soft and fluffy looking.
I made some slight changes to the recipe, replacing the orange juice with milk and skipping the orange zest. I also reduced the sugar a bit because I’ve always found the castella cakes I’ve bought to be a bit too sweet for me. I don’t think these changes are what caused my cake to collapse. I’ll have to do some more research before my next attempt.
Castella Cake (slightly adapted from recipe found on My Kitchen Snippets)
5 large eggs
150 grams granulated sugar
200 grams flour
100 ml whole milk
2 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons oil (I used vegetable oil)
1. Prepared a square 8 x 8” square baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and grease it well. Preheat oven to 350 degree F and place a rack in the middle of the oven.
2. In a mixer whip eggs and sugar on high speed for 5 minutes or until batter forms a ribbon when the wire whip is lifted, the color should be light yellow.
3. Turn down the mixer to medium speed; slowly pour the flour mixture into the batter. Next add the milk and honey and mix until combined. Last, add the oil and make sure it is incorporated into the batter thoroughly.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place it in the oven and bake for 10 minutes in 350 degree F. After that, lower the temperature to 325 degree F and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
5. Remove from the pan as soon as it is done. Place it on the cooling rack and let it cool completely. Wrap entire cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This prevents the cake from drying out. Cut and serve the next day.