Kirbie's Cravings

Honey Castella Cake

photo of six slices of Honey Castella Cake

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.

photo of three slices of cake lined up on a plate

.slices Honey Castella CakeHoney Castella Cake

Castella Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Japanese
Castella or Katsura cake is a popular Japanese sponge cake.


  • 5 large eggs
  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • 200 g flour
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 6 tbsp oil I used vegetable oil


  • Prepared a square 8 x 8” square baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and grease it well. Preheat oven to 350°F and place a rack in the middle of the oven.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place it in the oven and bake for 10 minutes in 350°F. After that, lower the temperature to 325°F and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • 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.


Recipe slightly adapted from recipe found on My Kitchen Snippets

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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14 comments on “Honey Castella Cake”

  1. My first attempt at castella was a fail as well.

    Check it out:

    I can’t wait till I can replicate the moist and tender ones from the bakeries!

  2. how strange that the cake would need bread flour– I would think it would come out too heavy!
    I like the look of your cake, though. I adore castella cake but I like a thick spongy cake too.

    • I’m surprised too. If anything, I thought it would use cake flour. Next time I’m going to try bread flour and see what happens.

  3. I’ve never had or even seen these before but they look and sound amazing!

    • Castella cake is pretty yummy. You can find it at Japanese supermarkets and I’ve seen it at chinese and korean markets as well.

  4. Just took it out of the oven, the family loves it!

  5. I am excited to bake this cake …its a simple cake and I like simple things, don’t you? Quite often it is the simple things in life which brings us the most joy.

    What flour do I use as it is not clear – all purpose flour, bread flour or just plain cake flour?

    Waiting to hear from you…you can email me. Thanks you.

  6. Kirbie, i think you did not use baking powder/
    Baking soda in your Katsura cake?  I failed

    • you are not supposed to use baking powder or baking soda. the key is the eggs. if you watch videos on making of castella, it’s all about the whipped eggs. you must whip them to the meringue consistency where it ribbons and wont sink because this is what makes your cake stay up. and you have to make sure when you add the flour that it doesn’t ruin the structure of the eggs. See my updated post for more tips:

  7. Hey. I’ve looked at a few other castella cakes online, but they all require separating the eggs and mixing in the yolks after beating the whites. Does this work just as well?

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