I’ve been craving castella cake for a while now, and I finally got around to making one this weekend. Castella cake (also called kasutera cake) is a Japanese sponge cake which is moist and spongy despite not using any oil. Instead, it is made using a technique by whipping eggs (with the yolks) until they form peaks.
A while back when I was in my castella cake baking craze, I had planned on baking a matcha flavored one. But on my attempt to bake it, I completely forgot to add the matcha powder. So it ended up being a regular honey sponge cake. This time I remembered to add the matcha powder.
For some reason, the taste of honey mixed with green tea powder through me off a little. I think next time I make the green tea version I will leave out the honey.
Other than that though, the cake was as good as I remember. The castella cake is definitely one of my favorite cakes of all time. Unlike other sponge cakes, the cake isn’t as airy or light as cakes baked with whipped egg whites. Instead, this cake has a bouncy texture and tight crumbs. Despite it not having oil, you don’t miss it at all and can’t tell that is the case.
I’ve documented how to successfully make a good castella cake in previous posts as well as describing the castella cake in more detail so I’m not going to go into it again. Once you figure out how to make the cake, it’s actually not too hard. The tips I’ve learned can be found in my previous posts here and here. I used the same recipe I previously used except that I added 1 1/2 tablespoons of high-quality matcha powder. The green tea powder should be added to the flour mixture. You can view the recipe here.
If you’re interested in more matcha recipes be sure to check out my easy Match Green Tea Yogurt Cakes, too!
Matcha Green Tea Castella Cake
- 8 large eggs
- 10.5 oz (300 g) granulated sugar
- 7 oz (200 g) all-purpose or bread flour
- 1 ½ tbsp high-quality matcha green tea powder
- 3 ½ fl oz (100 cc) milk
- 4 tbsp honey plus 1 tbsp for the top of the cake, warmed
- Preheat oven to 340°F (170°C). Lightly butter a 8x8-inch cake pan and line it with enough parchment paper so some hangs over the sides. The butter will help keep the parchment paper in place. Sprinkle some sugar in the bottom of the pan (on top of the parchment paper).
- Bring a large pan (big enough to cover the bottom of your large mixing bowl) of water to a boil and then turn off the heat.
- In a small bowl, combine the milk and 4 tablespoons of honey. In a separate bowl, add the flour and matcha powder and sift them twice using a fine mesh sieve or sifter.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Place the bowl over the pan of hot water that you boiled. Add the sugar and whisk, holding the bowl on top of the pan, until the mixture warms to a lukewarm temperature. Remove the bowl from the pan and continue whisking. If the mixture cools, place it over the pan of hot water to warm it back to lukewarm. Continue whisking until the mixture holds soft peaks, about 15 minutes if you are using an electric whisk. It will take much longer if you are whisking by hand. See the notes in this post for more details about this step.
- Once the mixture holds soft peaks, whisk in the milk and honey. Add the flour mixture, one tablespoon at a time, and beat the batter until no dry lumps of flour remain.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan filling it all the way to the top of the pan. Bake the cake for 50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick or skewer comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking make the glaze by mixing 1 tablespoon of honey with a little hot water. Once the cake is out of the oven, brush the top with the glaze.
- Once the cake is cool enough to handle, but still warm, lift it out of the pan using the parchment paper hanging over the edges like handles. Place the cake (with the paper) in a plastic bag and seal the bag. Chill the cake for several hours in the refrigerator. This will ensure the cake maintains it’s moist texture, so be sure you place it in the refrigerator while it’s still warm.
- To serve, slice the cake into pieces using a sharp knife. Cut the sides off the sides of the pieces leaving a crust on the top and the bottom of the slice.
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.
Hi, is it possible to make it in a round cake pan? If so, what size would you suggest?
We’ve only tested it in an 8×8″ square pan, but you could try a 9″ round pan and you shouldn’t have to adjust the baking time.
This recipe was not bad at all. Making a castella cake was easier than I thought. I would definitely recommend this recipe.
It wasn’t overly sweet, however I would probably put less sugar for my preference. I’ll try 225-250 g next time.
I’m glad it worked out for you!
I like this recipe but I’ve made it three times and failed twice for the same reason. The way it is written makes it seem like the sugar is suppose to be sifted into the same bowl with the flour but that is not the case. It should be separately sifted into a different bowl and mixed in with the eggs.
I’m sorry for any confusion. I’m glad you were able to get it right and I’ve made an adjustment to the instructions.
Hi, thanks for the recipe! Can I use microwave instead for this?
No, the cake needs to be bake in the oven.
Hi there, you mentioned honey + matcha do not go well. Have you tried a honey-free version of this green tea cake recipe? If so, can you share the new proportions as I’m sure you’ll have to add more sugar instead? Thanks!
hi, unfortunately I have not experimented with this matcha version any further.
The recipe looks very delicious and tempting. I have try the recipe but it fails.. Is it ok to use olive oil instead of corn oil?. Is cream of tar tar optional.? Why cream of tar tar is use.and why? Anyway will try second attempt later. Hope it will not fail again. Hope i have more tips.
I am not sure which recipe you are referring to. this recipe does not use oil or cream of tartar
How much green tea powder did you add?
As stated in the end of the post, 1 1/2 tbsp. hope that helps!
Sorry, I used an electric hand mixer (the small type). I guess it is high time for me to buy a good electric mixer. Thank you very much for your feed back.
Ah, yeah those eggs take a lot of effort. It really helps to have a good stand mixer. My first time failed too.
Admire your cake.. Texture so event & fine.. I bought a wooden mold & tried making tis cake 3 times last week still couldn’t achieve the satisfying result. I used a hand whisk to beat. I anticipated 3 different results following Diana’s recipe.. 1st attempt: cake rise even on top but middle bottom a bit hollow ; 2nd attempt: cake didn’t rise much, dense; 3rd attempt: cake raised evenly but not so light.
I wud appreciate if you could share more tips on making this cake.
I explain more on my experience through this post https://kirbiecravings.com/2011/03/honey-castella-cake-mastered.html
It sounds like maybe your eggs have not reached the desired texture needed. It is hard to hand whisk. I always use an electric mixer and it already takes a long time, so I cannot imagine how long it will take by hand. Do you have an electric mixer to try using instead?
Also I have not tried with wooden molds before.
Sometimes, I also forget to add some important ingredient. I have made Rosemary crackers with no rosemary, and a pizza where the basil was the special ingredient, but forgetting to add it.
So, I understand you so well!!
But finally, this matcha cake seems delicious, and the preparations with the eggs sounds interesting. I have to try it!
The marble ones seems also really special!
Haha. The funny thing is I never even notice until I’m completely finished. And then I’ll look at it and be like “Oh no! This was supposed to be a ___ flavor!”
no oil? looks SO good!
Yes, I was surprised. But traditional castella cake doesn’t use any oil. You really can’t tell. It doesn’t taste “different” like you sometimes get with things that don’t use oil.
This looks just like the ones they sell in Japan!
Aw, thanks. I’ve been practicing on making it better. Unfortunately, I always have to cut off a lot of the edge pieces and a lot of pieces look uneven with my knife cutting skills. I only end up with a few really pretty ones. Actually even one of the ones in this photo is a little lopsided, you just can’t really see because it’s in the back. haha.