Castella cake (kasutera)
Prep 20min (+overnight chilling time)Bake 30minMakes 2 loaves
A specialty of the Nagasaki area in Japan, this wonderfully simple, honey-scented sponge cake was originally introduced by the Portuguese merchants in the 16th century, with its name originating from Pão de Castela meaning "bread from Castile". This cake defies sponge logic – strong bread flour gives it a "bouncy" texture, but it's still particularly moist and delicate, and becomes more so with time. Don’t be tempted to eat it straight from the oven (believe me, the heavenly honey aromas will tempt you!) – it needs to be wrapped while still warm and kept in the fridge overnight for its texture to be transformed.
- 6 eggs, at room temperature
- 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 115g (⅓ cup) honey
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 200g (1¼ cups) bread flour, sifted twice
- Butter and extra honey, to serve
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons warm water
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease two 9 x 19cm (base measurement) loaf pans with butter and line each with two strips of baking paper.
- Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the eggs until frothy. Add the sugar and whisk on medium speed for 6-8 minutes or until the mixture is very thick and pale, has increased by four times its volume and a ribbon trail forms when the whisk is lifted.
- Add the combined honey and water and whisk until just combined.
- Add a third of the twice-sifted bread flour to the egg mixture and whisk on low speed for about 15 seconds or until just combined. Add the remaining flour in two separate batches, whisking on low until just combined as with the first batch, and checking that no flour has been caught in the bottom of the bowl.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared tins. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean and the cakes will feel spongy when pressed in the center.
- To make the Honey Glaze, combine the honey and water in a small bowl and stir to combine. Brush the tops of the cakes with the Honey Glaze. Lay two pieces of plastic wrap large enough to wrap each cake on the bench top and turn the hot cakes out directly onto them. Wrap the cakes in the plastic wrap (this will help them retain their moisture), place on a tray, top side down, and put in the fridge, for at least 12 hours or overnight.
- Bring the cake to room temperature before serving in slices on its own or with butter and extra honey, if desired.
- This cake will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
This recipe is from Anneka's SBS Food online column, Bakeproof: Sponge Cake.
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Photography by Alan Benson.