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    How To Make Castella Cake (Japanese Sponge Cake Recipe)-Japanese Taste

    How To Make Castella Cake (Japanese Sponge Cake Recipe)

    by Mana Sobral

    Dessert Wagashi Cake Mirin Egg Japanese Sweets Freezer Friendly Vegetarian

    Castella cake, a beloved Japanese dessert, has won over dessert enthusiasts worldwide. It's more than just a cake; it's a masterpiece of flavors and textures with a secret ingredient - mirin syrup.

    Now, let's explore the world of mirin syrup. This isn't your ordinary sweetener; it's a reduction of sweet rice wine that brings a unique sweetness and a subtle tangy twist to the cake. Mirin syrup adds depth and complexity to the cake's flavor profile, taking it to culinary excellence. But it doesn't stop there; it also plays a vital role in keeping the cake irresistibly moist.

    Mirin, created through rice fermentation, offers a milder sweetness compared to sugar, allowing the natural sweetness to shine through. In the realm of Castella cake, mirin enhances sweetness, introduces a distinctive flavor, and ensures the cake remains moist. The combination of sugar and alcohol in mirin contributes to its fluffy texture, making it a great addition to the recipe.

    As for the cake's brilliant color, it's all thanks to the egg yolks. Using dark-hued yolks can result in an even richer yellow tone, creating a visually pleasing and delicious cake.

    The journey of Castella cake to Japan dates back to the 16th century when Portuguese traders introduced sponge cake recipes. Over time, these recipes evolved to suit Japanese tastes, leading to the beloved Castella cake we know today.

    Whether you're enjoying a slice with tea, celebrating a special occasion, or simply treating yourself, Castella cake elevates the experience. Its simple yet essential ingredients - eggs, sugar, flour, olive oil, a touch of soy sauce, and mirin syrup - pay homage to pure flavors. This cake beautifully combines tradition and innovation, promising a delectable journey with every bite. It's not just dessert; it's a slice of history and a taste of pure joy.


    Prep time: 40 mins

    Cook time: 45 mins

    Total time: 1hr 25mins

    Total servings: 8

    Difficulty: Medium

    • 5 Egg Yolks
    • 4 Egg Whites
    • 100g White Sugar
    • 100ml Mirin
    • 100g All Purpose Flour
    • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
    • 1-2 Drops Soy Sauce

    Expert's Tip

    Fukumitsuya Junmai Hon Mirin 3 Years Traditionally Aged Sweet Rice Wine 720ml

    This mirin isn't just a typical Japanese pantry item; it's a sweet secret for your Castella cake and other desserts! Experience the unique, delightful sweetness it imparts. It also complements other confectionery surprisingly well. A dash of this mirin in your dorayaki or even traditional pancake batter can infuse a delicious Japanese flavor.


    castella cake ingredients lined loaf pan
    1) Gathering the Ingredients and Recipe Preparations

    Gather the ingredients together and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 

    Prepare the loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper.

    reducing mirin in a small pan reduced mirin syrup
    2) Making the Mirin Syrup

    Over medium heat, simmer the mirin in a small pot until it's reduced to half its original volume. When it cools down, it will have a syrupy consistency.

    Tip: If you reduce the mirin too much, it may solidify like candy when it cools. If this happens, don't worry; simply add a little water and reheat it.

    Adding the wet ingredients to a mixing bowl Mixing the wet ingredients in a stand mixer Adding the cooled mirin syrup Adding a few drops of soy sauce Adding olive oil into the batter
    3) Preparing the Egg Yolk Batter

    In a large bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to combine egg yolks and 50 grams of sugar until the mixture thickens. Once it's thick, introduce the cooled, reduced mirin and a few drops of soy sauce, and mix thoroughly. Gradually incorporate olive oil, ensuring a well-mixed cake batter.

    Adding white sugar to the egg whites mixing the eggwhites and sugar in a standmixer whipped egg whites at stiff peaks
    4) Whipping up the Egg White Mixture

    In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine the egg whites with 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar using a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Gradually add the rest of the sugar to the egg whites in 2-3 portions, beating until stiff peaks form.

    Adding the egg whites into the yolks Adding the flour Folding the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients Finished cake batter
    5) Incorporating the Dry Ingredients

    Start by adding ⅓ of the egg white mixture to the yolk mixture and thoroughly combine them. Then, incorporate the sifted flour and mix until fully blended. Finally, gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture in 2-3 portions, taking care not to overmix.

    Pouring the cake batter into the loaf pan swirling the cake with a chopstick bowl of warm water, to go into the oven alongside the cake
    6) Baking the Castella Cake

    Pour the batter into the loaf pan, giving it a gentle tap to eliminate any air bubbles. Use a chopstick to create a zigzag pattern in the batter (a useful tip for removing air bubbles). 

    Bake for 40-45 minutes, positioning a bowl of lukewarm water beside it. To check if the Castella is done, insert a toothpick or paring knife into the center; when it comes out clean, your Castella is ready to enjoy.

    Tip: The bowl of warm water remains beside the cake in the oven to help keep the cake moist. Without this, the cake may become too dry.

    Castella cake, after its finished baking greasing parchment paper with oil transferring the cake to the parchment paper in the cake pan castella cake cooling on the parchment paper
    7) Taking the Cake Out of the Oven & Resting It

    Once you remove the cake from the oven, gently tap the loaf pan twice from a distance of about 4 inches to prevent the cake from shrinking.

    Grease a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper with oil, place it on the cake's surface, and then flip the cake onto it to remove the loaf pan. Allow the cake to cool completely.

    Once the cake is cool, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for a minimum of 6 hours, or overnight.

    Tip: Freshly baked Castella is quite hot, and its texture and flavor have yet to fully settle. Allowing it to cool down and rest for a while is essential as it helps evenly distribute moisture and flavors inside, ultimately enhancing its deliciousness.

    Cutting the sides off of the castella cake Finished castella cake
    8) Shaping the Cake & Enjoying

    After allowing the Castella cake to rest for over 6 hours, carefully remove the plastic wrap and parchment paper. Use a bread knife to trim the cake's edges, and then slice it to your preferred thickness. Now, it's ready to enjoy!

    Tip: For clean and beautiful slices, moisten the bread knife before each cut.

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