Castella is a popular spongecake like bread in Korea. It was originally brought to Japan in the 16th century from Portuguese and the popularity has since then spread to Korea. It has a darkened top and bottom but a light and sponge-y center. I didn’t grow up eating this cake but have enjoyed it recently after learning that my grandfather in Korea was a big fan. Since our grandparents lived in Korea and our family was in the US I did not get to see him very often. The most recent time I visited Korea, my mom let me know my grandfather really enjoyed castella cakes so I happily visited him with boxes of castella in my hands in green tea and the original honey flavor.
I’ve recently forgotten about these desserts but was really intrigued by a instagram post of a sweet cream filled castella from Starbucks. I went about my research to find a good cake and found one on YouTube which I’ve really enjoyed. The recipe itself is slightly different from the traditional Japanese castella recipes which usually uses bread flour and are baked in wood frames but nonetheless results in a beautifully delicious cake. The cake was darkened at the edges with a airy and light center. The addition of the whipped cream filling makes for a perfect combination of flavors for your tongue! I baked a 6 inch version and my husband and I finished it all in one sitting in front of the TV. The perfect to an evening.
Ingredients for 6 inch cake (double for 9 inch spring pan)
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp (75 g) cake flour (sifted once through)
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup (68 g) sugar (divided; 34 g and 34 g)
- 1.5 Tbsp milk
- 3/4 Tbsp white wine
- 1.5 Tbsp honey
- 1/16 t salt
Ingredients for cream
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk or 1 Tbsp granulated white sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Separate the egg whites and the yolk. Place into separate medium sized bowls. Add in equal amounts of sugar into each bowl.
2. Whip the egg whites and sugar together until stiff peaks form.
3. Whip the yolks and sugar together until ivory. In a separate small bowl mix together the white wine, milk, honey and salt. Add this mixture into the yolk and sugar bowl just until combined. Add half of the egg white mixture into the yolk bowl. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix! Sift in the cake flour (second time sifting). Mix again until just combined moving the spatula in circles. Add in the last half of the egg white mixture into the yolk bowl and mix until just combined.
4. Optional: You can add wax or parchment paper around the edges but I found it to be more work than required. You can simply just lightly oil your spring form pan. If you’re using a low wall cake pan, then you will want to add in the parchment paper for higher walls.
5. Pour in the mixture into the prepared pan. Pound the pan on a flat surface 2-3 times so the air from the batter is released.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees F and then lower the oven to 320 degrees F and bake for another 22-28 minutes depending on your oven. Once the top is browned, take out the cake and cool to room temperature.
7. While your cake is baking, using a hand or stand mixer, in a medium sized bowl add the heavy cream, vanilla extract, sugar/or condensed milk and whisk until stiff peaks form. Tip: This is easier if all the ingredients and tools are chilled cold.
8. Using a piping bag, pipe in the whipped cream into the castella cake and top off the cake with some powered sugar.
(don’t mind the really ugly piping – it will be covered by the powered sugar!)
Update: 11/23 – made this again and again and a few updates…
1. A lot easier if you just cut the castella cake in half, fill with the whipped cream and lay the top layer on top.
2. Upped the whipping cream amounts in general. Piping – I had a lot left over but I think it’s because I didn’t do a good job piping. Now that I did a full layer, more cream was needed – already reflected in the recipe so no need to redo calculations.
DELICIOUS. Hope you enjoy!