Matcha castella is one of my all-time favorite Japanese desserts and I’m so excited to share this recipe today! This fluffy sponge cake has such a unique taste and texture that I can’t get enough of...and it’s also got some health benefits!
Japan literally has the best desserts EVER so it’s a pretty bold statement to say that castella is among the top. However, I have no doubt about it.
If you saw the title and thought “oh it’s just a sponge cake” then please know that this is not your ordinary sponge cake. Castella has such a unique flavor and texture that I just can’t get enough of.
Plus, it’s matcha flavored! Can you ever go wrong with matcha??
I knew this cake was good but I’ll admit I was surprised when the entire thing was GONE within 2 hours...😳
This isn’t the easiest cake to make but I promise it’s not too hard! Although you could skip down to the recipe, I highly recommend sticking around because I’ll be showing you the exact process and tips along the way!
Plus, I’ll be sharing a pretty amazing discount code for my favorite authentic matcha powder, so make sure you don’t miss that!
If you’re in a hurry now, you can click here to save this recipe on Pinterest so you can always come back to it!📌
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What Sets Castella Apart from Ordinary Sponge Cakes
Castella cake is a sponge cake mostly comprised of eggs. Most of the structure comes from whipping the egg whites—there’s only a small amount of flour!
The egg whites are also the main leavening agent, so no baking powder, baking soda, or vinegar!
The traditional recipe includes no butter or oil...that wasn’t just a healthy adaptation by me! The egg yolks, along with a little oat milk, actually provide plenty of richness and moisture.
Castella cakes are slightly finer and more compact than a regular sponge cake (but not dense at all!) There’s also that golden brown crust that is absolutely to die for🤩
Ugh, writing about this cake is making me crave it sooo bad😫 I gotta bake another one this weekend...and maybe double it😅
While the matcha powder adds an additional Japanese touch, the classic version also has plenty of flavor on its own. I’ve made honey castella (this recipe minus matcha powder) so many times! But I still recommend adding the matcha; it’s sooo worth it😍🍵
Ingredients in Matcha Castella
The most important ingredient here is the eggs! The whites hold the structure and make it fluffy, while the yolks add flavor and richness.
It is essential that the eggs are at room temperature, not cold! Room temperature eggs will whip up a lot more and incorporate more air. You'll want to beat them until stiff peaks form, which can only happen with the help of sugar!
Usually I would say you can substitute any granulated sweetener for cane sugar, but unfortunately I can't say here since eggs respond differently to each sugar. You can definitely try to use something like coconut sugar at your own risk, just know I can't confirm it will work (coconut sugar is a little denser than cane sugar).
There's also a bit of honey, for flavor and texture. Like the sugar, I would not recommend substituting maple syrup, since they don't behave the same way. However, if it's what your diet demands, you can try.
Then there's the flour--white whole wheat here! It's not only healthier and higher in fiber than white flour, it's actually better for castella's compact texture! I get my white whole wheat flour here (do not use regular whole wheat!), but you can also use regular bread flour.
And finally, I did add a tablespoon of mirin for extra flavor, but it's optional. 🙂
Matcha powder gets it's own section😝
Choosing the Highest Quality Matcha Powder
Matcha powder is originally from Japan, but there are many imitations and cheap versions sold around the world. Unfortunately, the difference is pretty noticeable and the cheaper ones don't taste all that great 🙁
So, I was extremely happy when I found this matcha powder—it's grown right by Mt. Fuji, Japan, and is truly authentic. The flavor is bold and high-quality and 110% worth spending a little extra money. I promise 😉
Oh yeah, you can also get 10% off your order when you use this link and my code NDELIGHTS10 (it also works on all other products from their website!). Just be sure to order before December 31, 2020 because that's when the offer expires.
There's tons of other recipes you can make with matcha powder too! Some of my favorites are Vegan Matcha Chocolate Rolls, Healthy Matcha Spinach Muffins, Vegan Matcha Almond Cookies, and Gluten Free Matcha Pancakes. I also love adding it to my oatmeal!
In addition to the incredible taste, matcha powder also offers a wide variety of health benefits. It's most known for it's high antioxidant content, especially catechins which can help prevent chronic disease. It also gives you a boost of energy from the caffeine, but without the crash that you would get from most caffeinated drinks.
I really hope you like this recipe! If you decide to make it, be sure to post a picture/story and tag me @nutritiousdelights on Instagram--I'd love to see!💗
More recipes you might love:
Matcha Castella (Japanese Sponge Cake)
- 4 large room temperature eggs separated
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ cup + 1 teaspoon cane sugar divided
- ¾ cup white whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons matcha powder see notes
- 2 tablespoons warm oat milk or any milk
- 1 tablespoon mirin optional
- In a stand mixer (hand mixer also works, but your arm will get tired), beat the room temperature egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add the remaining cane sugar until the eggs form stiff peaks.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Turn down the speed to low and slowly incorporate the flour mixture. Once that's fully mixed in, add the honey + milk mixture. Make sure everything is fully combined but do not over mix.
- Strain the batter into the prepared pan using a sifter, to remove bubbles. Then slam the pan on a countertop a few times to further remove air bubbles--this is so it rises evenly.
- In a separate loaf pan, fill ¼ of the way with hot water. Place both loaf pans in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes--this depends on your oven. Flip halfway.
- Once it's done baking, let it cool at room temperature, preferably overnight. This gives it a better texture. You can cut off the sides before slicing for the traditional look, or just slice like a regular loaf cake. Enjoy!