Nagasaki Castella: A Classic Japanese Sponge Cake
Known as a traditional Japanese confection Wagashi, “Castella (カステラ)” is a fluffy sponge cake made from hen’s egg, wheat flour, sugar, and starch syrup.
As for the origin, there are 2 major theories and it is believed that the Japanese cake has its roots in either the Spanish baked confection “Bizcocho” or the Portuguese baked confection “pão de ló”.
The original form was transmitted from Portugal to Japan and the first Castella cake was made around 1600. By the way, it is generally said that the origin of the word “Castella (カステラ)” derives from the Portuguese pronunciation for the Kingdom of Castile “Castella”.
Nagasaki Castella (長崎カステラ)
Today, Castella sponge cakes can be seen everywhere in Japan and are widely enjoyed. Among those, the ones produced in Nagasaki are especially famous and called Nagasaki Castella. Compared to other Castella cakes, Nagasaki Castella has a luxurious feel and is a little pricey.
In the city of Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture, the Castella maker known as the originator of Nagasaki Castella that was founded in 1624, “Fukusaya (福砂屋)” (Google Map)’s Castella cake is a must-try.
As I mentioned above, the classic Japanese sponge cake, Castella is basically made from hen’s egg, wheat flour, sugar, and starch syrup, and comes in various flavors, which include milk, Matcha, honey, raw brown sugar called “Kokuto (黒糖)”, and chocolate.
By the way, in the photo above, the yellow one has a “Hachimitu (蜂蜜: honey)” flavor, while the green one has a “Matcha (抹茶: matcha green tea)” flavor.
In general, Nagasaki Castella is soft, fluffy, and somewhat moist as the sponge cake is made using carefully selected starch syrup. It is not overly sweet, rather has a satisfying refined sweetness.
Lastly, for those of you who are interested in the ingredients, here are the lists. According to that, the Hachimitsu-flavored Nagasaki Castella consists of hen’s egg, sugar, wheat flour, starch syrup, crystal sugar, and honey.
On the other hand, the ingredients in the Matcha-flavored Castella cake are hen’s egg, sugar, wheat flour, starch syrup, crystal sugar, Matcha green tea powder, and honey.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia カステラ )