If macarons are the finicky, pain-in-the-butt to make cookies, then castellas are the macaron-equivalent of a cake. At first glance, castellas don’t look super difficult. It’s a loaf cake. What can be so hard about it? Well, the hardest part is keeping the shape once it’s out of the oven. A lot of times, castellas will sink in the middle and create this dip in the center. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still crazy delicious, but it just doesn’t look as nice.
The tricky thing about castella is that the only rising agent is eggs. That’s right, there’s no baking powder, baking soda, nada. Additionally, there aren’t a lot of flour in the cake mixture, so whipping the eggs to the correct stages is absolutely crucial to ensure the perfect castella.
I have such fond memories of castella (my family calls them honey cakes). My mom would always buy one from the Asian grocery store when we were growing up. Since we don’t really like overly sweet desserts in my household, this was the perfect amount of sweetness. And the best part is it only uses 5 ingredients – that you probably already have at home.
Castella (Honey Cake)
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tb honey
- 1 Tb water
- 3/4 cup bread flour, sifted
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a stand mixer, whisk eggs on high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy, slowly add granulated sugar. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick and pale.
- Stir together the honey and water. Microwave in 10-second intervals until the honey is easily pourable. Pour honey into the egg mixture with the mixer running. Continue mixing for another 2 minutes.
- In 2 parts, slowly shake in the bread flour. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the flour into the egg mixture. Be sure to not overmix.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then lower oven to 300°F and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove cake from the oven and tap the loaf pan on the counter to prevent it from sinking. Turn cake upside down and transfer to an airtight container (or wrap in plastic wrap). Refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours.
- Using a serrated knife, cut the sides off of the cake before serving.