What is Castella? Born in Portugal and raised in Japan

What is Castella? Born in Portugal and raised in Japan

Do you know Japanese sweets, Castella? It is spongy-like popular Japanese cake that has characteristics of a Western sweets.(・ε・`o)

Related post: top 10 popular japanese sweets (wagashi) that japanese like the most!

Castella has unique history in Japan. Let’s learn them together!


What is Castella?

Castella is a slightly sweet sponge cake baked with flour, eggs, milk, sugar and so on. Typically, it is yellow in the center and golden brown above and below. The brown part on the base contains large-grained sugar called “zarame”, and within the fluffy dough there is a crispy texture and caramel-like flavor from zarame.

Castella is different from other Japanese sweets in that it uses wheat flour, milk, and other ingredients not usually used in Japanese sweets. (However, the fats such as butter used in ordinary western confectionery are not used for Castella.) This is because Castella is a sweet that was brought from Portugal long time ago, but developed in its own way in Japan.



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History of Castella

There are different theories about the history of Castella. One popular version says, that Castella have originated as the Portuguese bread called “Pão-de-ló ” and came to Japan during the Muromachi Period (13th-16th centuries).



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Despite having arrived from a foreign country, Castella is regarded as a Japanese sweet, because the term “yogashi”(Western sweets) refers to the sweets that have come to Japan since the 19th century Meiji Period. In addition, Castella has developed in its own way and has become something different to what originally arrived from Portugal.


What drink is good with Castella? Milk, no doubt.

Since it is spongy and has rich and sweet egg flavor, you may think the best drinks that go with Castella are coffee or tea. Just like regular cake, right? Actually, I highly recommend you to enjoy it with a cup of milk! Most of Japanese people like this combination more. Don’t know why, but Castella and milk go really well together! Please give it a shot!



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Where can I buy Castella?

I think you can find Castella at Asian market or Japanese grocery stores if you are outside of Japan. If you are in Japan, you can find Castella basically anywhere, including grocery and convenience stores. Also, there are many stores specialized in Castella!


Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

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