Monday, February 7, 2011


The sweet history

IMGP2306One of the theories is that this very popular, sponge cake like sweet in Japan, was named after Castilla monarchy in Spain. Another one said that their official royal bread is kasutera but the royal bread is hard and not sweet and nothing like kasutera today. There are many other theories about introduction of kasutera also. Dutch, Spain, Portugal and China all have a claim for its origin. I don’t know why there are no accurate accounts. When Nagasaki was opened  for imports in 1571, the Japanese’s joyful acceptance of sugar grew and they developed kasutera into softer and sweeter taste.  The journey took 70 years to perfect though. At that time in Japan they didn’t have the practice to use dairy products so kasutera recipe requires no milk products and has had great staying power in Japan. As for the oven, they didn’t have one back then but they used hikigama (引き釜)with charcoal, this original Japanese equipment was very helpful. I’m glad nobody gave up making, changing and developing this into really wonderful treat. Ryoma Sakamoto (坂本竜馬)who led the movement to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate and the founder of the first modern corporation in Japan - kaientai (海援隊), wrote the kasutera recipe in his record of this corporation.That is more interesting than our cookbooks today, I think.

I have a few kasutera recipes but I choose this one because it doesn’t use milk and I think is similar to the recipe of Fukusaya (福砂屋 since 1624)the original kasutera maker in Nagasaki. And it’s the easiest. Wait a couple days to eat it for a moister version.

  • Eggs 8 at room temperature
  • Honey 5 tablespoons
  • Mirin 5 Tablespoons
  • Sugar 200g
  • Flour 240g
  1. In a electric mixer, put all eggs and beat at low speed for 1 minute.
  2. Add sugar and mix, starting at low speed then increasing to high speed for 5 minutes or until lifting up the beater leaves a ribbon mark.DSC_0020
  3. Mix honey and mirin in a small bowl and microwave for 30 second at 60% power
  4. Add honey mixture into egg mixture then at mix at low speed until well combined  - about 1 minute.
  5. Add flour and mix at low speed. Do not over mix - about 1 minute.DSC_0024
  6. Pour into a 9x9 pan lined with parchment paper that goes 2 inches over the pan.DSC_0025
  7. Tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to remove the air bubbles. DSC_0027
  8. Stir thru the batter several times with a skewer to help remove large air bubbles.DSC_0029
  9. Bake at 340 F for 10 minutes then lower the oven heat to 285 F for 40 to 45 minutes.
  10. When it’s done, remove from oven and drop pan from about a foot high ( that will prevent shrinkage).DSC_0032
  11. Stretch plastic wrap on the counter and turn the pan over on the wrap. Remove the kasutera from the pan and carefully remove the paper. Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap.DSC_0033
  12. Wait a couple days before eating for moist kasutera. Do not refrigerate as this will make the kasutera stick to the plastic.
  13. If you are used to the Japanese way, remove the edges. When serving the cake is left upside down.

Replace 4 tablespoons of the flour with 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder to make cocoa kasutera.


  1. I'd love to try this--do you wait for the cake to cool before you wrap it in plastic or do you wrap while still hot? Thank you!

  2. Susan,
    I wrap it while it's warm not right out of oven.
    You should also adjust for sweetness by adding sugar or less of it. Good luck! I could send you another kasutera recipe if you like?

  3. There's this guy in Honolulu named Akira who supposedly makes really amazing kasutera but the times we went by his shop there was a sign on the door that said "sorry closed. Go to Japan." I know he meant that he went to Japan, but it sounded like he was telling his customers to go to if his shop is closed that's the only other place to get authentic kasutera. Well now we can just make it ourselves. Yes! I still want to try the ones that Akira makes though.

  4. Jacob,
    I like to try Akira's kasutera too. In Summer, I love to eat with ice cream and strawberries. It's like eating Strawberry short cake but in better virsion.

  5. Hi
    I tried the recipe last night (haven't tasted it yet) but my mix didn't look as white as yours in the pictures. And my cake kinda came out flatter than yours. Any suggestions? I'm hoping it tastes just as good though...

  6. Carolyn,
    The photos were taken using artificial light so it may look a bit whiter than actual. It could be that the eggs you used had more yellow yolks. One other thing I thought of that may have also made yours a little more dense is the first beating of the eggs and sugar. Maybe my mixer speed is faster than yours? I hope the taste is still good for you. Sorry for delay in answered your question. I have been watching CNN a lot lately. I appreciate your comment. Let me know if you liked it.

  7. Just in case yours did not come out well here is another recipe.
    8 eggs
    1 and 1/2 cups sugar
    1/4 cup honey
    2 Table spoon corn syrup
    1 and 1/4 cup cake flour
    Line the pan 9x13x2 with parchment paper.
    Mix everything but the FLOUR in a electric mixer and beat at medium high for 5 minutes.
    Add the flour and continue to beat for 5 minutes more.
    Pour batter in the pan, bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degree.

    This is very good kasutera recipe but a bit too sticky and too sweet for me. I only use 1 cup of sugar but adjust for your taste.

  8. Thank you for the suggestion....mine didn't come out like a cake unfortunately..more like Mochi! Oh well will try again someday...thank u for the son liked your crispy skin chicken. I always read you and your daughter's blogs for new recipes. Aloha..carolyn

  9. Thank you for this site..
    My recipe that i've had for years..and is delicious is:
    5 eggs
    1/2 c honey
    3/4 c sugar
    1/2 c sifted flour
    confectioners' sugar for top when cooled
    preheat 350
    beat first 3 ingred until VERY thick
    add flour...beating well
    pour into greased 9x12 baking pan
    35 min or until cake tester comes out clean
    cool in the pan
    cut into strips, dust with sugar...
    wonderful !!!!!

    1. Thank you Ilonapet, I must try your recipe soon.