Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Tuesday, 29th June 2010

School is out!  I look forward to this time of year, I get to spend more time with the kids, no schedules, time is our own or is it?  Matt (my son) completed his last exam yesterday and the celebration began, hooting and hollering, hands flaying out the car window and a car full of teenagers.  No sooner than getting in the car Matt started listing everything he had planned for the week, I needed to drive him here and I needed to pick him up there, “I’m off to the beach this weekend to celebrate my birthday”.  I guess the days of having them all to myself during the day are gone.  We had a quiet weekend,  I should have known it was the calm before the storm.

A photo of a loaf of Japanese Kasutera (Castella) sponge cake with a pink ribbon and a bowl of strawberries on a white napkin, placed on a pink placemat.

I took my weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market.  It was brimming with the freshest vegetables and fruit.  I came home with baskets of juicy, sweet strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.  I was excited to see peaches for the first time this year.

A photo of a bowl of strawberries on a white napkin placed on a pink placemat.

I thought to myself, “What should I make with all these beautiful pieces of fruit?” and I recalled a recipe that landed in my inbox a while back for Kasutera. Kasutera, also referred to as Castella is a popular Japanese sponge cake flavoured with honey. It’s not just any sponge cake, it is so light and fluffy and simply irresistible.  I read somewhere that it tastes better the next day but I have to say it was pretty darn good the first day.

A close up photo of Japanese Kasutera (Castella) sponge cake decorated with a pink ribbon on a pink placemat.

I am a big lover of crème pâtissière, I could eat a whole bowl on it’s own, it is so creamy and delicious.  I thought it would be nice to make Strawberry Shortcake using the Kasutera and layering it with crème pâtissière, fresh sliced strawberries and sweetened whipped cream.

A photo of a Japanese strawberry shortcake decorated with a strawberry and chocolate swirl on a pink plate placed on a pink placemat.

The cake was oh so soft, I realized pretty quick that cutting out rounds or squares would prove to be difficult, once cooled I wrapped it in parchment and placed it in a Ziploc bag and refrigerated it.

A photo of two Japanese strawberry shortcakes decorated with a strawberry and chocolate swirl and a chocolate star on pink plates placed on a pink placemat.

We had to wait a day for the shortcakes (still proved to be difficult when cutting the squares), didn’t look as beautiful as I’d like, but oh was the taste worth it.  The moist Kasutera, the creamy crème pâtissière, the light sweetened whipped cream and the sweetest strawberries all assembled together in one bite, sheer heaven!

A photo of a slice of Japanese kasutera (castella) sponge cake with warm berry compote and a quenelle of sweetened whipped cream on a red plate placed on a white napkin.

This is definitely a recipe you want to have in your collection.  The Kasutera would be beautiful in a summer berry trifle or served with a warm berry compote and sweetened whipped cream and of course simply on it’s own.

A photo of a slice of Japanese kasutera (castella) sponge cake decorated with strawberries on a blue plate placed on a pink placemat.

Castella or Kasutera

A photo of a Japanese strawberry shortcake decorated with sweetened whipped cream, a strawberry and a chocolate swirl on a pink plate placed on a pink placemat.

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Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Cakes & Cheesecakes, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Dolci al Cucchiaio, Dolci alla Frutta, Eggs, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Fruit Desserts, Mini Desserts, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Piccola Pasticceria, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Spoon Desserts, Torte

Comments (41)

41 Responses to “Japanese Kasutera (Castella), Strawberry Shortcake”

  1. The Cooking Ninja Says:

    Beautiful cake and I love Japanese sponge cake. When my poppet is on school holidays, her grandparents will take her along with them on vacation and we the parents get some time off to ourselves. LOL!

  2. Grace Says:

    Thank you Pamela, what a nice break for you, I used to love spending time with my Grandmother during summer holidays, what memories, I miss those times.

  3. Chris Says:

    This screams summer! Delish!

  4. Grace Says:

    It does, doesn’t it, I love it!

  5. Marly Says:

    What a beautiful summer dessert! It looks perfect for summer vacation recipes. We’ve been running around like crazy these last few days, but I had to stop by because, as always, I love your pics!

  6. Grace Says:

    Hey Marly, loved your banana ice cream, still can’t get over the fact you only used one ingredient, unbelievable! By the way Coco looks a lot like my Kisses.

  7. Martha Stewart's Tiny Cherry & Almond Tea Cakes | La Mia Vita Dolce Says:

    […]  Believe it or not I have restrained myself from eating the leftover crème pâtissière from the Japanese Strawberry Shortcake recipe I shared with you yesterday, it took everything in me to stop myself from devouring the […]

  8. Martha Stewart's Black Forest Cupcakes, Pastry Cream & Cherries | La Mia Vita Dolce Says:

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  10. Garnette Says:

    Just want to ask how big is the large loaf pan? =)

  11. Grace Says:

    I use the Wilton Loaf Pan 9.25 X 5.25 X 2.75 inches or in metric 23.5 X 13.3 X 6.99 cm. They are beautiful non stick pans.

  12. tcmaryf Says:

    I absolutely have to try this cake. The recipe is intriguing. Thnx

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  17. Amanda Says:

    I tried making this today, but I am not sure it is going to turn out. It is currently in the oven at 280 degrees F. I was confused by the directions. Was I supposed to beat the egg mixture or whisk it? My electric hand mixer only has beaters on it, so I whisked it by hand. The egg mixture was very frothy. I didn’t know if it was supposed to resemble meringue more than a bubbly, slightly thick mixture.

  18. Grace Says:

    Hi Amanda you should have the oven set at 360 degrees farenheit for the first 10 minutes and then you reduce to 280, you could whisk by hand but it would take longer, if your hand mixer only has beaters without the whisk attachment that would have been fine. You do need to increase the oven temp, it looks like you just left the message so I am hoping you will see this. I will email you as well.

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  20. cooking rookie Says:

    What a wonderful recipe! And it does not have any butter – amazing :-)

  21. Grace Says:

    That was the first thing I noticed when I first saw the recipe.

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  24. nipponnin Says:

    Very pretty dish! I made kasutera many times before and posted on my blog too. Kasutera is originated from my home town of Nagasaki. This recipe is slightly different than mine but also looks good and fancy!

  25. clara Says:

    I have a digital oven setting. do I take out the cake while the oven is resetting to a lower temperature?

  26. Grace Says:

    Hi Clara, you keep the cake in the oven just lower the setting. Hope you enjoy!

  27. chanel Says:

    Hi, I just made the recipe and the cake seems a little dense. the color looks right and the top of the cake looks right but it feels heavy. what do you think i did wrong?

    thank you,


  28. Grace Says:

    Chanel, Kasutera is tricky to make, from what I’ve read seasoned bakers can have a difficult time getting the texture right. It is really important to sift the flour nice and high to get a lot of air into the flour. It is important to warm the milk. And it’s very important to whisk the eggs until they are very pale and thick, this process can take up to 15 minutes or so.

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  41. Sonia Says:

    It’s such a shame…this is the third recipe I have found Chef Frank Helisek to have stolen the photo and recipe from you. :(

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