Recipe: Castella Pancake

Clearly I thought I hadn’t tortured my right arm enough – here’s another fluffy pancake variation from Japan!

The Castella Pancake appeared in a TV drama called Kodoku no Gurume (孤独のグルメ, or “Solitary Gourmet”), which is a reproduction of the original manga. The main character, a middle-aged business man, discovers all sorts of local eateries and dishes (btw which all exists IRL) during his business trips around Japan. This pancake, by a cafe called Comma, Coffee, rose in popularity after the episode aired (Season 8 Episode 4) and many people had recreated it.

A castella cake is a type of Wagashi (Japanese sweet), a specialty of the city of Nagasaki. It was brought to Japan by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century, and developed into this delicate, honey-flavoured sponge cake of today.

The pancake version itself is pretty similar to a souffle pancake, except that it is baked in the oven on a skillet. (And it also deflated very quickly, hence the lack of photos.) The original cafe serves the pancake with a large slab of butter, icing sugar and maple syrup, but of course you can add other toppings to your heart’s desire!

Castella Pancake
Makes a 6 inch pancake
2 eggs
15ml honey
40ml milk
40g plain flour
2g baking powder
30g caster sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Separate the eggs. Place the egg whites into a large mixing bowl and chill in the fridge.
  3. Add honey and milk to the egg yolks and whisk until well mixed. Sift in flour and baking powder and mix.
  4. Using a clean whisk, whisk the egg whites until pale and frothy. Add 1/3 of the sugar at a time and continue whisking until medium stiff peaks.
  5. Add 1/3 of the meringue to the egg yolk mixture and fold. Then return all the mixture into the egg whites and fold. 
  6. Pour the batter onto the skillet and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the oven for 10 mins, then take it out and cut a cross at the top with a small knife. Return to the oven and bake for another 8 mins until well-risen and golden brown on top.
  7. Serve immediately with butter, icing sugar and syrup.

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