Matcha Castella Cake
Castella cake is a Japanese confectionary staple based on the Portuguese bolo de Castela (or cake from Castile). Originally brought to Nagasaki by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century, it has changed over time to be uniquely its own type of wagashi (or traditional Japanese sweet). Castella is classified as a sponge cake with just four ingredients: eggs, sugar, mizuame and flour. Mizuame is a malt sweetener that gives the cake its distinctive sheen. The cake is typically baked in rectangular pans and served in thick slices, with its signature color being a deep yellow from the inclusion of egg yolks. The addition of matcha powder adds color and an earthy, sweet nutty flavor. Often, the cake is served with trimmed sides, but you can skip that step if you prefer. There is also a Taiwanese adaption of castella cake that is more fluffy and spongy, versus the firm-yet-moist version from Japan. It typically calls for egg whites to be whipped, then folded into the base, whereas most Japanese castella recipes will call for whole eggs to be whipped before adding the other ingredients.