Pictured here is one of Yusuke’s Christmas gifts: a castella cake sent all the way from Japan. I bravely, or perhaps recklessly, ordered it from a Japanese website (Rakuten). It’s one of his all-time favourite sweets, so I didn’t want to risk some western imitation.

The site generates English-Japanese translations on the fly for product pages, but automatic translations certainly have their limits. The order confirmations were in Japanese only, so I had to rely on Google translate to get the jist. Fortunately, the sweets arrived in tact, on time, and without unexpected shipping charges.

If I recall correctly, I ordered this castella made from special eggs in Nagoya. I quote: “Well enjoy the flavor of eggs, soft sponge cake! Thick dark yolk egg “Nagoya Cochin” and speak out in secret with plenty of grilled honey ~ ~ Ri, a masterpiece of moist! Hermitage is a specialty.” Indeed, “Those who are happy to have lent important. Nagoya Cochin eggs candy gift. Filled eggs taste good with fabric gift.” You can’t get a better testimonial than that.

Castella, clearly, is not a Japanese word. It comes from the Portguese name for this particular type of cake from Castile in Spain. Yup. It’s sort of like a pound cake but much lighter. It’s not very sweet at all and the perfect accompaniment is green tea. It seems to be usually translated as “sponge cake.” This is one of the many foreign foods that has been adopted and become quintessentially Japanese.


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