Jul 8, 2018
I’ve loved castella cake ever since I first had it. Funny enough, I never tried it as a kid growing up in Japan, but I had my first cake from a Japanese expat who ran a bakery in Hawaii when I was living there. Ever since then, I was hooked, so when I came back to Japan, Castella cake became a routine shopping item for the family.
At this point, I’ve had castella cake from almost 40 prefectures, and I had to agree with most Japanese who said that Nagasaki castella was the best. After all, Nagasaki is the home of castella cake, and it’s where the famous Fukusa-ya castella cake is made. And yes, Fukusa-ya castella is delicious, but then my wife brought me home a gift from Shimane prefecture.
Not a lot people live in Shimane or travel there (it’s the second least populous prefecture in Japan after Tottori), but my family learned that being the smallest (and often most forgotten) prefecture didn’t stop the residents from mastering their respective crafts.
My wife got to see that first hand, and I learned it through the gift she brought for me:
Gold Castella Cake from Saneido Bakery in Matsue City
I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical--I figured it would be just like all the other castella cakes you can get throughout the country, but as soon as I sliced a few pieces, I knew it would be different.
First of all, it didn’t have excess sugar crystallized on the outside. Some people like that, but I find those castella cakes to be overly sweet.
Second, Gold castella was moist but still fluffy. Lots of castella cakes either end up dry and flaky or overly dense. Not this one.
Then I tasted it--so good! I couldn’t believe that some small bakery from Shimane would manage it, but it was definitely the best castella cake I’ve ever tasted.
If you’re interested in trying it, you’ll have to head down to Shimane. Fortunately, you don’t need to go directly to the Saneido bakery in Matsue, as the cake is sold in gift shops throughout the prefecture. You can pick up a sing cake for 1500 yen, or a half portion for 750 yen.
Do you have a favorite castella cake? I'm always looking for great options, so feel free to use the comments section below!
Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.
Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).