Katsutera — Japan (also known as “Castella”) from 14 Must-Try Decadent Cakes from Around the World (slideshow)

14 Must-Try Decadent Cakes from Around the World (slideshow)

Flickr/ Norio Nakayama
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Katsutera — Japan (also known as “Castella”)

Traditionally baked in wooden boxes by professional pastry makers, katsutera is a fine sponge cake created with honey and Aji Mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine), and raised only with egg foam (there’s no butter or oil). The result is a hyper-delicate cake with a nearly perfect crumb finish. Its origins can be tied to the Portuguese, who landed on the southernmost island of Kyushuu in the 16th century: Fittingly, Kyushuu has some of the finest kasutera makers, reflecting a strong Portuguese influence.