Orange Honey Cake

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Ever had a honey sponge cake (also known as a castella cake or kasutera) from an Asian bakery?  The kind that comes in small rectangular slices that you nibble at delicately so they last longer?  Interestingly, it was Portuguese merchants who first introduced this cake to Japan in the 16th century. (See Wikipedia for more on the history.)  This recipe from the (Chinese-language) World Journal captures the flavor very well, although I wouldn’t describe the texture as particularly spongy.  Still, it’s a fluffy, tasty cake, so I’m posting the recipe here in honor of Chinese New Year!

Orange Honey Cake
From World Journal

Yield: 9″ x 13″ cake

3/4 to 1 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you like your desserts
1 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 cup orange juice
2 1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease and flour a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon (if using) into a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, beat together sugar, honey, oil, eggs, orange peel, and orange juice.  Pour into flour mixture and beat together.
  4. Pour batter into pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
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