You must think me mad.  I know.  I’d think the same thing if I were you, entertained in front the computer witnessing the mental meltdown of this blogger who’s rocking back and forth, murmuring about what’s obviously a tragic kitchen disaster… if only to herself.  Maybe that happens sometimes… just maybe.  But not this time.  I know what this must look like.  A melting cake?  A tragically deflated sponge cake that’s foaming uncontrollably in its mouth?  Oh shit it’s an epileptic cake!  Go ahead, mock it, have a good one.  Then I want you to quiet down, sit in a circle hand-in-hand like tiny eager pre-schoolers and braise yourself for an unexpected cake that will.  Change.  Your.  World.

Ready?  It’s Japanese.

(or, as a reader newly pointed out, Portuguese as well)


While the world is sidetracked by other louder occupations taking places… say that crazy pudding over that peninsula, or cronuts over New York, the eastern part of Asia is quietly under some kind of Japanese invasion.  Only this time, a completely voluntary surrender.  They call it the concave kasutera (custard) and it’s swarming this land unchallenged.  You’d think how is that possible?  A sensible region going wild over an imploding sponge cake so deformed beyond help?  Have we no senses?  But, seriously!  I’m not lying it’s everywhere!  I have proof of its absolute takeover on this side of the planet!  Here, see!  Everywhere!  And if you think that it’s nothing but an undercooked sponge cake, you are absolutely right!  A testimony that greatness can be achieved purely by saying, SO WHAT?  A sponge cake that is so almost-flourless and airy that it implodes the second it comes out of the oven.  SO WHAT?  Better yet, let’s even push it more gloriously wrong by under-cooking the hell out of it so it stays runny in the center.  Yeah, SO WHAT?  It breaks rules but it definitely isn’t wrong.

Think this cake is like those people who said fuck Harvard then went on to make billions…

Or… so I’ve heard.  Ultimately, legends are just legends.  Is it really all that?  After running into it left and right for about a year now, I finally decided to conduct my own test.  My question is this.  Pure and simple.  Can it achieve beyond the perceivable expectation of a simple sponge cake?

imploding-honey-cake06 imploding-honey-cake08

Answer, is yes.

How much?  In the most direct and relatable way that I know how, I’ll explain by saying this.  I hate pimples.

I hate pimples so much, I’d willingly stay in this hell-hole for another four three two years if it means I can have the next few years pimple-free.  I hate pimples so much, that when I was told like some kind of sick joke that my body is “intolerant” to eggs – one of my most beloved things to eat – in a way that it grows pimples on my even-more-beloved face, I stopped touching eggs cold turkey-style.  Stopped.  Stone cold.  Cock-blocked!  For threeee years now, I haven’t had anything more than a lick off of the yolk stains on Jason’s fork.  Threeee years.  That’s how much I hate pimples.  Nothing tastes as great as pimple hurts.

But the day I made these eggs-exuberant cakes (yes, “these”.  I made four!), I found myself limping by the slippery cliff of the kitchen counter, stuffing my allergic face with this eggs and honey-explosion like it’s no pimple’s business.  I first thought I’d have one bite… then ok maybe another… then my brain and body disconnected.  And then it was too late.  Do I regret it?  Well yeah sort of, I’ll be honest.  I now stand here talking to you a lot less prettier than a few days ago.  But would I do it again?  Fuck yeah.  You see what I mean?


And it’s easy.  Sooo EASY.  Ridiculously straight-forward with absurdly few ingredients that assembles in under 30 minutes!  Its entire existence is so brainlessly simple but remarkably delicious, that it’s practically an insult to the other cakes that are making noises about butter and creaming-till-death-do-us-apart… then more buttermilk… and then more buttered cream!  NO!  None of that stuff!  No butter whatsoever in fact, it’s almost a three-ingredients-cake that sauces itself, and at this point you say pffff~ what’s the big deal it’s a lava cake.

No, no it isn’t!

It’s impossibly light and weightless.  Instead of a thick river of slow-moving lava from the sinful fallen-world (which I have no problem with), this cake has the incredibly airy texture of whipped milk… from a sleeping… angelic… cow.  You know what I mean.  The surrounding edges and bottom of the cake is a sponge-like cradle, holding up a middle layer of gooey and thick honey custard with a gradually thinning and runny basin of sweet foam in the center.  It’s so soft, a lightest touch of a finger will make a dent, and it goes down like a whiff of air.  The only left-behind trace of you ever encountering it, is the lingering flower-essence of the honey, and aroma of sweet eggs on your taste buds.

I know you have all the ingredients and 30 minutes.  Even the least stocked pantry has these ingredients, and the most important life could use a 30 min-pause.  Make it.  You’ll see what I mean.


Makes: One 6″ cake

The flavour of the cake is as good as the quality of the eggs and honey that you use (well, eggs and honey being almost the only 2 ingredients in it…).  So none of that bear-bottle stuff, please.  Use a pure, floral, dark and fragrant honey that tastes and smells like the flowers it came from.  The honey itself will provide enough sweetness for a mildly sweet cake, but for people who wants more sweetness, the optional powdered sugar will do the job.  Besides good quality, it’s also important to use room-temperature eggs.  The batter should be slightly warm, not cold, before going into the oven.  Then, last but not least, even though the flour may seem to take insignificant ratio in the batter, it’s well advised to use cake/low-protein flour VS all-purpose.  In my experience, it takes some considerable whisking in order to completely incorporate the flour into the batter without any lumps, and you don’t want the excess gluten in all-purpose flour to ruin the party.

The batter will make a taller 6″ cake, or a shallower 7″ cake.  I haven’t tried using rectangular loaf-pan but perhaps that’ll work, too.  Whatever pan you’re using, the key to success is: butter and flour the interior of the pan really really, really well.  Because this cake’ll stick.  It’ll even stick to parchment paper!  So if you want to lay a circle-sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of the cake-pan for easy transferring (like I did), butter and flour that parchment as well!

Ingredients: adapted from many recipes combined

  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp (16 grams) of powdered sugar, optional
  • 1/4 cup (87 grams) of high-quality honey
  • 4 1/2 tbsp (35 grams) of cake flour

Preheat the oven on 355ºF/180ºC.

In a stand-mixer bowl with a whisk-attachment (or large bowl with handheld mixer), whisk large egg yolks, large eggs and powdered sugar (optional) just until combined, then pause.  Heat up honey in a pot over medium-low heat until it starts to simmer, then continue to let it bubble and simmer for 2 minutes (to heat up the custard and also to reduce the moisture-level slightly).  Turn the stand-mixer back on medium-high speed, then slowly pour the hot honey from the side of the bowl into the eggs with the machine running.  Keep whisking the eggs and honey mixture on medium-high speed until the it becomes pale and thick, almost doubled in size.  The correct texture of the batter is important.  You should whisk just until the batter starts to leave obvious “ribbons” behind the whisk.  Now, tap the bowl on the counter and use a spatula to fold the batter a few times to get rid of large air-bubbles.  Sift the cake flour right into the bowl, then whisk on low-speed until the flour is completely and smoothly incorporated (scrape the bottom of the bowl if need be).

Butter and flour the interior of the cake-pan then dust off excess flour.  Pour the batter into the pan, then gently tap it a few times again to eliminate large air-bubbles.  Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 15 ~ 16 min.  Even 1 minute will make a big difference (as some people like it runnier than others, see below)!  And since every oven is sort of different, you’ll need to judge the baking-time accordingly.  How I check is I gently shake the pan, and the center of the cake should wobble!  If it doesn’t, it’s already over-baked.

Let the cake cool inside the pan on a cooling-rack for at least 30 min.  The cake will be puffy at first then of course it’ll deflate.  Good.  As it should.

This cake is great while it’s slightly warm, or at room-temperature, or believe it, even when it’s cold (perhaps better…)!  Oh God I’m gonna another pimple…

imploding-honey-cake-featured imploding-honey-cake-featured2



  • OMG, do you know you just made one of the most delicious traditional Portuguese sweets ever? I was really surprised by seeing such a familiar image on your blog. We call it “Pão de Ló de Ovar” and it’s actually an Easter sweet. There are so many influences from Portuguese cuisine in Japan and vice-versa, it’s surprising :)

    • DANIELA, oh I’m sure the Japanese got their inspiration from Portugal. I googled the Portuguese version and the biggest difference, which is a significant one, is that the traditional Portuguese cake uses white sugar VS the Japanese cake uses honey. I would argue that the honey makes a considerable difference in texture and taste. Try it! I think you’ll love this one!

      • I agree with you, it is a significant difference. It made me curious, maybe this Easter I’ll try this version instead, sounds delicious. Traditional Portuguese sweets are almost exclusively made of yolks and sugar, that’s how healthy it gets, really. But I mean, I’m living in Germany now and craving almost every day for a 2 dozen yolk almost impossible to reproduce at home sweet :(

        Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe, I was really excited to discover there’a a Japanese Pão de Ló de Ovar!

  • I am so angry right now. Like, I’ve trawled through, I think, all of your recipes, enjoying your candour, amazingly funny observations, ridiculously explicit and gratuitous food photos, and being impressed at the curious and exacting palate which results in such an interesting range of recipes.

    I’ve already made several of your recipes, sighing with pleasure through the making and the eating (you make it so easy to have very good food!), and now you do this. WHAT. GOOEY HONEY CAKE. WHAT. HOW COULD YOU.

    Okay, I am going to go out and buy some ingredients now.

  • NO EGGS?! I tore myself away from staring/drooling over these pictures to express my horror. Noooooooooo egggggssss :(:(:(:( I just got depressed just thinking about it. If anything is worth breaking your embargo (eggbargo? embeggo?) though, it must be this. This looks utterly mesmerizing. Hope you’re healing up okay, Mandy :(

    P.S. Your use of “cock-blocked” has got to be the cleverest pun I’ve seen in years.

  • Damn this is legit! and that last picture is giving me so many good feelings.. that sounds strange but is the only way to describe it.

  • Whoa. This looks like the best. (gooiest.) castella. ever. And your photos are stunning!

    (Also, I agree with Cynthia—no eggs is pretty tragic! I’m glad you took to sneaking some anyway sometimes… pimples be damned!)

  • Mandy, you are so talented. I wish I could come up with something really witty to post in response to this blog, but, alas, I am too much of an idiot. You make me laugh out loud. Not many people do. especially food bloggers. if you are ever in kentucky, I will hook you up! now get back to your keyboard and keep entertaining me!

  • Oh Mandy,

    I’m sooo sorry about the egg allergy! I remember reading it not long ago in a different recipe comment section. I thought “How terrible, allergic to EGGS!” You poor baby.

    I will make this cake, this weekend. I raise chickens for eggs and they are fantastic and I just bought two big jars of delicious Tupelo honey (the only honey that will not crystallize). I don’t think the ingredients could get any better.

    I hate pimples, too, so I totally understand your hesitation about eating eggs. I couldn’t believe it, but the other day someone told me that she didn’t like eggs. I was dumbfounded! I have never heard of that! I didn’t know how to respond!!!

    This world is just so unfair sometimes. Why couldn’t SHE be allergic to eggs???

  • I’m one of those people who subscribe to food magazines, read food blogs, own tons of cookbooks, but *very* rarely make anything from them. I just love looking at the photos and throw imaginary fancy dinners in my shiny, ginormous (and imaginary) kitchen surrounded by my friends and loved ones. But this weekend, I’m ditching all plans and making not one, not two, but three dishes from your blog. Starting with this cake…

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • The pictures remind me a lot of clafouti. You should try making one of those if you haven’t already. Clafouti is bit like a custard/souffle love child (a bastard, if you will). It too uses a lot of eggs (well, maybe you should just try a little), and a tincture of flour. But what is better is that you drop in some good fruit, like berries, apples, pears, peaches, really whatever is in season, and when it is done you get that delicious fruit syrup, along with the egg-y, custard-y center, and the edges which are light and airy.

    • David, hahaaaaa the funny thing is I was avoiding making clafouti before because it has too much eggs in it and now this!! But now I will certainly give it a try… If only for other ppl to enjoy… Sigh…

    • JUDY, znfu? You mean is cake flour, self raising flour? NO it’s not. It’s a low-protein flour suitable for making cakes that don’t need too much gluten, so that they stay soft. I not sure if “eggy” is a bad thing… but it doesn’t taste like scrambled eggs or anything.

        • JUDY, not that you have a gluten prb but too much gluten will make the cake “tough”. Look for “cake flour” at the where all the flours at in your supermarket and you should find it. Or type “cake flour” on There are a lot.

        • It’s called cake flour. It’s neither all-purpose flour nor self-raising flour. It’s cake flour. She’s not saying to use it if you have a gluten problem, she’s saying this cake needs cake flour because it has less gluten than regular flour.

  • So question. Is there any way one could make this gluten free?
    Coconut flour?
    Almond flour?
    What do you think?

    It look sooo good. I might just have to suffer my allergy systems. :o.

  • OMG. Why are these cakes not invading over Southern California??? We have lots of Asian cultural food trends, here! Haha. Also, I would like 5.

    And, I had no idea that there was an egg allergy??? What? That could explain my own breakout. -__-‘

    But, anyhoo, I WANT THIS!!!

  • Is there a way to print these recipes? I don’t see a print button but I could be overlooking it :)

  • Haha hi!:) I just happened to come across this recipe and it looks so amazing and delicious! Best of all is the simple ingredients!:D but I was wondering if it’ll be possible to make these into muffin form? So instead of one big cake, can I split the batter into multiple muffins? Will the baking time and temperature have to change? Thanks!:D

  • So I made this tonight and at 10 minutes the middle was already to firm. The only pan I had was a 9 inch spring form pan, do you think this could be the problem?

    • RAINI, yes! Definitely! Because I used a 6″ pan which makes a MUCH DEEPER cake. With a 9″ pan, you’ll have a shallow pool of batter that bakes way FASTER. Someone asked me if she could use muffin pan and bake at a higher temperature (maybe 400F?) for shorter time (maybe 10 min?). Maybe you can try that.

      • Thanks Mandy! I was afraid of that when I looked at my pan but it was too late and the batter was made. It had great flavor! I am on a mission to find a 6″ pan!! I appreciate your fast responses, your wonderful :)

    • Just did the same thing as you. Saw your comment it time to avert total disaster but still going for the firmer version here.

  • Agreed. The bigger sized pan (9″ here ) means you need a shorter baking time. 12 min was too long for me…and I suspect closer to 8-9 is ideal.

  • Ahaha I love it! Must make indeed :) Though I need to check out if I can get cake flour (as I live in Spain and I can’t take these things for granted). If not, is it just regular flour with baking powder?

    • SOFIA: No, you’re describing “self-rising” flour. Cake flour is just pure flour with LESS PROTEIN so that it forms less gluten with the wet ingredient, and therefore gives you a softer cake. If you really can’t find it, use all-purpose instead.

      • Since a few people have commented on cake flour: you won’t be able to find it in Europe as it’s made by bleaching wheat flour with chlorine, which the European Union bans. The most significant difference cake flour makes is that it can stabilise a cake with much more sugar in it; if the weight of sugar is greater than the weight of flour then the cake may not work without cake flour.
        That cake does look delicious though, and your photography is great!

        • I’ve found that if I don’t have cake flour, I can use cornstarch to stall the development of gluten. Basically you take a cup of all purpose flour, take out two tablespoons and replace them with cornstarch. Then just shake and SIFT over and over again to get the cornstarch fully distributed throughout the flour.

          I don’t know if cornstarch will be any easier to find in Spain/Israel but good luck!!

    • @Sophia
      You have the same problem as I do. I live in Israel and probably get less stuff than you do.
      It’s very annoying.

  • Hey! I am making this cake tonight for a friend’s birthday. He’s a foodie and loves Japanese food (we bond over your blog- huge fans of the chicken nugs and the dark chocolate/gouda cookies). It looks like you use a springboard pan in this recipe–is that ideal, or would a regular (deep) pan work better? My springboard isn’t very nonstick so I’m not sure if it would let go of the cake even with layers of butter and flour. Thanks and keep up the awesome blog!

    • Ericka, if you are worried about sticking, line the pan both on the bottom and sides with parchment, and BUTTER AND FLOUR the parchment as well! I’m more worried about removing the cake from a pan WITHOUT removable bottom-plate. And also, some commentor mentioned the diameter of the pan is important as week. A wider pan will significantly chane the cooking time.

  • This cake has defeated me and I have no idea why. The consistency of the batter was right (at least from the pictures/ribbons), temperature… I tried a 13, 14 and 15 minute cake and it’s either undercooked or overcooked. It’s never brown outside, more like a light yellow. What’s the secret?! This is my third time. I’m so sad because it looks so so amazing. The cake itself is good but it’s no imploding custard cake.

    • MURIEL: OH man! I’m sorry to hear that. The only thing I can think of is to increase the oven temperature? When I was researching for this recipe, the suggested temperature was lower and my cake wasn’t browned at all, so you might want to turn it up to 375F/190 C, because some ovens are different. Also, don’t use a pan larger than 7″ as some people said it significantly changes the baking time. Let me know if it works.

  • I just wanted to say that I absolutely LOVE your blog!

    I’m not sure why the top of my cake didn’t brown as much as the one you made. Although I did make some adjustments to the recipe so that the batter would fit an 8″ cake tin (1 extra egg & yolk + 40% more honey / flour). I also substituted the icing sugar for 3 tbsp of Horlicks.

    Not sure if that’s what it was, but other than that the texture of the cake was perfect!

    Thanks for sharing this recipe :)

  • Hi Mandy,

    how did you make the honey froth out like that in the last two photos? Is it because of the type of honey you used or the size/shape of your pan (I used a square one)?

    And thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I just got the second batch of this cake out. It’s almost there but it still tastes sooo good. Bless you!

    • LIDIYA: Hm.. it just came out like that every time! It’s because of all the air bubbles being beaten into the custard, so when it’s in the “undercooked form”, it just looks “frothy/foamy”. You mean yours didn’t ooze out like mine? Then I would say it’s overcooked. Try not to use a too-large pan that makes the batter spread out. It will significantly change the cooking time.

      • Interesting. I’ll lessen the time I bake it in the oven then since my pan is about 8″. My last one looks almost like yours where its firm at the base and gooey-sticky at the center top. It just doesn’t foam like yours. Think I’ll add more honey too in my 3rd try… =)

  • This cake looks amazing, and I’m planning on making it coming friday! However I do need to make a bigger cake, so I was wondering if you knew which size cake tin to use if I doubled the recipe (or make it 1 1/2 times). Thank you!

    • ANNIE: Since the cooking time of this cake largely depends on the size and width of the cake and pan, I would suggest making TWO CAKES in a pan no bigger than 6″ to 7″. If you want to double the recipe and baking it in one large pan (say 9″ or bigger), you might expect a longer cooking time. But I haven’t tested that yet and can’t say exactly how much long…. I hope this helps…

  • This looks delicious! As a beekeeper, I’ll love it even more!
    Bye, the “add me to your mailing list” button doesn’t seem to work. Could you kindly add my email address?

    • PATTY: Oops I’m so sorry! Yeah the sidebar subscription form is a little troublesome. The one down at the footer area (scroll all the way down) works I think. But sure I’ll add your email to the list, but if you’re not getting newsletters, let me know!

  • I was careless and added 3/4 cup of honey instead of 1/4. I tried to even it out by adding extra cake flour… I either just created a disaster or a beautiful new alteration. I’m predicting disaster, but I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  • This cake is very odd. A texture unlike anything I’ve experienced, and not very appealing, unfortunately. A light tan puddle of goo topped with a pudding skin. Sorry I wasted all my eggs. Seemed promising, but wouldn’t make this again. :-(

  • Oh gawd this is so good. I made it in a 7 inch springform pan, only buttering and flouring (no parchment), and it didn’t stick. However I over baked mine :( At 13 minutes I shook it and it was still wobbly, but I took it out at 15 min. So next time I’ll leave it in for only 13 min. Still, three girls devoured the entire cake! (after a big feast we easily managed to find more room for the cake).

  • hello~ as this is my third recipe that I’ve successfully created from your site (the genius soy milk ramen broth cheat and the cured egg yolks), I must finally make time to thank you for your time, creativity, and sass. I thoroughly enjoy your blog posts and would buy a cookbook if it were ever to become paper. I will add to this feed by stating that although I heeded the advice on the selection of quality honey, the next one I make will incorporate a lighter, more floral honey, say, sourced from orange or clementine blossoms. I think that I will also experiment with matcha powder. As I live in the midwest where I can obtain farm fresh eggs (resulting in a deep gold yolky cake), can find many honey purveyors, and easily find cake flour at the nearby big box grocer chain, this spongecake recipe will become my next series of culinary experiments. I must also add that my HongKong mother and her longtime friend, also from HK, very much enjoyed this “dahn goh” recipe. Thanks again for doing what you do.

  • Just made this as muffins and used almond flour (didn’t have cake flour). Definitely works, but I think it was too soft. Baked mine at 400 degrees F for about 6 min and it was just right because I know if it was to cook another minute, it wouldn’t have been gooey in the center. I have a feeling the almond flour doesn’t make a firm enough crust so that’s why it’s too soft. I didn’t use powered sugar, and I think it was still pretty sweet. Will definitely try again using cake flour or cake flour sub and reduce the honey just a tad next time. Thanks for another great recipe!

  • Fantastic! This is “Pão-de-ló de Ovar” or “Pão-de-ló de Alfeizerão”, either way this is a portuguese cake! Ok, ok, I get it: we were in Japan centuries ago and influenced japanese culinary a lot. But hey, this is portuguese cake. ;-)
    Here’s the original recipe, just for fun (no honey, just sugar):
    Love your blog and am amazed at how many portuguese recipes I’m finding around here: pão-de-ló, pastel de nata (, Sonhos (… Puts a smile in my face, especially because you do tweak them and make them look gorgeous. Oh, and your Cheddar Snow cake became my go-to cake, btw. Everyone loves it. :-)

  • Hi there – I’m going to try and make this cake for Jewish New Year as I hate regular Jewish-style honey cake. Can I ask about the cake pan – should I use a loose-bottomed pan or is the batter too runny for it? How difficult is it to turn the cake out?


    • Miri, the pan I used was a springform cake pan about 7.5″ wide. Make sure you line the pan with parchment paper on bottom and sides, that way you shouldn’t have a problem removing the cake :)

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  • Thanks for a marvelous recipe! One thing that might help your pimples is the honey itself… honey has antibacterial agents in it and I’ve seen reliable testimony of people who’ve put a dab on each blemish at night, covered it with a tiny bandage, then washed the whole thing off each morning. After a few days, the blemishes were noticeably healed – it works even better than some of the pharmaceutical medicines for the same problem. This might help for the next time you want to indulge – just save some honey for after you’re done eating!

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