EATING AIR

We hunt down some of the best castella cakes in Singapore

Wine & Dine - - CONTENTS - WORDS CHAR­LENE CHOW

Hunt­ing down the best castella cakes in town

Castella cakes, or sponge cakes made of eggs, flour, sugar and starch syrup, were first in­tro­duced by the Por­tuguese to Na­gasaki, Ja­pan in the 16th cen­tury. While the Ja­panese ver­sions—typ­i­cally made with eggs, flour, sugar and honey— have been avail­able on our shores, re­cent vi­ral on­line videos of gi­ant castella cakes from Tai­wan have reignited a craze for them. Here are a few of these cakes sell­ing like...well, hot cakes.

Le Castella Four months since its open­ing in Singapore at Tampines 1, the queues at Le Castella now only last ap­prox­i­mately 15 to 30 min­utes. Hail­ing from Shilin Night Mar­ket in Taipei, Le Castella cakes were fea­tured in the said vi­ral videos, and come in three flavours: orig­i­nal, cheese and a soonto-be launched cho­co­late (from $9.90). Around 58 eggs are used to make each batch of cake, which is then cut into 10 loaves ap­prox­i­mately 23x13cm in size. Made with eggs, milk, flour and sugar, the cakes are baked at a con­stant tem­per­a­ture for about 80 to 90 min­utes, and emerge ex­tremely spongy and moist to the bite. We rec­om­mend the cheese ver­sion, which adds a salty, savoury hit to the cake, and gives it a bit of body. They can be kept for up to three days in the re­frig­er­a­tor but is best con­sumed right out of the oven. #B1-32 Tampines 1, 10 Tampines Cen­tral 1. face­book.com/LeCastel­laSG/

Ah Ma Home­made Cake Malaysian brand Ah Ma has been mak­ing in­roads into Singapore with their castella cake, open­ing a third out­let at JCube on Na­tional Day. A fourth opens in Paya Le­bar at the end of Au­gust, and oth­ers are slated for Plaza Sin­ga­pura and Be­dok this month. In­spired by castella cakes from Tam­sui Old Street in Tapei, the cakes come in two flavours: orig­i­nal and cheese (from $8). We found the cakes to be light, airy, spongy, but a tad denser and sweeter than those by Le Castella.

#01-08, Bukit Pan­jang Plaza, 1 Jelebu Road. Tel: 97694380; #B2-K7 Vivo City,

1 Har­bourfront Walk ; No.2 Jurong East Cen­tral 1, #B1-K12 JCube

An­toinette

Trust chef Pang Kok Keong of An­toinette to spin off not one, but six flavours out of a trend­ing cake. The Queen’s Castella Cake Collection (from $8 for each block of about

20x10cm) comes in six op­tions: vanilla, vanilla with ched­dar and parmesan cheese glaze, vanilla with Nutella glaze, earl grey, earl grey with ched­dar and parmesan cheese glaze, and on­deh on­deh.

Chef Pang’s tech­nique is to lift the cakes purely by meringue and bake them in a bain marie un­til they are del­i­cate, light and fluffy.

Our favourite was earl grey, for the in­tense yet un­ob­tru­sive aroma of tea. The cakes had a uni­form tex­ture, akin to a pan­dan chif­fon cake. Or­ders can be placed a day in ad­vance (be­fore 3pm) if you re­quire at least six pieces. 30 Pen­has Road. Tel: 6293 3121; #02-33/34 Man­darin Gallery, 333A Or­chard Road. Tel: 6836 9527 Breadtalk

Called the ‘pong pong cake’ be­cause of its light and bouncy tex­ture, this castella cake ($8.80) is made with a spe­cial recipe by chef Tseng Wen Jun—a win­ner at the 16th Tai­wan Gateaux Cake Com­pe­ti­tion held in April—and R&D chef Yeo Xian Wei. Take a mouth­ful and you feel like you’re bit­ing into spongy, airy, moist egg whites or even a thick mousse. While it is laced with salted egg yolk, its flavour is some­what faint.

Avail­able at Breadtalk’s Chi­na­town Point, Novena Square, Toa Payoh Hub and West­gate out­lets, and The Ic­ing Room’s Nex and Jurong Point out­lets. Breadtalk.com; the­ic­in­groom.com

Orig­i­nal Cake

Orig­i­nal Cake, a brand which started life in 2010 on Taipei’s Tam­sui Old Street, will be open­ing a branch at West­gate Mall by early Septem­ber. It al­ready has sev­eral out­lets across Tai­wan and Malaysia, in­clud­ing one in Jo­hor Bahru’s City Square. Made with ba­sic in­gre­di­ents of eggs, sugar, flour and veg­etable oil, Orig­i­nal Cake comes in three flavours for a start: orig­i­nal, golden cheese and frozen cho­co­late. #02-04 West­gate, 3 Gate­way Drive. face­book.com/ orig­i­nal­cake­malaysia/

Le Castella

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