Singapore has its own Le Castella Cake 樂古早味蛋糕 shop (finally) at Tampines One.
A Castella is a Japanese sponge cake made of sugar, flour, eggs, and starch syrup.
However, this particular Le Castella 樂古早味蛋糕 brand actually originated from Taiwan, known for its thick, fluffy jiggly Castella Cakes. Cut into 23 cm x 13 cm exact, measured using a long ruler.
Over at Taiwan, a total of 4 flavours are available: Original (90TWD, SGD4.20), Cheese (130TWD, SGD6.10), Floss and Chocolate (130TWD, SGD6.10), and these cakes became so popular they set up branches in Seoul.
If you think that Singaporeans are kiasu, you will be surprised that our chinggu (friends) from Korea are willing to queue for an hour when they (known as Daeman Rak Castella) first opened in Korea.
Here in Singapore, a total of 3 flavours are available: Original ($9.90), Cheese ($11.90) and soon-to-launch Chocolate.
Well, at almost double the price.
However, the price tag can still be considered reasonable for fans as the size of the cake – 20cm x 16cm for Singapore version, is bigger than what many would have imagined.
An interesting thing to note at the outlet in Taiwan is that the Castella is cheaper on a weekend due to their ongoing Weekend Promotion.
Will there be a weekend promotion here in Singapore? Fingers crossed (but I hardly think so).
In the Taiwan and Korea outlets, those in line can witness the entire process of making the Castella, tempting us every single second as we anticipate the final product.
And the challenge is to resist the hunger pang while standing in line, watching the entire process from freshly baked, tossing high up and flipping over to remove the baking paper, to slicing into 10 equal pieces, measured using a long ruler.
According to a viral Insider Video, 58 eggs are added into a single batch to create these fluffy castella cakes.
The ‘live kitchen’ open concept works in Taiwan and Korea, but not so much for Singapore as the Castella is made in their private kitchen, and only the cutting “ceremony” is done at the counter.
Same, same but different. This takes away half of the fun away. A pity really.
The Le Castella cakes are known to be hand-made, without any additives and preservatives, and best consumed within the same day.
So what’s the hype about this big blob of cake?
“Ji Dan Gao”, nope, I don’t mean the vulgarities. The smell and the taste of the Original Castella ($9.90) reminded me of a fluffier version of my childhood favourite Steamed Egg Cake.
Each freshly-made batch of Castella will take about 70-80 minutes to serve. (So if the person in front of you get very last piece, you can quietly mumbled “Ji Dan Gao” to him/her. Just kidding.)
The texture of the Castella is soft, spongy and a little moist. However, do not attempt to finish on your own, as it can get a little boring after a few mouthfuls.
The appearance was also not as consistent as those seen in Taiwan and Korean, as those I bought here had uneven edges and colour, looking dry on the surface. Perhaps they still need to better manage the temperature and timings.
The Cheese Castella ($11.90) fared somewhat better, essentially an Original Castella with 2 thin layers of cheese within it, adding some savouriness to the otherwise uniformly sweet taste.
With only 2 flavours at the Singapore outlet at Tampines 1 currently, the options are somewhat limited.
So I can imagine some fans will be disappointed to know that there are only 2 flavours, the wait is long, and there is no open kitchen concept to watch the making. (Went to queue at 9am, only to get the stuff at 11:00am plus.)
I hear that there will be a uniquely Singaporean flavour coming soon in the future. Hopefully, there is a surprising one.
Le Castella Singapore
Tampines One, 10 Tampines Central 1, #B1-32, Singapore 529536
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
(A video of Castella cake in Seoul.)
* Written by Nicholas Tan @stormscape who loves all things [NEW]. Daniel’s Food Diary pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.