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This cake is unlike anything you’ve eaten before. It is light, fluffy, and sweet while still being mild enough that it doesn’t get sickly. Not only does this cake taste fantastic, it also uses ingredients that you most likely already have in your cupboard, which makes it easy and affordable. If you are on the hunt for an equally delicious cake but perhaps one with more chocolate, try this every day Sunday chocolate cake (but make sure to come back to this one later).
Taiwanese castella cake is a type of sponge cake, which means that it has an incredible airy and fluffy texture that feels like you are eating a cloud. It tastes a little like custard (thanks to the egg yolks) and is such an enchanting cake all around that it will quickly makes its way up your list of favorite desserts.
The best flour to use for this recipe is cake flour, but I wanted to make this more accessible for the casual, everyday chef, so I took the liberty of using a combination of all-purpose flour and corn starch which provides the same effect. I don’t know if I’ve ever used cake flour in my life, much less bought it, but I do occasionally use this hack. If you have cake flour, go ahead and use that instead.
One important thing to note before you begin baking is that the eggs need to be at room temperature. I leave my eggs on my counter 24/7 so they are always room temperature for baking and it is never an issue because my household consumes eggs like crazy, but if you store your eggs in the fridge, I recommend leaving a few out the day before you make this cake.
- 7 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- ½ cup sugar
- Allow your eggs to sit on the counter until they reach room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 300F and prep an 8-inch baking pan (square is traditional but circle would work too) by placing a generous piece of parchment paper inside to cover the bottom and sides.
- Measure out 1 cup of the flour then remove 2 tablespoons worth and put back in your bag.
- Add the corn starch and flour to a sieve over a large bowl and sift the flour-corn starch mixture through at least twice.
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites and put the yolks in one bowl and the whites in a different, medium or large mixing bowl.
- In a heat-proof bowl, add the butter and milk. Put it in the microwave for a few seconds or until the butter fully melts and is slightly warm.
- If your flour-corn starch mixture is not already in a large mixing bowl, put it in one and add the salt. Quickly whisk to mix.
- Gently pour in the butter-milk mixture and carefully whisk until there are no clumps. Avoid overmixing.
- Add the egg yolks and the vanilla before whisking again until well combined, but still avoid overmixing or creating too many air bubbles.
- Add the sugar to the bowl with the egg whites and whisk. It is best if you use a stand mixer or electric handheld mixer for this as it will take much longer for you to do it with your arms.
- Whisk the egg whites for about 5 minutes or until it forms soft peaks. It should be able to hold a shape and be fluffy and light with no liquid.
- Use a spatula to add the egg whites to the batter and gently fold in until there are no clumps of egg white and it is thoroughly mixed. Do not overmix here as you want to retain the fluffy texture of the egg whites.
- Gently pour the batter into the previously prepared baking dish, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- In order to remove excess air, knock the bottom of the pan against your counter twice.
- Put the cake dish in a larger baking dish and fill it up about 2/3rds of the way with warm water.
- Put the dishes together in the oven and cook for 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven and carefully pull the cake dish out of the larger dish, making sure not to get any water on the cake.
- Put the cake back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Even when done, it should be a little jiggly.
- Remove from the oven and pull the edges of the parchment paper to dislodge the cake from the pan. Set on a wire rack to cool.
- Let cool before cutting and serving.
Notes & Tips
- Leftover castella cake can be covered and stored at room temperature for 2 days.
- If you want to play around with flavors, you can add a tablespoon of honey to the batter before folding in the whipped egg whites. It adds a little extra sweetness and what could taste more like summer than honey? It’s not traditional, but I like to experiment with flavors and I have found ube to be a fun incorporation in this castella cake. Instead of using vanilla, I use the same amount of ube extract. It tastes delicious and makes the cake purple, which is a win-win in my books.
This cake is wonderful eaten on its own because of its melt-in-the-mouth texture and delicate taste, but there are always options to add a little more. As with other sponge cakes, Taiwanese castella cake goes amazingly with fresh fruit and whipped cream. If you don’t have fresh fruit, you could use blueberry lavender chia jam instead.
To make it visually fun, you could cut the cake into slices and make a fruit sandwich by spreading a thick layer of whipped cream on each piece and cutting strawberries in half to arrange on one piece before putting the second piece on top with the whipped cream facing in. Fruit sandwiches are a Japanese dish and usually use regular white bread, but making one with cake slices instead results in one of the best treats you’ve ever had.