This Taiwanese castella cake is moist and cottony-soft. It’s delicate and subtly sweet, and makes for the perfect everyday cake.

two pieces of Taiwanese castella cake on a plate and a cup of coffee

What is castella cake?

Castella cake originated in Portugual and was popularized in Nagasaki, Japan. It’s a type of cake known for its slightly sweet custard flavor. It has a moist and soft crumb and is traditionally served plain in rectangular or square slices. Castella cake has become a beloved dessert in many Asian countries, including Japan and Taiwan, where variations like the Taiwanese castella cake have gained popularity, featuring unique regional twists on the traditional recipe.

Taiwanese vs. Japanese castella cake

Taiwanese castella cake uses cake flour and is light and fluffy, similar to a chiffon cake or souffle-style sponge cake. Japanese castella cake uses bread flour and has a more dense and chewy texture. It’s also sweeter than its Taiwanese counterpart.

12 slices of castella cake on a black and gold oval plate

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Simple and not too sweet – This cake might be plain but it’s anything but boring. The taste is lightly sweet, rich, and custardy with a hint of vanilla.
  • Incredible texture – Fluffy like a cloud, moist, and soft like cotton with a silky melt-in-your-mouth finish. This has the most amazing texture of any cake you’ll ever eat.
  • Great for any occasion – This cake can be enjoyed as is anytime of day, everyday. You can also dress it up with buttercream frosting, jam, or whipped cream and fresh fruit for a special occasion.

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • unsalted butter
  • milk & eggs
  • cake flour
  • vanilla extract
  • granulated sugar

How to make Taiwanese castella cake:

(the ingredient amounts are listed in the printable recipe card further below)

steps 1-4 of how to make Taiwanese castella cake
  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the butter and milk until the butter is just melted.
  3. Pour the butter mixture over flour and whisk together until smooth.
  4. Then whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla.
  5. In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with the sugar until medium peaks form.
  6. Fold in 1/3 of the meringue into the egg yolk batter to lighten the mixture.
  7. Pour the egg yolk batter into the meringue and gently fold until just combined.
  8. Pour the cake batter into a 8×8″ square pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a hot water bath in a 300F preheated oven for 45-50 minutes.
steps 5-8 of how to make Taiwanese castella cake

Expert tips:

  • Lining the pan – When lining your pan, have the parchment paper about 2″ taller than the height of your pan. This will help support the cake as it rises and make it easier to remove the cake from the pan.
  • Beating the egg whites – Make sure to beat your egg whites to medium peaks (a peak that curls over like a hook at the tip), no more, no less. Over- or under-beating will affect the structure and stability of the cake.

Troubleshooting:

Why did my cake crack?

There could be various reasons, but cracks on top are most commonly caused by over-beating the egg whites or the oven temperature being too hot.

Why did my cake collapse?

There will naturally be a slight deflation after removing the cake from the oven. To prevent the castella cake from collapsing significantly, make sure the meringue is whipped to medium peaks and that the cake is baked through.

FAQ:

What does castella cake taste like?

The taste is lightly sweet, rich, and custardy with a hint of vanilla. It’s like vanilla sponge cake meets egg custard souffle.

Is castella cake the same as sponge cake?

No, it’s a type of sponge cake that relies on a high ratio of eggs to flour, resulting in a cloud-like fluffy cake with a subtle egg flavor.

How to store castella cake:

Tightly wrap in saran wrap or place in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, store in the fridge for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

two slices of castella cake on a plate with a cup of coffee

You might also like:

Did you make this recipe? Please kindly leave a comment with your star rating below.

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two pieces of Taiwanese castella cake on a plate and a cup of coffee

Taiwanese Castella Cake

  • Author: Lily Ernst
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Category: breakfast, dessert, snack
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: Asian

Description

This Taiwanese castella cake is moist and cottony-soft. It’s delicate and subtly sweet, and makes for the perfect everyday cake.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (125g) cake flour 
  • 1/2 cup (114g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) milk 
  • 7 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) vanilla extract
  • 7 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Boil a large kettle of water for the water bath. Line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper with 2″ excess on the sides.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the butter and milk until the butter is just melted, not boiling.
  4. Pour the butter mixture over flour and whisk together until smooth. Then whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla.
  5. In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Continue beating and gradually add in the sugar until medium peaks form.
  6. Fold in 1/3 of the meringue into the egg yolk batter to lighten the mixture.
  7. Pour the egg yolk batter into the meringue and gently fold until just combined and no yellow streaks remain.
  8. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Place the cake pan into a larger pan and fill the larger pan with 1″ of hot water.
  9. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. 
  10. Remove from water bath and let cool completely before serving.

Notes

Leftovers can be placed in an airtight container and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to a week.

Keywords: Taiwanese castella cake, castella cake recipe

Recipe slightly adapted from Home Cooking Adventure