Taiwanese Castella Cake: History, Recipe, and Global Availability

Taiwanese Castella Cake traces its roots to Japan. The cake, also known as “Kasutera” in Japan, was introduced by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century. They brought the recipe, and locals adapted it to suit their preferences. The original Japanese version uses sugar, flour, eggs, and starch syrup. This cake became a staple in Nagasaki, where it’s often linked to the city’s heritage.

Popularity in Taiwan

Though originating in Japan, Castella Cake found immense popularity in Taiwan. Brought over during Japan’s colonization of Taiwan (1895-1945), it quickly assimilated into local culture. Taiwanese versions are lighter and less sweet compared to the original Japanese cake. Vendors use fewer ingredients to give the cake a softer texture, often incorporating honey for added moisture. Today, it’s a favorite at night markets and bakeries across Taiwan, renowned for its pillow-like consistency.

Ingredients and Varieties

Classic Flavors

Taiwanese Castella Cake typically includes a few simple ingredients: eggs, sugar, flour, and honey. These components create a light, fluffy texture. Traditional flavors in Taiwanese Castella Cake often remain close to the basics.

  1. Original: Combines eggs, sugar, flour, and honey for a pure, subtle sweetness.
  2. Honey: Enhances the sweetness with additional honey, creating a richer taste.
  3. Matcha: Incorporates matcha powder, providing a distinctive green tea flavor and color.

Unique Taiwanese Twists

Taiwanese vendors and bakers experiment with diverse ingredients, offering unique variations. These reinterpretations make the cake a versatile treat.

  1. Cheese: Adds a layer of cheese, creating a savory-sweet combination.
  2. Chocolate: Introduces cocoa powder or chocolate chips for a rich, dessert-like twist.
  3. Fruit: Includes fresh fruits like strawberries, mangoes, or durian, infusing the cake with vibrant flavors.
  4. Taro: Uses taro paste for a unique blend of earthy and sweet flavors.

These variations enhance the classic Castella Cake, making it a beloved dessert with endless possibilities.

How to Make Taiwanese Castelled Cake

Necessary Equipment

To make Taiwanese Castella Cake, gather the following equipment:

  • Electric mixer: For whipping eggs and creating volume.
  • Mixing bowls: At least two, preferably medium to large-sized.
  • Sifter: To ensure the flour is lump-free.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: For accurate ingredient measurements.
  • Whisk: Useful for combining ingredients manually.
  • Rubber spatula: For folding ingredients gently.
  • 10-inch square cake pan: Typically used for traditional-sized Castella cakes.
  • Parchment paper: To line the cake pan, preventing sticking.
  • Oven thermometer: Ensures accurate oven temperature.
  • Cooling rack: Allows the cake to cool uniformly after baking.

Step-by-Step Recipe

Follow these steps to create a Taiwanese Castella Cake:

  1. Preheat Oven: Heat your oven to 320°F (160°C). Line the cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare Ingredients: Sift 1 cup (120g) of cake flour. Separate whites and yolks from 6 large eggs into different bowls.
  3. Mix Yolks: In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup (100g) of sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Incorporate Flour: Gradually add the sifted flour into the yolk mixture, blending consistently.
  5. Whip Egg Whites: In another bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy. Slowly add 1/4 cup (50g) of sugar, continuing to whip until stiff peaks form.
  6. Fold Mixtures: Incorporate a third of the whipped egg whites into the yolk mixture using a rubber spatula. Fold gently to avoid deflating. Blend the rest of the egg whites in two separate additions.
  7. Add Honey: Mix in 2 tablespoons of honey dissolved in 2 tablespoons of warm water. Fold gently into the batter.
  8. Pour Batter: Transfer the batter into the lined cake pan. Tap the pan lightly on the counter to release air bubbles.
  9. Bake: Place the pan in the preheated oven. Bake for about 60 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  10. Cool: Remove the cake from the oven. Lift it out of the pan using the parchment paper edges. Set on a cooling rack.

Remember, Taiwanese Castella Cake is valued for its light and airy texture, achieved by careful folding and precise baking.

Where to Find the Best Taiwanese Castella Cake

Top Bakeries in Taiwan

Taiwan boasts numerous bakeries renowned for their Taiwanese Castella Cake.

  • Le Castella: Known for its fluffy and moist texture, Le Castella offers classic, cheese, chocolate, and matcha flavors. Multiple locations throughout Taiwan make it widely accessible.
  • Original Cake: With a philosophy of freshness, Original Cake prepares cakes daily using high-quality ingredients. Famous for its original and cheese variants, it’s a local favorite.
  • Kuchen Bakery: Kuchen Bakery combines traditional methods with modern tastes, offering unique flavors like coffee and taro. Quality and consistency are top priorities.
  • Han’s Cake: Specializes in maintaining authentic Taiwanese Castella Cake features. Known for its ultra-soft, pillow-like texture, this bakery frequently attracts long queues.

International Availability

Taiwanese Castella Cake’s popularity extends beyond Taiwan to various international locations.

  • United States: Bakeries like Uncle Tetsu have brought Taiwanese Castella Cake to cities like Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. They offer vanilla, matcha, and chocolate flavors.
  • Canada: Bake shops in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal feature Taiwanese Castella Cake. Examples include Guschlbauer, which serves traditional and cheese flavors.
  • Australia: In cities like Sydney and Melbourne, you can find venues such as Papa’s Cheesecake offering this delicacy. They focus on maintaining an authentic taste.
  • Singapore: Popular bakeries like Ah Mah Homemade Cake provide Taiwanese Castella Cake with a variety of flavors, ensuring freshness and quality.

By visiting these bakeries, you can experience the delightful flavor and texture that defines Taiwanese Castella Cake.

Serving and Storage Tips

Best Ways to Serve

Serve Taiwanese Castella Cake fresh at room temperature for the best taste. Its fluffy texture and light sweetness make it ideal as a standalone dessert or paired with beverages. Consider serving it with tea or coffee to complement its delicate flavor. For a special touch, add fresh fruit like strawberries or a dollop of whipped cream. If serving at a gathering, cut it into small, bite-sized pieces for easy sharing.

Proper Storage Techniques

Store Taiwanese Castella Cake in an airtight container to maintain its moist texture. If keeping for more than a day, refrigerate it but consume within three days for optimal freshness. Before serving, allow the cake to reach room temperature for the best experience. Freezing the cake for up to one month is an option if you wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then place it in a freezer-safe bag. Thaw at room temperature before serving.


Taiwanese Castella Cake is truly a delightful treat that combines rich history and unique flavors. Whether you’re enjoying it fresh from a bakery in Taiwan or from an international outlet, its light and fluffy texture is sure to impress. Remember to serve it at room temperature for the best experience, and don’t hesitate to pair it with your favorite tea or coffee. Proper storage will ensure you can enjoy this cake for days or even weeks. So, next time you’re craving a sweet, airy dessert, Taiwanese Castella Cake is a perfect choice.

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