SINGAPORE - Castella cakes have descended on our sunny shores and Singaporeans can finally sink their teeth into these yummy cakes, famous for their fluffy texture.
But be prepared to wait as we queued 3 1/2 hours to get our hands on them.
Famous for their cheesy take on the castella, Taiwan's Le Castella 樂古早味蛋糕 made its debut yesterday (May 11) with snaking lines around the basement of Tampines One.
A castella cake is a Japanese sponge cake which is moist and bouncy on the inside.
Featured in viral videos like this one, Le Castella's baked goods consist of simple ingredients such as sugar, flour, starch syrup and reportedly, a whopping 58 eggs in each batch.
Part of the draw includes watching a cake-cutting "ceremony" every 15 to 20 minutes, where the steaming cake is brought out of the oven, flipped and sliced into blocks of 7cm-tall edible sponges before being stamped with the brand's logo, all while making the cake jiggle.
Unlike its counterparts in Taiwan and South Korea, the Singapore outpost does not feature an open kitchen, so the baking process is hidden from public view. However, the measuring, cutting and stamping processes are done outside, in full view of eagerly awaiting patrons.
According to the staff, the cakes do not contain preservatives and can be kept for up to three days in the refrigerator. However, they are best eaten while they are piping hot, especially the cheese version which gently oozes out when sliced.
Each block is a generous serving (23cm x 16cm x 7cm )that is quite affordably priced, but the options are somewhat limited as only two flavours were available - the original ($9.90) and cheese ($11.90).
The huge slice means that one block can be shared with up to eight people and there are no restrictions on how many each customer is allowed to buy.
However, due to overwhelming demand and limited quantities that each tray can serve up to, the wait felt endless, especially if the person in front of you gets the last slice.
At one point in time when we were there, a tray dropped and half of the castella collapsed onto the counter, which meant they were not going to serve that to customers and we had to wait even longer for the next batch of castellas. Hey, at least they offered the broken pieces to those in the queue to sample.
Our verdict: While Le Castella's wobbly sponge cakes are instagram-worthy, the taste was rather disappointing especially after we waited so long for them.
Bland with an eggy aftertaste, the texture was similar to our local chiffon cake. The cheese flavour was also too subtle, which failed to impress.
Batches may be inconsistent as well, as the sample we tried was slightly charred compared to the one we brought back for our colleagues to try.
With its price point and portion size, it's a great cake for sharing - but perhaps it would be wise to get them after the hype dies down because 3 1/2 hours was just not worth the wait.
Le Castella 樂古早味蛋糕 is located at #B1-32, 10 Tampines Central 1, S529536. Opens daily from 10am to 9pm.