Taiwanese Sponge Cake

boy looking at slices of taiwanese sponge cake on a plate

Down the hill from our apartment in Taiwan is a bakery that only sells Taiwanese sponge cake 古早味蛋糕. This type of cake is so popular in Taiwan that many shops only sell sponge cake. There are sweet varieties like chocolate, strawberry, raisin, and green tea. You can even get a savory breakfast cake with pork floss (肉鬆) and green onions.

After reviewing dozens of recipes I have learned the main difference between Taiwanese 古早味蛋糕 and Japanese castella (Kasutera, カステラ) is that the Taiwanese sponge cake recipe uses butter or oil and cake flour resulting in a bouncy light cake. Japanese castella uses bread flour and no oil or butter, resulting in a richer cake with a spongy texture. Taiwanese sponge cake is easier to make as Japanese castella requires beating the eggs over a double boiler. Either way, they are not the same cake and really cannot be compared. I will eat both!

Taiwanese Sponge Cake Recipe

Start to finish: 1 hour 20 minutes
Tools:
Electric mixer, glass baking dish (I used a 2qt 8×8 square dish), parchment paper

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs (room temp, whites and yolks separated)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cups cake flour*
  • 1/3 cup milk (room temp**)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pork floss (肉鬆) and green onions, optional

*Make your own cake flour by removing 1.5 tablespoons of flour and adding 1.5 tablespoons of cornstarch. This is how I make it because I don’t feel like paying the high markup cost for cake flour.

**Having your ingredients at room temp will give you a smooth top. Cold ingredient may cause the top of the cake to crack or have a bumpy finish.

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 °F.
  2. Prepare your water bath. The dish you will bake your cake in should fit into a larger pan with room for water. Prepare enough hot (not boiling) water to fill your larger pan.
  3. Line your baking dish with parchment paper. You can use a little dab of oil or butter on the bottom of the dish to get the parchment paper to stay put.

Taiwanese Sponge Cake Instructions

  1. In a large mixing blow, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the sugar. Whip until soft peaks form. (Stiff peaks increase the risk of your cake cracking). This is your meringue. Set aside.
  2. In another mixing bowl, combine egg yolks, oil, flour, milk, and salt. Mix until smooth.
  3. Gently fold the batter into the meringue.
  4. Pour into the lined baking dish. Tap the dish on the counter a few times to get any bubbles out
  5. Sprinkle on the pork floss and green onions, optional.
  6. Place the filled baking dish into the baking pan.
  7. Open the heated oven, pull out the rack and place the baking pan on the rack. Pour the hot water into the larger pan until it almost reaches the top of the baking dish. Do not fill too high or water might spill into the pan as you push the rack into the oven.
  8. Bake for about an hour. Use a toothpick to check. If the toothpick comes out clean then the cake is done. When you take the cake out of the oven, tap the dish a couple of times on the counter to prevent the cake from falling or shrinking.
  9. Allow the Taiwanese sponge cake to cool and enjoy!

Enjoy this recipe? Try my easy rice cooker Muah Chee recipe next.

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