So many people have asked me, “Carrie, how’s married life?” And to be honest, nothing much has changed. But now that I think about it more carefully, there has been a couple of subtle changes. For example, I try to send more WhatsApps to Freman to check on him if he needs dinner since he works pretty late these days and I’ve also started to feel a bit more responsible for buying breakfast for the whole family.
I remember the Pork Floss Bun craze back when BreadTalk started becoming a household name. I recall the crazy queues for Coffee Buns and the tempting smell of them, freshly baked. I used to be indifferent. What’s the big deal? I used to wonder why the hell would all these aunties queue more than ten minutes to buy baked goods. It’s just bread, innit? Oh boy, I’ll eat my words right now. It all boils down to changing priorities.
When you’re a child, your parents buy these delicious things for you. Your job is just to remember to eat them. When you’re a young person, all you’ll think of is to get it for your self and maybe a significant other. When you’re married, it’s like a lightbulb switches on somewhere and when you pass by these snazzy new places or see an amazing offer (like 1-for-1 bread), your mind screams, “I NEED TO FEED MY FAMILY THESE AMAZING DELICIOUS THINGS.” So, I was pretty excited about a new castella cake shop coming to town. YAY! New place to buy breakfast! The
phoenix inner auntie has risen.
The aroma of freshly baked sponge cake wafted through the air as I scurried over to my destination after a long day at work: Ah Mah Homemade Cake (阿嬷老字號) at Vivocity’s Basement. I felt my stomach churn a little; It was rumbling, grumbling and protesting for dinner and here I was at a cake shop, albeit a pretty popular one. As you can see, married life has indeed made it’s mark on my priorities.
Oh, look at that. Beautiful.
Ah Mah Homemade Cake, which sells egg sponge cakes or castella cakes, has burst onto the foodie scene fairly recently. April 2017 to be exact. 100,000 boxes of their castella cakes have been sold and they have expanded aggressively with 14 outlets in Malaysia before foraying into Singapore this month. It’s July, by the way, so that was barely four months ago. Two outlets are open for business; They’ve opened one outlet at Bukit Panjang Plaza and another at the Vivocity, which I visited. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, they’ve plans to expand even further within Malaysia to Seremban and Malacca, as well as outside of Malaysia to China, Thailand and Australia in August.
The task of delicately and skilfully removing the baking sheet is no easy feat.
While castella cakes are originally a Portuguese recipe, these cakes have become extremely popular in Japan and Taiwan. The castella cake recipe by Chef Jim of Ah Mah Homemade Cake takes inspiration from the egg sponge cakes from Tamsui in Taiwan. This rendition is made with milk, Grade AA locally produced farm eggs (my egg loving soul rejoices) and quality flour, with no addition of water, preservatives or colouring. And yes, as expected of a castella cake, no butter or oil. If you were wondering, it’s also no pork, no lard, but not halal lah.
Their cakes are made fresh daily and each batch is baked for 80 minutes. Ah Mah Homemade Cakes recommends that the cakes are either eaten piping hot fresh out the oven or chilled. The quality control is also pretty strict and all cakes are discarded after 12 hours if they are not sold.
After being sliced, the castella cakes are branded.
I was impressed from the first bite. The texture of castella cakes are best described as smooth, almost crumb-less and moist without being greasy. Ah Mah Homemade Cake’s castella cakes were just that.
The Original ($8) is fluffy, light and eggy while the Cheese ($12) is slightly denser and creamier with layers of melted cheddar cheese and parmesan sprinkled on top. The Cheese castella cake is a great mix of savoury and sweet with a pleasant texture, but my personal preference is the Original, because I love the airy, bouncy texture. When piping hot, it’s extremely soft and airy with a melt-in-the-mouth texture. When chilled, it becomes a little firmer and denser. That said, it is a joy to eat either way.
If it isn’t consumed immediately, it should be kept refrigerated and is best consumed within three days. Well, in my case, I barely needed two days before the two cakes I brought home were wiped out. Yep, I’m guessing everyone loved it.
Packing portions of castella cake into boxes.
As you can see from the photos, each cake is a nice generous portion that can feed 6 – 8. If you’re not such hungry monsters and follow the grille lines, you’ll probably be able to share this with more people. Trust me though, get more of them. These are so good that they’ll be gone in a flash.
I won’t be surprised if long queues continue to form for these castella cakes. I hear that within the first five days of opening in Singapore, they sold 2,000 boxes and queue times can go up to 1.5 hours. How hardcore, seriously.
Would I recommend? You say, leh? I just hope I’ll be able to get my hands on more of these castella cakes in future within a reasonable queuing time!
Ah Mah Homemade Cake (BPP)
Bukit Panjang Plaza, 1 Jelebu Road, #01-18,
Ah Mah Homemade Cake (Vivocity)
Vivocity, 1 Harbourfront Walk, #B2-K7,
Open daily from 10:00am to 10:00pm