I remember when cheesecake was a love-it-or-hate-it kind of dessert. Nowadays it’s become a more widely enjoyed confectionery.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to the Toronto bakery Bake Code for a media event introducing their new dessert cakes, their Honey and Matcha Lava Castella Cakes, which are available half-baked.
It occurred to me that this might be the next love-it-or-hate-it thing.
Castella is a popular Japanese sponge cake usually made of sugar, flour, eggs, and starch syrup.
It’s quite popular in Asian countries (including Korea, which is still riding the declining edge of a Castella craze at the moment).
It’s sweet. It’s fluffy. Frankly, there isn’t much to dislike about it.
“Half-baked” is what makes it interesting.
If you’ve used the word “half-baked” in a sentence, you know the word does not have a positive connotation.
The cakes, however, were anything but negative.
We were greeted into the bakery on a very rainy, icy evening.
Once we were inside, we ordered the drinks while we waited for the rest of the guests to arrive.
After a brief speech on how Bake Code began, we were led into the kitchen for the tasting.
Castella Cakes come in 2 flavours–honey and matcha.
We were given mini versions of a bunch of these cakes to try, both chilled and straight out of the oven. Personally, I liked the chilled versions.
From the outside, the half-baked cakes look like any other spongecake. But when you cut it, the sweet liquids inside come oozing out!
The honey, pictured here in its warm yellow glory, is the more common and familiar tasting dessert. It’s also my preference.
It’s sweet, just creamy enough and very, very moist. Something between a souffle and a sponge cake.
The matcha version is good for matcha beginners as the bitter matcha taste is not too strong. It was a little less sweet on the whole.
The texture is interesting too. It’s sponge but, when chilled with the liquidy centre, is similar to a cold mousse. It’s the kind of texture you feel like you can crush with your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Coupled with the fact that these are not overly sweet (just the way I like my desserts), they are very easy to overconsume.
At the end of the day, we each received a hefty goody bag of these cakes, plus their croissants and other pastries, along with some awesome vanilla-flavoured whipped cream.
Lava Castella Cakes are baked from 4 p.m. daily at the Sheppard location.
Salted Egg Yolk Croissants!
4910 Yonge St.
They do have street parking right beside the restaurant. Also easy to walk to from the Sheppard TTC station.