Castella Cake Workshop at Learning Artz— Baking and Culinary Academy

One Sunday last month, I was invited by Sharon (the business owner) to attend my first ever baking workshop in Singapore! It was a castella cake workshop, conducted by a famous chef from Taiwan at Learning Artz—Baking and Culinary Academy.

Where is Learning Artz

Learning Artz academy is located at The Grandstand. You can get there by shuttle bus at Botanic Garden or Six Avenue MRT station. All these details will be provided by Sharon in a contract or receipt after transferring the payment.

During the workshop day

On the workshop day, I reached quite early and had a short chat with the other participants. Apparently, some of them are regular customers.
A small and cosy space. Remember to take off your shoes before entering!
Some photos captured during the past workshops. Of course, these photos are not taken by me.


What is special about Learning Artz

When asked about the price of the workshops, they mentioned that the price is affordable, in fact, considered cheaper than many other workshops that they had attended elsewhere (they said some common baking academies) since they get the chance to
  1. Attend workshops by specially invited overseas chef
  2. Perform hands-on with constant guidance
  3. See an actual demonstration by the chef
A spacious kitchen is suitable for a big family. All the drawers contain all sorts of different culinary tools

Soon, the class began and the instructor started by giving an introduction to the history of castella cake and the key baking ingredients in the original recipe. I was quite horrified at the fact that the castella cake in Singapore is a fake modified version of a sponge cake! A traditional Japanese castella cake is around 5cm-6cm tall, not too fluffy but has quite a solid texture. So, does it means that I have been paying $9 to $13 for bouncy sponge cakes...?
Chef Peter waiting for hot water to boil before the demonstration started (if I didn't remember wrongly)
Sharon and her team have prepared the measurements of everything on the table. You just have to do the hands-on directly.

Chef Peter moved on to explain concepts on how to make a castella cake using real-time demonstration. With his breakdown of each step, the whole cake sounded possible to bake (maybe it's my own problem).
Measuring the temperature of the eggs before they are suitable to mix in other ingredients


What is taught by the instructor

Castella cake is not the easiest cake to bake. To provide participants with the best learning experience, Chef Peter arrived in Singapore a few days before the workshop to test out the oven. Together with Sharon, he experimented with different ratios and settings to come out with a recipe that is carefully customised for the temperature of the oven and the alternative baking ingredients in Singapore! I find this whole customisation approach really thoughtful, as I believe not everyone is willing to spend a large sum and effort just to import some overseas ingredients for a cake. This also means that the recipe for this castella cake workshop cannot be found anywhere else.

Then, we wore our apron and had an interactive, hands-on session by working in groups of two. All of us get to learn how to bake
  1. An original castella cake
  2. An earl grey castella cake
  3. A chocolate castella cake

Throughout the lesson, the instructor monitored and guided us to ensure that everyone is doing the right procedures and learning the proper techniques. He also shared his personal tips in increasing the success rate of baking castella cake.
Showcasing the dough for earl grey castella cake. I love the taste of this cake!

While waiting for our cakes to bake, chef Peter had a Q&A session with the class. Based on the questions thrown from the ground, he shared his knowledge on why certain ingredients must be of higher ratios, why some ingredients cannot be replaced by another option and what other alternatives can be used to archive particular results. There wasn't any question that he couldn't answer! 
Our cakes baking nicely in the oven. More tips were shared on how to prevent the cake from overcooked etc.


Review of the workshop

The whole workshop took up 3 hours. Before we left, each of us got to bring home a significant portion of the castella cakes that we baked, in total three different flavours! We were advised to air the cake for one night so that the honey at the top layer will sink into the entire texture.
Original castella cake
Chocolate castella cake
Earl grey castella cake

The overall baking experience at Learning Artz was a pleasant eye-opener for me. The entire kitchen can accommodate around 20 people. People are friendly and willing to share their tips and knowledge among themselves. Overall, the atmosphere is very cosy, clean and comfortable.
Chef Peter has recently published his dessert recipe book. A fan brought the book for him to sign.


Who should try Learning Artz workshops

I would highly recommend you to try out a workshop at Learning Arts if you are:
  1. A beginner in baking who wish to kickstart a new hobby
  2. A passionate individual who wish to challenge your skills to a next level
  3. An entrepreneur who wants to earn some side cash
  4. A family who wants to create a special memory through cooking and baking
Depending on the courses available, there might be at most three classes per day— morning class (10am to 2pm), afternoon class (2pm to 5pm) and evening class (5pm to 9pm). 
Some classes offered by Learning Artz


More details

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LearningArtZCulinary/
Address: 200 Turf Club Road #04-04 The Grandstand Singapore
Castella Cake Workshop at Learning Artz— Baking and Culinary Academy Castella Cake Workshop at Learning Artz— Baking and Culinary Academy Reviewed by Joysofyz on 10/01/2018 Rating: 5

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