I finally made Pandan Chiffon Cake again recently. It had been about 10 years since I last made it, which is hard to believe, especially since it’s one of my favourite cakes! Of course, I get my fill of it every year when I’m in Malaysia, but it’s been a really long time since I’ve enjoyed this cake homemadeow good is this cake? Well, a few years ago, CNN named Pandan Chiffon Cake the national cake of Malaysia and Singapore, and one of the world’s 17 best cakes!
Pandan Chiffon Cake is basically a chiffon cake flavoured with the juice of pandan leaves (also known as screwpine leaves), which are often used in preparing food in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries. Pandan can be described as sweet, floral and grassy. It has a complex taste which lends itself well to desserts, where another common ingredient, coconut milk, is often infused with it. It’s also used to add subtle flavour and aroma to rice dishes, such as nasi lemak and meat such as Pandan Chicken. Frankly, I love pandan anything!
Previously when I made this cake, I used a basic chiffon cake recipe and added in pandan essence. It was good. But then I stumbled upon this blog when I was looking for a Roti Canai recipe. I started following the blog and soon found Dr. Leslie Tay’s Pandan Chiffon Cake recipe. Through research and trial and error, he’s pretty much perfected the Pandan Chiffon Cake, so I knew I wasn’t going to find a better recipe. I made a note back then – almost a decade ago – to give his a recipe a try. Now, thanks to having to stay at home, I can finally check this off my list!
To get pandan juice, you have to cut up a bunch of pandan leaves, blend them, along with some water, and then pour it through a sieve or cheesecloth, and discard the leaves. Keep in mind though, you will still need to add pandan paste and/or extract to enhance the flavour and colour.
Pandan paste (I used this brand) adds essence and colour. However, you have to be careful not use too much, otherwise you’ll have a glow-in-the-dark cake! That’s why it’s recommended to also have some clear pandan extract (the brand I used was purchased in Malaysia, however, it looks like you can also buy it elsewhere online) which will add to the taste, but not the colour. I actually used 1 teaspoon of pandan paste in the photos that you see, but it turned out a little greener than I wanted, so I’ve adjusted the amount in the recipe to half a teaspoon, and increased the pandan essence.
There’s nothing like a moist and fluffy cake, and that’s why I love this so much! It’s so soft and light as a cloud, and incredibly fragrant with the sweetness of the pandan. You can certainly decorate this cake with lightly sweetened whipped cream if you want to make something more fancy, or add a dusting of icing sugar. But I left it as is, because it’s really good just on its own, and that’s how it’s usually eaten – just plain and simple.
If you’re tired of baking bread during this pandemic or have given up trying to get your hands on some yeast, give this cake a try! Until next time, stay safe and make sure to also check out my Instagram to see what else I’ve been up to in the kitchen. 🙂
(Adapted from ieatishootipost)
PANDAN CHIFFON CAKE (makes 1 – 25-cm/10″ cake)
6 egg yolks, room temperature
1 egg white, room temperature
150g caster sugar
100ml coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
150ml full-fat coconut milk
200g cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
50ml pandan juice
1/2 tsp pandan paste
21⁄2 tsp pandan essence
8 egg whites, room temperature
50g caster sugar
11⁄2 tsp cream of tartar
1. Place oven rack in the lowest position, closest to the heating element. Preheat oven to 170°C (338°F). Set aside a 25-cm (10-inch) tube pan.
2. Using the wire attachment of a mixer, cream the egg yolks and 1 egg white with sugar for 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until tripled in volume and the batter is nice and light.
3. Mix the coconut oil, coconut milk, pandan juice, paste and essence together in a bowl, and slowly add it to the mixture, while whisking, until combined.
4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the batter and whisk on medium-low speed until incorporated. Set aside (You will now need to use the mixing bowl and whisk attachment for the meringue; if you do not have another mixing bowl/whisk attachment, pour the batter into another large bowl, and wash the mixing bowl and attachment well).
5. To prepare the meringue, wipe down the mixing bowl and whisk attachment with a little bit of vinegar or lemon juice. Beat the egg whites for 1 minute on medium low, add cream of tartar, then beat for 1 minute on medium high. Gradually add sugar, while continuing to beat for another minute, or until the egg whites have almost reached stiff peaks (you want to stop beating just before it reaches stiff peaks).
6. Add one third of the meringue to the batter and mix it with a spatula until just combined. Then add the rest of the meringue to the batter and GENTLY fold the mixture in with the spatula.
7. Tap the bowl firmly on your work surface a few times to get rid of big air bubbles.
8. Pour the mixture into the cake pan slowly, making sure that as many of the big air bubbles burst while the batter flows over the rim of the cake pan. Don’t turn the pan while you are doing this, otherwise you will introduce more air into the cake. Just keep pouring the batter from the same position.
9. After pan is filled, give it a few firm taps on the work surface, and then run a butter knife or chopstick through the batter to release any remaining air bubbles. Then smooth the surface with a spatula.
10. Place the cake pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 55 minutes.
11. Once the cake is done, overturn the cake and let it cool upside-down (Use either a bottle or a funnel to elevate the cake. This is important because if the cake is too close to your counter top, condensation takes place and you will spoil the surface of the cake). To speed up the cooling process, you can drape a wet towel over the cake pan.
12. Once the cake has cooled, run a sharp knife around the sides of the cake, pressing the blade as firmly as possible against the pan. Invert the pan to unmold the cake.