Monday, November 9, 2009

Light Pandan Sponge Cake

I was happy to hear that 2 of my blogger friends tried baking my No Ovalette Moist Sponge Cake, with success. Coquerie de Chapot did an angelic version here while Cherry on a Cake gave it a pandan twist. I thought adding pandan was a brilliant idea - thanks, Zurin! Do blog about your cake soon ;)

Now, if you are unfamiliar with pandan - which very likely means you don't come from Southeast Asia - it is a plant which features prominently in Asian cooking/baking. To me, pandan is to Asian what vanilla is to Western :)

The leaves are used because they impart a sweet, gentle, musky fragrance which makes everything smell and taste delicious. I knew of a lady who, instead of drinking her water plain, would throw some pandan leaves into her kettle so that she could have pandan-flavoured water to drink. Now, that may be worth trying if you don't like drinking your 8 glasses a day.

Anyway, this cake was another of my kitchen experiments. It still needs a tiny bit of fine-tuning to get it right, so try this at your own risk ;) I would recommend increasing the flour by another 20g. The batter was a little thin.

Nonetheless, it was great fun making this cake. I involved my kids, so it was messy ... but fun. When the cake went into the oven, I noted the slightly thin batter and prayed that it would rise.

And golly, did it rise! It rose evenly and beautifully! The aroma wafting from the kitchen into the living room was pure heaven.

I realised that the unflattering pale shade of green was what a REAL pandan cake should look like. Suddenly, those bright green, commercial ones look so garish by comparison. What I liked in particular was the hint of coconut. It gave the cake a lovely richness.

We had slice after slice effortlessly, for the taste of pure pandan was addictive. I did note that the cake was slightly dense at the bottom. Still, I told my children, looked what came out of our little experiment today! Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

(my kitchen experiment - try at your own risk!)
- 3 eggs
- 120g flour (I would up this to 140g next time)
- 80g caster sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp condensed milk
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 2 tbsp coconut cream
- 1/2 cup fresh pandan juice*
* I threw 3 bundles of pandan leaves into the food processor together with 1/2 cup water, then blitzed till the leaves became pulpy. After that, I poured the pandan juice through a metal strainer.

1. Combine melted butter, coconut cream and pandan juice. Stir well and leave aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat 3 eggs, condensed milk and sugar till creamy, pale and stiff.

3. Fold in the flour in 3 parts, alternating with the pandan juice. Start and end with flour. Do not overmix.

4. Pour into a 6 inch pan that has been well greased and floured.

5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees celsius for 40 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Tent with a foil if top browns too quickly. Allow cake to cool before cutting.


  1. This looks so gorgeous; I must now find some Pandan in my Hudson Valley, NY environs, which I'm sure will be impossible. Just looking at this cake I know I would probably eat the entire thing in a day, which may or may not be a beneficial! Also, that you baked this with your kids makes me think I can tackle it. I can just smell it...

  2. HK people go to Singapore partly because of the pandan cakes, haha.

  3. Oh that is just a beautiful looking cake Ju...
    I would love a piece with some tea!

  4. The pandan sponge looks very airy, light, and smooth. Well, of all kinds of cake, foam cake is my favourite.

  5. Mamma mia che delizia questa torta, non ho molto tempo ultimamente durante la settimana, questa tua ricetta è davvero invitante, appena posso la provo.Un abbraccio Daniela.

  6. I am in awe with your knife skill again!!!! Love anything with pandan. This is awesome. Great mind think alike. I was about to post my pandan chiffon cake later today.... i might change my mind :)

  7. your cakes are just getting too good just to look at...we might have to start baking soon!!

  8. I have not had pandan cake for a long time now.

  9. And there are those perfect cuts again:)

    I love the little stray crumb in the first shot..hanging on:)

    I would eat it all too.. :) Your photos are always so clean and crisp.. they give appetite:)

    The Pandan Green is striking on the cake:)

  10. JU, I just baked the pandan version 15 minutes ago! :)) Its for a lunch tomorrow (ladies only) n Im going to slather it with cream. Depending on the weather ill take pics and post if it looks decent enough :)))

  11. The link to your 'No Ovalette Spong Cake' is not working Ju.... and this looks awesome! Gorgeous natural pandan juice colour you have there!

  12. This sounds so exotic, even in its always have a new delight for us. Maybe the Asian markets in Boston will have Pandan...I love a delicious challenge!

    Thanks Ju......Diane

  13. Quinn: Thanks! Fixed the link :)

    Thanks for your wonderful compliments, everybody!!! :)

  14. pandan cake is one of my fave. just bought a packet of premix to try :P

  15. I have a recipe that is cooked in the steamer. I haven't tried it, but I will! and I will see how it compares to yours!

  16. Thank you so much for speaking about my blog
    I 'm not used with pandan and I dont know if I can find some here
    But I promise you, I try to find some, your cake is so beautifull and I like its light green color

  17. In Western countries they might label pandan as screwpine leaves, just in case you guys can't find it! Pandan is just how we call it in Asia.

  18. Love sponge cake... I really need to bake one as Lesley from my asian kitchen bought me a bottle of pandan essence and I haven't used!! Need to kick my own butt....ouch!

  19. "my kitchen experiment - try at your own risk" I like your quote!

  20. I smell pandan already.. Lovely sponge cake you've got there. It's a good thing you replaced coconut milk with evaporated milk and still placed in a little of coconut cream. Nowonder it's a success! ;)

  21. I just made a pandan chiffon! It's cooling in the kitchen right now. The whole house smells soooo good. I used the recipe from

  22. I must disagree on the "pandan is a plant which features prominently in Asian cooking/baking" sentence! I only know about pandan as my bf is Malaysian - I am from Taiwan and we certainly don't know what pandan is - I am sure Korea, Japan and China wouldn't have that either. I'd have to say ". To me, pandan is to SouthEast-Asian what vanilla is to Western" :)
    I do enjoy your blog however, have a few recipes here that I'm keen to try out!

  23. Dear Ju, I am not able to find pandan leaves anywhere here and could you please advise on the amount of pandan paste or pandan essence to use for this recipe? (the type in a bottle) Many thanks!

  24. The aroma of pandan and coconut mixture was already alluring. My cakes (baked 'em in loaf pans) turned out YUMMY! Thanks for the recipe and I must add I can't stop reading your very lively posts!! Extremely addictive, hilarious language, great recipes, superrrrrrb fotos....hip hip? Hooray!!!

  25. Hi Ju, i baked this cake today n it was nice! The sweetness is just right not too sweet n i used corn oil instead. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  26. Oh boy, that looks tempting. I'm Vietnamese and I miss the flavour of pandan so much. It's like impossible to find any here (I think), but will have a go and try this recipe! Thanks for sharing.

  27. I want to try this recipe so bad! Can I use coconut milk instead of coconut cream? Or any other substitute like yoghurt ? Thanks! Maysie