Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pandan Chiffon Cake

"Hello ladies, look at your cake, now back to mine, now back at your cake, now back to mine. Sadly, yours isn’t mine, but if you stopped using pandan essence and switched to real pandan extract, yours could smell like mine."

Forgive me! I was just having fun doing my own silly parody on that Old Spice ad. :)

Let's do it again, shall we?

Look at that cake. Anyone who has tasted pandan will tell you, this is impossible to resist.

Look at that tender, tearaway-soft texture ... so delicate, it instantly draped itself over the scalloped edges of my plate.

Look at that pastel green hue - all natural, as it should be. Nothing garish, nothing gaudy.

Bring it close and inhale, and let its heady sweet scent intoxicate you. Take time to smell the roses pandan. ;)

I guess you can never really fully describe pandan ... you just have to taste it to understand it.

Would it surprise you if I told you this was my very first Pandan Chiffon Cake? Yes, I am terribly ashamed of myself. To live in southeast asia where pandan is cheap and abundant, yet never have made a cake out of it is nothing short of sacrilege.

Truth is, I didn't have the cake tin and I never entertained the thought of buying one. My kitchen drawers are perpetually filled to the brim with all sorts of ... things, and a chiffon cake tin is really quite bulky. Recently though, I did a major clean out. Like, MASSIVE. Anything I hadn't touched in a year, I nonchalantly disposed.

It's called "letting go".

And what do you do with new storage space? Why, buy new stuff to fill it up!

It's called "vicious cycle".

Anywaaaaay, I finally bought the tin and Pandan Chiffon was hands-down, the priority on my to-bake list. I guess you might see more chiffon cakes from me now?

(from Jun's Indochine Kitchen)
My notes in italics.

You need a 22-cm chiffon cake tin for this.

Ingredients A
- 7 egg yolks
- 75g coconut milk*
- Concentrated fresh pandan extract**
- 150g flour
- 4g baking powder (1 scant tsp)
- 95g sugar (can reduce to 75g)
- 3g salt
- 83g vegetable oil (it's about 83ml)

* Coconut milk
- Option 1: freshly squeezed, first press coconut milk. I think you'd need to buy 1 coconut (grated). You'd also need a coffee sock or cheesecloth, and muscle power. At the very most, add 1 or 2 tbsps of water to the grated coconut before you squeeze. Do not dilute the natural creaminess of coconut milk.

- Option 2 (and one which involves no work): Fresh pasteurised coconut milk. They are usually sold at the refrigerated sections of supermarkets (where they stock the tofu, yellow noodles, etc).

Do not use packet coconut cream (like Kara or Ayam brand) because it is too rich. I speak from experience because I stupidly did. Haha, how embarrassing! ;) My cake was so moist from all that coconut oil, it sprang right out of the pan when I tried to cool it upside down. Tee hee!

**I used 30 fresh pandan leaves + 1/2 cup water and blitzed in a food processor. Squeeze out the juice from the pulp and leave it in a glass overnight in the fridge. Use only the green stuff that settles at the bottom of the glass - Wendy shows us how it's done. And if you can't get fresh pandan leaves from where you are, bottled essence will have to do (use 4g or 1 tsp), in which case, you have my heartfelt sympathy.

Ingredients B
- 7 egg whites
- 100 g sugar

1. Preheat oven to 160°C.

2. Combine egg yolks, coconut milk and pandan extract in a mixing bowl. Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture and sugar into the bowl. Add vegetable oil and whisk everything to combine.

3. In a separate and clean bowl, beat egg whites and sugar together till it forms soft peaks.

4. Slowly fold egg white into egg yolk mixture in 3-4 additions.

5. Pour cake mixture into an ungreased tube pan.

6. Bake for 45 minutes.

7. Flip the pan upside down against a bottle on kitchen counter and let cool for 25-30 minutes. Loosen side of cake with a knife.


  1. This is great Ju! What a beautiful green colour! I simply love they way you describe each bake congrats on finally getting a chiffon cake tin:D

  2. I must check to see which in fact I have since I bought that wonderful essence when you first mentioned it..I even love looking at the little container in my kitchen..Your cake looks delish~
    BTW I just bought my first Vanilla Bean paste and love it.

    Nothing like a cake that jumps out of the pan..I bet pandan leaves are so fragrant!

  3. I may have never had this before, but it looks so good that I need to make it now! Also love the Old Spice bit, lol.

  4. I also cannot really pinpoint the taste of pandan. It's just so unique!

  5. I can not find Pandan here, but I have not given up yet! You have me so intrigued as to what it might taste must be fabulous! I just know it! Of course dear Ju you are the beautiful slice cake Queen...

  6. Never made any cake with the real pandan. When I was Malaysia, it never crossed my mind to use the pandan leaves where it is in abundance. However when I moved to Melbourne, pandan leaves are expensive so I resorted to using pandan paste (yeah, the artificial ones). Anyway, your cake looks awesome. And I think I can smell the real pandan fragrance ^_^

  7. I made pandan cake before without a chiffon cake tin. I simply renamed them pandan cupcakes and pandan ice cream cone cakes. But I am sure mine is nowhere near yours before I used pandan paste *hang my head* and uht coconut cream *hang my head even lower*. Till now, I haven't had the courage to try again coz I have a fear that my egg whites don't achieve stiff peaks...

    Passingsights on Twitter

  8. Yummmy, Next stop at the asian's grocers - must get pandan :)

  9. I am making MINE today!! Love the green you have in your pandan chiffon.

  10. I love pandan cake! Using fresh pandan extract gives that naturally green colour that I love!

  11. Nothing beats a good pandan chiffon cake. I put my chiffon cake tins on the ceiling (suspended pan rack/hanger). I have 3. :O

  12. Finally! I have been following you for quiet a while now and I was quiet puzzled as to why there isn't a pandan chiffon in your post. Now I know why and you did it so well on your first attempt (no surprises).

  13. Omg that looks SO good...*inhale air around iPad* I have been trying to replicate this texture sans eggs since my kiddo can't have eggs, but it's a far cry from the real thing...

  14. Hi good morning, I tried many recipes, my daughter love pandan cake, even now she is studing in UK, she will go to shop buy, when she is homesick(which I don't think is nice to eat), but each time I baked for her when she is back home, her remark is : mummy why your pandan cake is so moist and oily? I don't know where go wrong? until you share your tips, this is what the problem I encounter(using the box cocounut milk).
    I baked my pandan cake using your recipe, my daughter so happy to say this cake is so delicious and not oily anymore, my family finish whole cake within a day..
    I am using the fresh pandan juice, may I know what is correct amount should I use? I use 1/2 cup of concentrated pandan extract, is it correct?
    Thank you for all your tips and sharing!

    1. Glad to be of help here. I am sure the cake is delicious because you are a good baker. :)

      1/2 cup sounds like a lot. I used 1/2 cup to blend with the leaves ti get the juice. When the extract settled at the bottom (overnight), I got only about slightly over 1 tablespoon.

  15. Wow, this looks fantastic! I love Pandan and I wouldn't mind having a slice of this moist cake! Yum- I have to try this out soon, thanks for the great recipe! ^____^

  16. I also have not make a chiffon cake because I dont have a chiffon pan. I like that green color and well done - your chiffon cake is tall and soft.

  17. Hi Ju,

    I followed your recipe but the result of step 2 is a springy dough which makes it very difficult to fold the egg white in. Would you know what went wrong? Nevertheless the cake still taste good.


    1. Hi Shaine, oh dear ... which was springy? The whites? Or the yolk mix?

    2. If it was the whites, it's probably a tad overwhipped. But if it's the yolks ... I'm puzzled too!

    3. It's the yolks. It could be the pandan as I handled them differently. I blend the leaves without adding water and squeeze the juice from the crushed leaves (collected 1tbsp of juice). That way I didn't have to leave it overnight.

      I'll definitely try again but will follow your recipe strictly ^_^

  18. Hi i have a juicer.which can extract green leaf juice directly which i can extract the pandan leaf juice without adding water. So do i still need to keep the juice overnight and what is the purpose of it. Thanks.

    1. I guess you can use the extract immediately. The purpose of leaving overnight is to get the pandan extract (the dark green stuff which settles at the bottom) from the juice.

  19. I tried this out today and it worked out beautifully! I didn't have access to coconut milk or pandan leaves. For the coconut milk, I cheated and used 50mL of coconut cream and mixed it with 15mL of water. I used pandan extract instead of leaves but I'd love to try it with the leaves if I could get my hands on some!

    Thanks so much for all the tips! :D

  20. HiJu,

    I live in Calgary now and my pandan cake does not rise as well as it did when I baked it in Singapore. Does the high altitude in Calagry have to do with it and how can I make my cake rise as well as it did in Singapore?

    Thank you.


  21. The cake looks amazing! I used this recipe and made my first chiffon cake. It turned out great. Only downfall (and I suppose biggest downfall) was that I live in NZ so I don't have access to fresh pandan leaves :( Some friends tried planting them but they don't have the beautiful scent of pandan. But thanks for the recipe!

  22. The chiffon cake looks really delicious and I guess I'm going to have my first attempt using this recipe (p.s. I've never made any chiffon cakes before):D

    Just to ask a few questions before I bake:
    1) How much of the concentrated fresh pandan extract do I use?

    2)For the flour, is it all-purpose flour?

    3)If the pandan chiffon starts to brown quickly, is there anything I can do to stop it (like covering the top with a plate after around 30mins)?

    4) For vegetable oil, is olive-canola (mixed) oil okay to use? Olive oil seems to be thicker than the oil we use for cooking.


  23. Hi,

    I am thinking of making this, but just wondering, how much of the extract did you use?

  24. Hi Ju,

    Sylvia recommended your blog to me. Your Pandan Chiffon cake looks great. I have a question about the egg white though. Usually when I make the "regular" chiffon cake, I'd beat the white till stiff peak, like you would be making a maringue, is that not necessary for the Pandan Cake (or not necessary for chiffon cake in general haha).

    Thanks for a great receipe, I will try it out this weekend! Look forward hearing from you soon :)


  25. Hi Ju, I got your recipe from Sylvia, thanks for sharing! I had to improvise a bit, but i think it turned out quite good anyway :) I'll keep on working on it and hopefully one day I'll find the best recipe that could accomodate what I don't have here in Stockholm :)

  26. I am not sure if my first message went through, but I just wanted to thank you for a great recipe. Sylvia recommended your blog to me, and it's very inspiring. Thanks again.