Pandan chiffon cake is one of my all-time favourite cakes! My aunty used to bake it when I was still a kid and back then, I would call it “gateau vert” aka green cake. I was so fond of this cake that, obviously, it was the first cake that I learnt how to make while growing up. Today, I am revealing my best kept secret!
This cake rich in pandan flavours and coconut milk aromas will transport you and your taste buds straight to South East Asia. On top of that, it has a cotton-like texture and feels like a pillow in the mouth. Perfectly sweetened, it is also a fairly low caloric cake.
Water bath vs Conventional baking
Some people bake their pandan chiffon cake in a water bath (bain-marie), while others simply bake it in the oven the traditional way. But, is there a difference? In the taste or the texture? Well, I tried baking it both ways to find out for myself.
|Water bath method||Conventional method|
|Smaller and more evenly distributed air pockets||Larger air pockets|
|Brown crust on the top of the cake only (no crust formation on the sides)||Thicker brown crust on the top and on the sides of the cake|
|Lighter and fluffier texture||Easier and less of a hassle|
|More uniform baking||More intense flavours|
|More vibrant in colour|
Tips and Tricks
- Cream of tartar – yes it helps to stabilise your egg whites, but I’ve been making my pandan chiffon cake without it since forever and my cake always turned out well. So, if you cannot find any, don’t worry, you can still make this cake.
- For a more aerated cake, I usually sift the flour at least 3 times
- To get rid of any lumps, pass the batter through a sieve or cheese cloth before incorporating the egg whites. This will ensure that your cake is light and fluffy.
- Do not grease your tins as the pandan chiffon cake needs to grip onto the sides of the mould to rise
- Before putting your cake into the oven, gently run a thin spatula or a skewer in an “S” motion throughout the batter. Then, also bang your tin 2-3 times on the table countertop. This will allow the batter to spread evenly into the mould as well as remove larger air pockets
- Do NOT open the oven while your pandan chiffon cake if baking. Only do so the last 5 minutes of baking to check if the cake if done.
- Once your cake is out of the oven, immediately invert it and let it cool down completely before putting it upright again. This is very important or else your cake will deflate.
The perfect meringue for a perfect pandan chiffon cake
- Ensure your mixing bowl and whisk attachment is clean and dry (no water residue)
- Start whisking the egg whites on low speed until it’s frothy. At this stage, add the cream of tartar or/and 1 tbsp of sugar
- Continue whisking at low speed until the egg whites are foamy (starts to thicken and turn white in colour). At this point, increase the speed to medium and add in half of the remaining sugar.
- Keep whisking while gradually increasing the speed to high. You will then reach the “soft peak” stage (that’s when the egg whites are thicker and creamier consistency). Add the remaining sugar and whisk on high speed for another minute or so.
*Tip: You can tilt your bowl while whisking to incorporate more air bubbles
Pandan Chiffon CakeCourse: From The Kitchen, Something SweetDifficulty: Medium
8 eggs, separated
210g (1 cup) Caster sugar, divided
160ml (⅔ cup) non-flavoured vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
180ml (¾ cup) coconut milk
1 tsp pandan paste
150g (1 ¼ cup) self raising flour
1 tbsp coconut cream powder
1 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 170C
- If using the bain-marie method, prepare your tube tin as follows. Take a large piece of aluminium foil and fold it in half. Wrap the aluminium foil around your mould making sure it goes all the way up to the edge of the mould. Bunch up the foil around the edges of the mould to create a tight seam. It is important to wrap the mould tightly to prevent water from seeping into your cake
- In a bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk the egg yolks and half of the sugar until light and fluffy
- Add in the oil, coconut milk, vanilla essence and pandan paste and whisk until well combined
- Sift the flour at least 3 times into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and whisk the egg mixture into the flour
- Sieve the flour-egg mixture through a sieve or cheese cloth until it is lump-free, then, set aside
- In a mixer bowl, whisk the egg whites into a meringue as per the instructions above
- Fold the egg whites into the flour mixture in 3 batches using a balloon whisk
- Carefully pour the mixture into your ungreased tube pan. In an “s” motion, run a skewer or thin spatula through the batter to disperse the bubbles
- Bake on the lowest rack of the oven for about 45mins to an hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean
- Once out of the oven, invert your cake (if your mould doesn’t have “legs”; invert it onto a bottle’s neck) and let it cool down completely.
- Run a thin spatula or knife around the side of the tube pan to release the cake
- Half recipe mould: 18cm (7inches) x 9cm (3.5inches)
- Full recipe mould: 23 (9inches) X 12cm (5inches)
- You can find the moulds and pandan paste at NuzNai Trading Co Ltd