Pandan Chiffon Cake

There’s a certain fondness whenever Singaporeans speak about Pandan Chiffon Cake. It’s in fact one of the first few Singaporean desserts I made when we first moved to Shanghai when I was 12, as it’s one of the food items that we craved enough to want to re-create. Even till now when we speak about ideas of what Singaporean item to bring abroad, pandan chiffon cake always comes up.

In fact I also have very fond memories of the first time I made pandan chiffon cake. This was pre-Youtube era, pre-mixer era for me, and when the recipe wrote “whip egg white to stiff peaks”, back then I didn’t even know egg whites can be whipped from translucent to foamy stiff peaks. Hahaha. I think I beat it by hand till foamy, not sure what it’s supposed to look, and baked it into… a Pandan kueh. And my family still ate it 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️.

Won’t talk too much about pandan chiffon cake because I feel that there are way many blogs that have way better tips already! The recipe I used is from Kitchen Tigress, who made a lovely spreadsheet and compared the pandan cake recipes out there (did all the work for me heh). All the work to achieve the Bengawan Solo gold standard 😛  I’ve made her recipe a few times, mostly followed exactly and it worked well. The times I didn’t follow exactly, see below for thoughts. She has a video too which is nice. Closely related is this blogpost by Ieatishootipost, who goes quite into detail as well about the science and experimentations behind it to create the perfect chiffon cake. Check out those 2 for the tips and you should be good to go. Any questions feel free to message me also! Enjoy and happy baking! 🙂

Variations:

  • Ran out of coconut milk? It happened to me before heh. I replaced 70g coconut milk with 70g of fresh milk, and added 1 tsp of coconut extract, and it wasn’t too noticeable. To be honest I didn’t ever make this recipe with freshly squeezed coconut milk… just the regular coconut milk from the stores. Maybe next time if I get the energy to make the extra trip to the market.
  • If not able to get pandan leaves, eg when I was in the states, replace with 2 tsp of Pandan Paste (the dark green looking pandan paste, not pandan essence, from phoon huat).
  • Ran out of cake flour – no worries. Though it’ll be nice to have cake flour on hand always, homemade cake flour is an acceptable substitute.
  • If you don’t have the correct pan size, please adjust the recipes accordingly (use excel sheet)! It’s easier to just buy a 21cm chiffon cake pan, but if you really can’t, then check out The Domestic Goddesss Wannabe’s chiffon cake recipes, which she has nicely written out proportions based on your pan size.
  • Technique variations: Kitchen Tigress’s techniques are 👍👍👍. Especially in terms of the perfect egg white texture to reach, sifting and folding technique, banging the pan against the counter to get rid of the big air bubbles, and running chopstick around the tin. Sometimes I even drop in the batter by flowing it from the mixing bowl into the cake pan from a 1 feet high distance to really get rid of the big air bubbles. Just follow her video and it’ll be fine!
Pandan Chiffon Cake
Makes 1 8-inch (21 cm) chiffon cake
Pandan Chiffon Cake adapted from Kitchen Tigress

100 g pandan leaves (she recommends only soft and moist young leaves, to she bought 250 g and used only 100 g of the innermost, light green leaves)
70 g freshly squeezed coconut milk, undiluted

180 g egg whites
½ tsp cream of tartar
50 g sugar

60 g egg yolks
50 g sugar
60 g vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
100 g cake flour
1 tsp baking powder

To make Pandan Chiffon Cake

Preheat oven to 180°C (355°F).

Wash and roughly chop pandan leaves. Blend with coconut milk and 1 tbsp water. Strain, pressing leaves hard. Discard pulp. Set aside green liquid, which should weigh 95 g.

Whisk egg whites with sugar and cream of tartar till just reaching stiff peaks. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar till pale, thick and creamy (ribbon stage). Add green coconut milk, then vegetable oil, whisking till evenly mixed. Gradually add flour mixture, along with salt, again whisking till just evenly mixed. Add egg whites in 3 batches, whisking gently by hand in electric whisk’s direction. Scrape down with spatula before mixing last batch of egg whites.

Bang mixing bowl against worktop 2-3 times to remove air bubbles. Pour batter into 21 cm 2-piece chiffon tin that’s not non-stick, slowly so that air bubbles still trapped in the batter are released. Run a chopstick round side of tin to remove more air bubbles. Level and smooth top.

Bake cake in bottom of oven till risen and almost level with top of tin, about 15 minutes. Cake should now be very slightly brown and not cracked. Place baking tray in top of oven to block top heat. Continue baking till inserted skewer comes out clean, 20 minutes or so. Cake should now be slightly cracked. Remove tray from top of oven. Continue baking till top of cake is dry and medium-brown, another 5-10 minutes (around 7½ minutes). Remove cake from oven. Invert, leave till cool, an hour or so. Cut and enjoy!

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