Sad to say, as a child growing up, I only associated pandan cake as this artifically green and airy sponge cake, with lots of small holes and had a slightly rough texture. Usually, we were given one as a gift, when a friend or relative stopped by. They were usually store bought as it was a lot a work to produce something that could be bought quite cheaply. Most had a slightly chewy bite and would bounce back when pressed. The better ones were just soft and sweet while the bad ones were flavoured with a tad too much coconut or pandan or were not soft enough.
Oh by the way, pandan is otherwise also known as "screwpine". The flavour, which comes from the leaves, pairs beautifully with coconut and as such, they enhance desserts with a fresh and greeny fragrance.
As mentioned, pandan chiffon cake can be mass produced and was cheap. But because no store-bought variety could be as good as homemade, and much less when it is a favourite amongst my family and J included, it would justify all the work and trouble needed to make my own. This was actually my second attempt. Compared to my first, the experiment, I improved significantly this time around. The results were outstanding. The cake rose beautifully and the cake was soft and fluffy but yet dense enough to satisfy. Much, much, better than any of the ones I have had eaten and that was a general consensus. If any flaw at all, I thought the pandan flavour was lacking but nothing a bit more artificial essence could not fix.
Finally, the real pandan chiffon cake has spoken.
SE's Real Pandan Chiffon Cake
- 6 egg whites
- 125 grams fine caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 6 egg yolks
- 100 grams granulated sugar
- 1 tsp pandan essence
- 5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 100 ml coconut cream
- 100 grams cake flour
- 40 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 180C. Clean a 9" tube pan with a removable base and make sure it is oil and grease free.
Beat egg whites with caster sugar and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
Cream egg yolks with granulated sugar to a light and creamy texture. Add pandan essence, vegetable oil and coconut cream and mix well.
Sift together cake flour, all-purpose flour and baking powder. Sift the flour mixture again, into the egg yolk mixture and mix well.
Pour the egg yolk and flour batter into stiff egg whites. Fold quickly to mix, with a metal or rubber spatula. Pour the batter into prepared tube pan.
Bake for 45 minutes until the top is brown and firm to the touch. Flip the cake pan over atop a bottle to prevent the cake from falling. Let cool overnight before using a long knife to loosen the sides of the cake pan.