Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hello! Pandan Chiffon Cake

Whew! I am finally done with my cheesecake order. Glad that my friend's colleagues and boss liked it. They mentioned that I can start selling it outside. That was a sign of relief and at the same time some encouragement to me. Even though I have a certain level of confidence in my New York cheesecakes, there was this concern circling me. They had to be at least decent tasting to others as I do not want to embarrass my friend. As to whether I would want to start selling it, it would be highly unlikely. Currently, the only orders I would entertain would be from friends and family members.

Now that the cheesecake baking marathon is over, it is time to bake stuff for my own consumption. Its been ages since I said Hi to my long time friend - the Pandan Chiffon Cake. This was the very first baked good that was produced by my oven after several failed attempts.  

Pandan is a common name known by southeast asians. It is also known as Screwpine to western countries, just like chinese sparsley is known as coriander or cilantro. In Singapore, we use it mainly to prepare Nasi Lemak, peranakan kuihs (colourful and dense chewy snacks), curry and not forgetting our signature green pandan chiffon cakes. Very often, pandan leaves are used in conjunction with coconut, just like the combination of rum and raisins. When the two are combined, a 'lethal' and highly addictive flavour is developed.

I came across a pandan chiffon cake recipe from Tested and Tasted and decided to try it out. The recipe was provided by Judy Koh from Creative Culinaire in the Sunday Times Lifestyle section. Something was puzzling me when I was browsing the recipe. It uses 4 egg whites but uses a 23cm chiffon pan. Previously, I have baked chiffon cakes which required 5 egg whites in a 21 cm pan and the size was just nice. The instructions also stated using a temperature of 190 degrees C which is much higher than what was expected.

Sticking to my instincts and experience, I baked the batter in a 21cm pan at 175 degrees C and reduced it to 170 degrees C. It rose to half the height of the pan, which was something I expected. Afterall, it could'nt have risen higher than a chiffon cake that uses 5 egg whites. Judging from the height of the finished cake, baking it in a 18cm pan would be more appropriate.

When the cake was done, I inverted the pan and rested its 3 'legs' on 3 round pans. Overall, the combination looks like a metal drum set. The cake turned out quite alright, except it sunk a little towards the inner perimeter, which was a first for me. Perhaps I should have stuck to 175 degrees C all the way. Looks like I have lost my mojo for chiffon cakes. Despite the slight imperfection, the cake was polished off in less than 3 hours. I ate three fifths of the light textured snack and my younger brother ate the remaining 4 slices in one shot just before he was tucking in to his takeaway economic mixed vegetables rice which was meant for dinner. So I inquired if he was hungry or the cake tasted good. He gave a unreserved reply agreeing to the latter - 好吃~

Pandan Chiffon Cake (Recipe slightly adapted from Judy Koh's recipe in Sunday Times Lifestyle section)
Serving size: 8 -10 slices
Equipment and materials:
1) Stand electric beater/ handheld electric beater
2) Measuring spoon set
3) Spatula
4) Mixing bowl
5) Metal bowl
5) Wire rack
6) 18 cm or 21 cm chiffon tin (oil-free)
7) Balloon whisk
5 pandan leaves
3 tbs water
50g egg yolk (about 3 yolks)
30g castor sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tbs + 1 tsp corn oil
2tbs + 1 tsp coconut milk (I used packet coconut cream)
1/4 tsp pandan paste
55g cake flour
120g egg whites at room temperature (about 3 to 4 egg whites)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
40g castor sugar
1) Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
2) Wash the pandan leaves and cut into thin strips. Blend with the water. Add more water if needed. Pass the pandan puree through a sieve and set aside 3 tbs of the pandan juice.
3) In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 30g sugar, salt, corn oil, coconut milk, pandan juice and pandan paste until smooth and combined.
4) Sieve cake flour into egg yolk mixture and mix until smooth and combined.
5) In a metal bowl, beat eggs whites, cream of tartar and 40g sugar starting with low speed. When the egg whites turn frothy, slowly increase the speed to high and beat until egg whites are at stiff peaks. This is when the bowl is overturned, the egg whites would not budge. Egg whites form shiny and creamy upright peaks when beater is withdrawn.
6) Fold one third of beaten egg whites with a balloon whisk into egg yolk mixture to lighten and mix well. Incorporate the rest of the egg whites and fold gently to obtain a smooth uniformly coloured foamy batter. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a spatula to ensure batter is well mixed.
7) Pour batter into chiffon cake tin carefully and bake for 40-50 minutes.
8) Invert chiffon cake tin to cool before unmoulding.  

1) Chiffon tin must be oil-free. Do not grease, line or flour the tin.
2) Metal bowl for beating whites and beater must be oil-free. Egg whites should be at room temperature. These are necessary to obtain maximum volume for beaten egg whites.


  1. Looks soft and fluffy. Although most chiffon cakes are high, taste and texture are what that matters.
    I used to bake it in a square tin and I had to give it extra baking time to make sure the centre is cooked. And it turned out well. No shrinkage.
    But then I was using Betty Crocker's softasilk flour which was a sure winner compared to other types of flour. Cheers!

  2. ZY, you impressed me even more leh ... Are you on a baking-and-blogging marathon or what! LOL! How do you manage your time? Maybe I need to learn from you in terms of time management when we meet up. Usually after work, I'm too tired to do all these except sitting in front of my laptop ... and then, Zzz ...

    Well, as long as the chiffon tastes good, the appearance doesn't really matter.

    You also impressed me with your appetite leh ... LOL! How could you finish 3/5 of the cake in a short time!? Man, I can't ... My figure would have been "distorted" if I hadn't controlled myself. How I wish I'm born with greater metabolism. I gain weight so easily while my bros don't ... 佩服,佩服。。。你和你的弟弟/哥哥真厲害。。。

  3. Congratulations on a successful Pandan Cake!

    I couldn't agree with you more - about the 'lethal' combination of pandan + coconut. Whenever I make this cake, it's also gone in a flash!

  4. Pandan and coconut is marriage made in heaven.

    The cake indeed looked shorter. I always bake my 4 eggs chiffon in a 23cm pan and they come out pretty tall, at least 4 inch tall.
    But as long as you like it, that's all that matters. Temperature wise... you know your oven best and I always bake bread at 150C, which is far far lower than always stated in recipes, if I bake them any higher, they always brown too quickly. So, do what you think is suitable for you and your oven.

  5. Hi Busygran,

    Thanks =] Yup I agree that taste and texture is more impt. so long as the chiffon cakes turn out soft and fluffy it is good enough for me. My chiffon cakes never turn out high anyway. Guess the size of eggs and size of pans do affect the height. I dont think I have ever come across betty crocker's softassilk flour. would like to try it I have the chance.

    Hi Pei-lin,

    I am on sch hols now, so no much need to manage my time. just need to juggle my proj though.

    to me texture is of utmost importance. next come the taste. taste wont go wrong usually, but texture is subjected to many causes.

    I eat cakes/baked goods for breakfast, tea and supper or whenever i feel like it. Nowadays I control the frequency of baking so that I don bake so often. If not I will gobble them up as soon as they are done and that means getting fatter faster, haha. My metabolism is dropping actually. But I do exercise weekly and I have light meals for lunch.

    Hi NEL,

    Thanks for the encouragement. pandan and coconut is like just awesome!

    Hi Wendy,

    Wow! your cakes are tall for a 23cm pan. what is the size of eggs u used? the eggs i used are 55g-60g. My chiffon cakes never turn out tall, but I am fine with it. So far they turn out pretty sturdy and do not sink (except for this one, which sank slightly). The texture is usually soft, moist and fluffy too.

    My oven's temperature is pretty friendly with most recipes. when the temperature stated in a recipe is alot higher or lower than similar recipes, I would alter the temp so that I feel comfortable. sometimes we need to judge for ourselves and be flexible and confident.

  6. Your pandan cake texture looks light and soft. By looking at our cakes, the size of pan to bake made no much different, cause end result ...once you slice, it looks the same size hahahhaa

  7. Looks delicious, light and fluffy!! Yummy!

  8. But I have to say my chiffon cakes have higher flour content, which maybe explained why my cakes are taller and remained with their height even when cut. I also used 55-60gm eggs.

  9. Hi DG and Faithy,

    Thanks for the kind words

    Hi Wendy,

    I noticed that this recipe has lower flour and moisture content. Prefer the recipe from Prima flour website.

  10. Nice cake! I always love pandan chiffon cake, can never go wrong with this. BTW, you've got alot of cake pans!

  11. Hi Blessed Homemaker,

    Thanks! Yea agree that pandan chiffon cakes can never go wrong. 2 of the pans are 8 inch round and 1 is a 9 inch round. The 2 8-inch pans are to be used for layered cakes. However I only have one oven which can accomodate a single pan so I usually just need one pan. the other one is hardly used.

  12. Hi Bakertan,

    Though the cake looks a little shorter, the texture is SUPERB! The air bubbles are SO evenly distributed. I could never get that!

    Like you, the usual no. of eggs i've used for 21cm is 5 eggs. I've even gone up to 6 eggs before (well those eggs are 50g each).

    So, I guess do whatever works fine yea?

    Makes me wanna do chiffon experiments..hmm..

    p/s: what are you majoring in school now? It was interesting to know you're such a technical person, hehe

  13. Hi youfei,

    For my chiffon cakes, I scrape the bottom of my bowl alot to ensure the egg yolk batter is incorporated. I also use a balloon whisk to fold in the whites. When everything is properly mixed, I give the batter in the pan a bang on the table to release some of the bigger bubbles.

    Some people use 23cm pan for chiffons using 5 eggs cos theirs will overflow. Never happened to me.

    I dun dare to do chiffon cake experiments. They seem to be top delicate to handle.

    Currently I major in mechanical engineering. Technical? Hmm.. maybe only when it comes to baking. I like to be exact and detailed whereever possible, hahah. I also like to use mathemactics to help me with scaling of recipes. My calculator is my best friend sometimes before I start to bake anything =]


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Thank you and have a nice day! Cheers =]

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