Pandan Chiffon Cake

I love pandan chiffon cake, but I only realised I love it after I have left Singapore for a few years. Pandan is one of those flavours that is so common that the locals always know it and yet never really think about it. At least for me that was the case. Now that I am away, I am crazy about it. Never would I have thought of making my own pandan extract from the leaves if I were still home!

Pandan waffles at Prima Deli, slices of pandan chiffon cake at bakeries, pandan kuih… they’re so common at home and I have never thought to learn to make them until now. In particular, I have a strong desire to learn to make pandan chiffon cake — One because its pandan; most westerners don’t know what pandan is and hence makes it even more uniquely South east asian. I have since learnt that pandan is screwpine, which I am sure many other Sgporeans already know….
Secondly it is because it’s chiffon cake. You don’t get chiffon cakes here in English/European cafes and bakeries…most of my colleagues don’t know what they are.

After many tries and failures making chiffon cakes, I have finally made a  pandan chiffon cake. I adapted from Jo the tart queen’s recipe

Ingredients:
Makes 1 x 23 cm cake

Group A – sift together
1 cup plain flour + 2 Tbsp cornflour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Group B
6 egg yolks (**small – medium eggs)
3 Tbsp caster sugar

Group C
Pandan extract (as thick as possible) + coconut milk to a total of 180ml
40ml vegetable oil

Group D (meringue)
6 egg whites (ensure bowl is clean and dry)
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar (or cream of tartar)
4 Tbsp caster sugar

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C
2. Whisk yolks + sugar till pale and foamy.
3. Add group C and whisk briefly.
4. Sift group A into the yolk batter; alternate between sifting and whisking.
5. Using an electric beater, beat egg whites at low speed until foamy.
6. Add white wine vinegar, beat few seconds.
7. Add caster sugar gradually, alternate between adding and beating.
8. Beat at medium – high speed until stiff peaks are formed.
9. Add 1/3 of meringue to yolk batter and stir to mix.
10. Add another 1/3 and fold till all whites are incorporated.
11. Add the rest of the meringue and fold. Ensure no more white streaks can be seen.
12. Gently pour into the chiffon tin.
13. Tap the tin firmly on the kitchen top 2 – 3 times to remove big air bubbles.
14. Bake in the oven for 1 hr.(** I loosely covered the top with aluminium foil throughout – the foil should be removed at the end to allow the top to get brown.)
15. When completed, take out of the over and invert over a funnel immediately. Allow cake to cool completely before removing from the tin.

Result:
Faintly fragrant, quite soft and fluffy, just right sweetness – I am pretty happy with this although it is still not quite like the chiffon cake from bakeries! I should have removed the aluminium tent in the last 10min to allow the heat to get to the top. Also my cake is not so green as I didn’t use any pandan paste or commercial extract. It would be better to get thick pandan extract and done so directly with coconut milk but my extract was obtained previously with water and frozen so they weren’t thick at all. My friend said it tasted too eggy to her so perhaps I should also use 5 yolks 6 whites like the original recipe, or rather following the weight of the egg yolks and whites.

Perhaps the next chiffon cake will be finally perfect!

 

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