Monday 17 August 2009

Malaysian Pandan Chiffon Cake

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*14 June 2010- The original recipe below contained 100ml of oil- I have since amended that to only 50ml as I've found it produces a lighter, fluffier sponge. If you prefer an even drier and less moist cake, try omitting one yolk or reducing the amount of sugar slightly.

Coconut milk and pandan (screwpine leaves) essence make this a light, spongey and deliciously aromatic Malaysian classic. The secret to its characteristic fluffy yet moist texture comes from whipping the egg whites very well and inverting the pan immediately onto its three "legs" once removed from the oven, so the sponge can stretch and retain its airy volume whilst cooling upside down. Don't worry, the cake will stick and not fall out :)

I use pandan paste (a mix of essence and green colouring) which is easily available in any Asian shop- if you can be bothered, feel free to blend fresh pandan leaves with water and extract the natural juice.

You MUST use a chiffon/angel food cake tube pan (pictured below) and not a regular tin- the hollow tube in the centre is essential for the correct circulation of heat.

Malaysian Pandan Chiffon Cake
* fits a 10" or 22cm pan or larger*

Whisk together until thick in a large bowl:
6 egg yolks
170g sugar

Stir in until evenly green:
50ml vegetable oil
50ml thick coconut cream (or use 100ml thinner coconut milk and omit the 50ml water used to dilute the pandan paste below)
1 tsp pandan paste, diluted in 50 ml water (or 50 ml pandan juice)

Sift into the pandan mixture and fold until well-mixed:
190g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Using a separate bowl and electric whisk that are completely dry, clean and grease-free, beat the following on maximum speed for a good 5-8 minutes until a thick white meringue is formed:
6 egg whites (there must be no traces of yolk)
90g sugar
Few drops lemon juice

How the meringue mixture should look after beating- stiff enough to leave trails
on your whisk and form soft peaks

Fold two tablespoons of the meringue into the pandan batter. Add the rest and fold thoroughly until well-combined. Pour into a dry ungreased chiffon pan and bake at 180 C (160 C fan-assisted) for 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and invert immediately (if your pan comes without the protuding tabs to support it upside down, invert the pan and insert the neck of a bottle or a metal funnel into the inner tube to balance). Leave to cool in this position and do not unmould cake until completely cold.

To remove, scrape all around the sides with a thin spatula and let the cake slip out gently of the pan. Scrape the bottom to remove the base/tube.

*To make sure it has a completely flat surface to sit on, I cheat and cut the tops off my cakes if they are rounded before unmoulding :)*

Slice and enjoy!


  1. wow. i never knew these were made with coconut cream. it's probably why they always smell so amazing and taste so good. :) glad to have this recipe now. x

  2. This is probably my favourite cake in the world! Mmm I haven't made it in a while, I really want to now :D

  3. I've been wanting to use pandan for so long. I keep seeing it on blogs but I never have used it. It looks like it would be wonderfully fragrant ( and i love the color!!)

  4. very beautiful looking light cake!

  5. Thanks everyone, yes coconut and pandan are a match made in heaven, you MUST try it if you haven't!

    Makes a large looking cake, but chiffon is so light and spongey you can eat a LOT of slices at a go :)

  6. I HATE you! I should never come to your blog. EVER! Bah! I've been craving pandan goodness for so long now (cendol comes to mind too...) and then you dangle this is front of me.
    Hmmm... it actually sounds rather easy... maybe I'll do that for the SE Asian foodfest a few of us are throwing tomorrow...
    Thanks for sharing, dear! :)
    Perhaps you can send one of these across the pond... you reckon it'll get here in one piece?

  7. Haha perhaps it could if I packed it in a sturdy box!:) but it is easy, although you need to have a chiffon cake pan (which hopefully you have/can easily buy?)

    SEA foodfest sounds great!!


  8. Bought the pan today... excited to try it out tomorrow.
    Asian market actually had frozen pandan leaves, but I decided to go with the extract/concentrate instead.
    I'll let you know how it goes... perhaps there'll be pics if it's gorgeous. If it's a troll, well, hopefully it'll taste good anyway.

  9. Cool, looking forward to an update:) as long as you follow the instructions e.g. flipping it upside down immediately when baked etc it should be fine! x

  10. is that alright if i jus use the normal pan but not the proper chiffon pan ?

  11. Hi Racheling,

    Unfortunately not, as I specified above it has to be a chiffon tube pan in order for the heat to distribute and for rising to occur properly.

  12. Ok, so this might be my first foray into cake baking without Evan's mum holding my hands. SCARY!

    But anyway, so coconut milk, not cream, will be ok right? Also, my other question is, we only get pandan leaves here in Beijing. Any ideas how I can process that into pandan juice? Just blend? Will that work? (i'm a total amateur when it comes to baking)

  13. Yay Gaikkie, am excited for you! :)

    Yup coconut milk is fine. Personally I've never done it but I know you can blend about 6-8 pandan leaves in a blender with some water, say 100ml, then squeeze the juice out through a strainer bag (the kind they use to make kopi in kopitiam) or press it through a sieve. Throw away the pulp and use the liquid.

    So you managed to get a chiffon pan/electric whisk etc? Make sure to follow the instructions closely i.e. having no moisture/oil in your egg whites and tipping the pan upside down once baked and you should be fine!:)


  14. Great looking cake! I want to try your recipe sometime. I just baked a pandan cake today for the first time, using another recipe but the problem was that there was this liquid that started to seep out at the bottom, eventhough the cake was pretty much baked. Do you know how I could I avoid that? Or what caused it in the first place?

  15. Hi Le,

    That has never happened to this cake so I'm not sure why liquid oozed out of the other one, perhaps the egg whites were not incorporated properly before you put it in the oven?

    Give this recipe a go, as long as you whip the whites very stiff and invert the pan so it cools upside down it should turn out :)

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