Pandan chiffon is one of those bake stuff that gives you the huge satisfaction when it is homemade. Huge. Doesn’t matter if it cost very little in the market. It is a head-inflating moment when I watched it rose to a big fat fluffy cake.
Since I have abundant access to pandan leaves (or screwpine leaves), I used fresh pandan as flavoring and coloring agent. They grow wild, almost too wild at home and at the office. I choose to use medium-sized pandan leaves. The young ones smell great but the leaves aren’t green enough. The old, bigger leaves have great deep yet vibrant green hues, but the fragrance is not the best. So I settled with the ones in the middle of both. Grab a bunch of leaves and cut them up into smaller pieces. Add a bit of water and process the pandan in blender. Strain pandan pulp in fine muslin cloth or strainer. The water that comes out of it is good for coloring and flavoring.
I have to admit that I was a bit worried about using fresh leaves, as I wasn’t sure it would be green enough. The first batch I made I choose to use instant pandan paste. I went overboard and the batter turned into scary green liquid. That batch met its destiny in the trash right away. Then I made second batch with the real pandan. It was not bright green, and it was quite subtly pandan scented. At least it didn’t look like Shrek’s food.
We also use the pandan for other stuff too. Chop up a bunch of them finely, arrange them in a decorative bowl and leave them in bedroom or living room. The vanilla-like scent brightens the rooms. Mother likes to fill up these little muslin bags with chopped pandan leaves and keeps the bags under car seats. Artificial car fresheners make her sick and she prefers pandan flavors in the car. My friends say our cars smell like dessert all the time!
I used about 20 leaves for the cake. Wash them clean under running water.
Chop up the leaves into smaller bits.
Add about 1/2 cup of water or less into electric blender together with chopped pandan leaves.
Process them till smooth
As fine as possible.
Strain the liquid using strainer or muslin cloth and discard of the rest of the leaves
The green coloring is vibrant and beautiful and fragrant. Of course not as strong and as bright as artificial pandan paste. But it is better this way. If no pandan leaves available, substitute with one tablespoon of pandan paste.
Combine egg yolks, coconut milk and pandan extract in a mixing bowl.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and add them into the bowl. Add sugar too.
Add vegetable oil as well.
Whisk them using a wire whisk until all ingredients are mixed well.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and sugar together with an electric mixer on high speed till slightly stiff, about 1 – 2 minutes. Fold egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture slowly, in about 3-4 additions.
Do not over-mix.
Pour batter into a 22cm tube pan, not greased.
Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes, 160 degree celsius.
If you are using old-style convection oven, use lower heat only. Do not open the oven door during baking. If you want to check the cake for even baking, do so at the last 5 – 10 minutes of baking.
Turn the pan upside down or propped it against a bottle. Leave to cool for about 25-30 minutes. Do not cheat. If the cake hasn’t hold its shape properly before removed from pan, it would deflate.
Use a serrated bread knife to losen the side of pan. Pop the bottom up to release the cake. Serve warm or cold with ice lemon tea. This cake doesn’t keep well. Because of the addition of coconut milk, I think, or so I have always been told. But I am sure it will be finished within hours of baking. So now worries there.
Pandan Chiffon Cake
7 egg yolks
75 g coconut milk
4 g pandan paste, or extract of 20 fresh pandan leaves
150 g flour
4 g baking powder
95 g sugar
3 g salt
83 g vegetable oil
7 egg whites
100 g sugar
Preheat oven to 160 degree celsius.
(A) Combine egg yolks, coconut milk and pandan paste (or extract) in a mixing bowl.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture and sugar into the bowl.
Add vegetable oil and whisk everything to combine.
(B) In a separate and clean bowl, beat egg whites and sugar together till it forms soft peak, about 1-2 minutes.
Slowly fold egg white into egg yolk mixture in 3-4 additions.
Pour cake mixture into an ungreased tube pan.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Flip the pan upside down against a bottle on kitchen counter and let cool for 25-30 minutes.
Losen side of cake with a knife.
To be consumed within 1 day.