That sounded rather mysterious and exotic when I found the recipe.
It’s apparently the Asian vanilla, but bears no resemblance in taste or smell to what we know as vanilla. It’s quite neutral in taste and is mainly used for colour and aroma as it has an aromatic, sweet grassy smell.
You can substitute pandan for actual vanilla, you just don’t get the colour or the grass taste (some would say that was a good thing!).
Needless to say, my local supermarket was right out of pandan leaves, extract and paste, so I used vanilla extract.
For this week’s Singapore Grand Prix, I attempted (note the word attempted) to make a Pandan Chiffon Cake, courtesy of a recipe from the Nyonya Cooking website:
Pandan Chiffon Cake
- 100 ml coconut milk
- 2 tbsp water
- 15 pandan leaves (or extract or paste)
- 5 egg yolks
- 80 g sugar
- 70 ml coconut oil (can substitute with other oil)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100 g cake flour
- 5 egg whites
- 1⁄2 tsp vinegar
- 1⁄2 tsp salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 150 C / 300 F / Gas Mark 2 / 130 C (Fan)
- Blend the pandan leaves with 2 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of coconut milk
- Sieve the blended pandan leaves to obtain the extract
- Set aside
- [NOTE, if you’re using extract, paste or vanilla extract just add straight to the water and milk]
- In one bowl, beat egg yolks until the colour lightens
- Add sugar and continue beating until mixture is even and creamy
- Add oil, (coconut or otherwise), the rest of the coconut milk and pandan leaves extract
- Mix well
- Add sifted baking powder and self-raising flour into the mixture
- Set aside
- In another bowl, to prepare the meringue, add sugar to egg whites a little at a time
- Beat at high speed until it is foamy
- Once it begins to foam, add vinegar
- Continue beating the egg whites at medium speed
- Add salt
- Beat the egg whites mixture until stiff. Do not overbeat
- Add the meringue into the batter in batches
- Fold in till batter and meringue are mixed thoroughly
- Slowly pour the batter into a mould while tilting the mixing bowl to get rid of air bubbles
- Use a rubber spatula or chopstick to quickly run through the batter to pop air bubbles
- Pop the cake in the oven
- Bake for about 1 hour or until golden brown
- Once brought out of the oven, place it upside down until it cools to room temperature
- Remove from tin
- Sprinkle with icing sugar
- Slice and serve
What went wrong??
Now, I followed the recipe to the absolute letter, well apart from the pandan extract and my cake did not rise.
Was that because I overbeat the meringue mixture? Or did I over-fold the meringue mixture into the egg yolk mixture?
Or, could it have been that my baking powder was slightly out of date??
The other thing that happened was the bottom of the cake (well from halfway down) didn’t seem to cook properly and resembled baked egg.
The bit that was cooked properly (the edges mainly) did taste OK. I reckon if made properly this cake would be lovely. Maybe I’ll give it another go, sometime…
I guess the main thing is though, at least I tried … and here’s how I got on:
Have you ever tried making this cake?
Do you think you will?
Or do you have any other recipe for a Singaporean cake that is easy to make.
Either way, let me know in the comments.
The F1 Bake Off will be back next week for the Russian GP and hopefully I’ll have more success