How to make pandan chiffon cake

Today I'm going to show you how to make my mom's favourite cake - Pandan Chiffon Cake. My mom would buy this for us growing up in Taiping. To make this cake again - and taking a bite of it - is a way for me to relive a past that's simpler, happier, and most importantly and paradoxically, present.

This is the original recipe I googled to begin with. And this post adds to that in terms of visual instructions, lessons and intuitions from me making over 10 of them to date.

So hang on to your shorts and let me show you how I make my Pandan Chiffon Cake.

Pandan juice

First, we need to get ourselves some fresh pandan leaves. They are easy to plant and grow.

Then cut them into chunks of 3cm each - or any length at which they can start blending.

Cut pandan leaves into pieces into a blender
Once they are all cut, pour some water just enough to get the blending going.

Blend it like 5 minutes. Or until you feel like it's got some super green liquid going in there.

Then use a steel filter and a spoon to squeeze the juice out of the pandan mess.

(I took this photo after-the-fact. I forgot. sorry. but you get the idea yah?)

OK we are done with pandan juice. What I do next is lay some groundworks.

Heat the Oven

Yeah you need an oven...sorry :(

Oven settings:

My current settings. You can start with OG receipe's and trial-and-error from there.

Bring out 'chiffon tube pan'

No need oil or water here. Leave it alone as it is. Dry.

Also, notice the 3 protruding 'legs'. They will support the pan when you tip over for cooling after you took it out of oven.

A pan where the final batter will go

Get ready to measure with spoon units

Four of these different 'spoon metrics' is all you gonna need

OK now we can play with flour!

Cake flour, baking powder, and salt

Get a bowl.

Measure each of the 3 items above and throw them all in that bowl.

Mix them with a whisk or whatever you got.

100g-ish of cake flour

OK we are done with this bowl! It will come into play again later. Put it aside first.

Next we are going to work with eggs.

Before we do that, we need to get another two bowls(ya im just gonna keep calling them bowls).

One big bowl and one smaller bowl

I said we are going to work with eggs. Specifically, we are gonna separate egg yolk and egg white - the egg white will be in the big bowl, and the egg yolk will be in the smaller bowl. I will show you how to separate them. For now, just get the bowls.

1 big bowl and 1 smaller bowl

Ok now just another tiny small step before we do the eggs - let's put some sugar in the smaller bowl.

45g sugar in the small bowl

Put 45 grams sugar in the smaller bowl in which the egg yolks are going to end up.

45g-ish sugar in the smaller bowl

OK! Now let's smash some eggs!

Separate egg yolk and egg white

Get 5 eggs with decent size. Small eggs won't give you good amount of egg white which as we will see is where most of the volume of the cake comes from.

5 eggs

Ok, time to separate egg whites and egg yolk! The reason we are doing this is that we will blend the egg whites till they become super fluffy(you will see later). And only with egg whites! So you want to be very careful here: DO NOT CONTAMINATE THE BOWL THAT CONTAINS EGG WHITES WITH ANY - I repeat ANY - EGG YOLK. If somehow a egg yolk breaks and contaminated the egg whites, forget it - it won't work. It won't get fluffy. Happened to me once.

All done! No egg yolk contamination! phew

Next we are going to work on the egg yolk bowl.

Work on the bowl that has egg yolks

First, whisk the egg yolk and sugar till they become kinda bubbly, or color looks like lighter color of egg yolk, or the sugar is completely melted.

This is when I stop whisking

OK next add 85 - 90 ml of coconut milk into the bowl. I go for 90ml now to increase the coconut aroma.

Next, take a everyday normal spoon, and add 9 spoonful of the pandan juice. It has increased from 4 spoons since I started whipping the egg whites abit longer(this will become clearer later).

Next, add 3 tbs of vegetable oil.

Ok we are done adding stuff into this bowl! Let's give them a quick whisk and then add our cake flour that we prepared earlier.

OK we are done with this bowl for now. Put it aside. Now we are gonna work on the egg whites bowl. But before that, we need more sugar which we need to add when whipping the egg whites later.

55g of sugar

Prepare 55g of sugar in the bowl that previously contained the cake flour coz its dry(and one less bowl to clean afterwards).

55g of sugar in a dry bowl

Now bring the egg whites bowl to the forefront coz its about to get some whipping.

Work on the bowl that has egg whites

Our only goal here is to whip the egg whites until it becomes 'stiff peak'

To that end, first add ½ tsp cream of tartar to the bowl.

Now here comes the whipping. I just use portable hand blender. Start adding the 55g sugar when the thing becomes frothy.

(Warning: Turn down your audio first because the blender can be too loud)

Getting to stiff peaks. Whipping forms air pockets hence making it fluffy

Something I learned recently is you can whip much longer even after you get the stiff peaks. It will get more dense and creamy. And this allows me to increase my dosage of pandan juice and coconut milk(to increase the aroma) without the whole batter get too liquid and leaking out when you pour it into the pan(also happend to me once..)

Also, this result of this step is what will give chiffon cake its spongy character because of all the air pockets trapped!

Next! We are going to mix the egg yolk batter with this batter in a manner called 'folding'.

Folding two batters

It sounds technical but 'folding' is basically where you gently mixing two batters with your whisk or spatula from bottom to top. Do it slowly here coz we don't wanna collapse the air pockets.

Mix them well until you don't see pandan green streaks when going from bottom to top.

Pour into the pan

Pour the batter to the pan and the batter will slowly fill up the entire pan.

After that, slowly work your whisk through the pan to even it out.

Put it in oven

Put it at lowest rank. And set the timer 45 - 50 minutes. I put 50 to get more aroma out of it.

As much as you are tempted, don't open the oven to poke it to see if it's already cooked or not. No, just leave it alone.

Looking good!

Tip pan over and cool it

This is an important step. Once timer is up, you get it out and quickly turn the pan upside down. And let the pan sit on its 3 'legs' and let it cool. Why? Because we don't want to collapse the structures that have formed around the air pockets.

Upside down the pan to cool

And we did it!

Pandan Chiffon Cake


Once it's out of oven and cooled, put it in fridge! ☘