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Divide approx. 30g of the cooked noodles to each chicken soup portion just before serving

Pandan Chiffon Cake has a light and airy texture reminiscent to Angel food cake, which gets its unique flavour from pandan extract and coconut milk. Known as Kueh Pandan in Singapore, it holds a rich history that can be traced back to the fusion of Dutch cake-making techniques with locally grown pandan leaves and coconut.

How to eat Pandan Chiffon Cake

Traditionally served undecorated, it has been a cherished morning or afternoon tea snack. However, for special occasions, a touch of fresh cream and fruit adds an extra layer of indulgence.

This beloved cake is enjoyed year-round in Southeast Asia, particularly during Chinese New Year. As someone who grew up in Singapore, I have fond memories of indulging in this fragrant and delicious treat from my favourite bakery, Bengawan Solo. The aroma, flavour and fluffy texture bring back great memories so naturally I was delighted when I found pandan leaves and essence easily here in Austria.

Several assemble stuffed aloo potato dosas.
What is pandan?

Pandan is the extract derived from the long, green pandan leaves, Pandanus amaryllifolius, or Screwpine, grown locally in most Southeast Asian countries.

A bunch of fresh pandan leaves

It’s known as the “Asian vanilla” and once bruised or pounded, it imparts a unique sweet flavour to cakes, desserts, savoury dishes and drinks. When combined with coconut, as is done in this recipe, it borders between vanilla, banana and almond in flavour. The flavour seems to differ between people’s taste buds but everyone would agree it is unique and delicious.

When added as an extract to cakes and desserts, it turns the batter into an attractive green colour. Whereas in savoury dishes, the pandan leaf is tied in a knot and added to flavour rice or curries without colouring the dish.

What is better, fresh extract or store-bought pandan essence?

If you can easily purchase fresh or frozen pandan leaves, making the extract involves blitzing the leaves with water in a blender, then passing it through a lined sieve and allowing it to settle in a glass jar for 24 hours to separate the concentrated extract from the pandan juice.

Store-bought pandan essence is convenient to use, but it tends to contain additives, colouring and is usually synthetic (ie chemically produced). Use it sparingly as the colouring can be on the intense side compared to the freshly made pandan extract.

Colour comparison

Here you can see the colour difference between the two pandan flavourings. The first photo of the decorated cake used a few drops of store-bought essence, while the second photo of the undecorated cake used only freshly made extract. Although the shades of green differed, the flavours were the same. Children tend to love the brighter, more vibrant green.

What pan should be used to bake Pandan Chiffon Cake?

The tube pan used to make pandan chiffon cakeThe classic pan used is a springform tube pan that has small feet at the base. The feet allow the cake to cool down while suspended after baking. It is important to not grease the tube pan as this delicate cake needs the surface to cling to during baking and cooling.

Cooling the tube pan upside down to slowly release the cake

If you already have an Angel food cake tin, this is suitable to use instead of a tube pan with feet. When cooling down in this tin, make sure to have the tin suspended over a wire mesh or rack.

Ingredients needed to make Pandan Chiffon Cake

FUN FACT

Did you know that the Dutch are crazy about Pandan chiffon cake? It gained popularity in the Netherlands due to its historical link to Indonesia.​

Gluten-Free Pandan Chiffon Cake

by Sandra, Fun Without Gluten
Pandan Chiffon Cake is a light sponge cake similar to Angel food cake but flavoured with pandan extract and coconut milk. This interesting cake is enjoyed all year round in Southeast Asia, especially during Chinese New Year.
Traditionally, pandan chiffon cake is sold undecorated and served as a light morning or afternoon tea snack. For special occasions, decorating the tops with fresh cream and fruit gives it an extra special touch and another layer of flavour.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course baking, Dessert, Kids' Snacks, Party Food
Cuisine Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

Fresh Pandan Extract (optional)

  • 50 g fresh pandan leaves
  • 100 ml water

Pandan Chiffon Cake

  • 5 eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 140 g fine white sugar
  • 90 ml neutral oil e.g. vegetable or sunflower
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 90 ml coconut milk
  • ½ tsp store-bought pandan essence   if not using fresh pandan extract
  • 1-2 drops green food dye optional, only add if you like your cake extra green in colour or if your extract is too light.
  • 75 g store-bought or homemade gluten-free self-raising flour
  • ¾ tsp cream of tartar

To decorate

  • 150 ml fresh cream
  • 5 strawberries, cut in half
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 10 blueberries
  • 7 whole mint leaves
  • Fresh pandan leaves, tied in a knot optional

Instructions
 

FRESH PANDAN EXTRACT (OPTIONAL)

    Preparing the fresh pandan extract

    • Wash the leaves thoroughly under running water and pat the leaves dry with a tea towel.
      A bunch of fresh pandan leaves
    • Remove any hard, white stems with scissors.
      snipping the pandan leaves with scissors
    • Snip the leaves into small pieces, discarding any brown pieces.
      Snipped pandan leaves
    • Weigh the leaves and add them to a food processor with the water.
      Blitz the pandan leaves

    Extracting the juice

    • Blitz the leaves and water for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides. Continue blending until it appears semi-smooth.
      The blitzed pandan leaf pulp
    • Transfer the pulp mixture to a sieve lined with a cheesecloth or clean tea towel while resting over a bowl.
      The pulp transferred to a lined sieve to extract the juice
    • Using a spoon, press down on the pulp to release as much juice as possible.
    • Followed by twisting the ends of the cheesecloth and squeezing by hand to release the remaining juice.
      Squeezing the pandan juice by hand
    • Pour the pandan juice into a small jar and cover it. Place the jar in the fridge to settle for 24 hours without disturbing the jar.
      The fresh pandan extract separating from the juice

    Removing the extract the next day

    • The pandan extract will settle and separate from the liquid at the bottom of the jar.
      The visual concentrated layer of the pandan extract at the bottom of the jar apart from the pandan juice
    • To remove the extract, spoon the juice* out of the jar into a bowl and stop when you have reached the dark layer of extract. There will be a very thin layer but as it is so concentrated, a teaspoon or two will flavour and colour the cake light to bright green.
    • Any remaining extract and juice can be stored in the refrigerator for one week.
    • TIP: The juice* is delicious when added together with coconut milk to Singaporean, Malaysian or Indonesian curries and rice. Chill or freeze if not used immediately.

    PANDAN CHIFFON CAKE

      Preparing the cake

      • Separate the eggs using three bowls. One to hold the egg whites, the second one to hold the egg yolks and the third one to separate the eggs one at a time to prevent any accidental egg yolk from dripping into the egg white.
        Separating the eggs using three bowls
      • In a stand mixer or medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar, oil and vanilla extract for 5 mins until light and creamy.
      • In a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk and pandan extract or essence together.
        The coconut milk and pandan extract mixed in a small bowl
      • Add the coconut milk to the egg yolks, beating well.
        Adding the pandan coconut mixture to the egg yolk mixture
      • Using a balloon whisk, mix the flour into the egg yolk mixture in two batches. Set aside.
        Adding the self-raising flour to the pandan mixture
      • Whisk the egg whites in a large glass or ceramic bowl until frothy and add the cream of tartar.
        Adding the cream of tartar to the foamy egg whites
      • Continue whisking until stiff peaks form.
        Stiff egg whites
      • Gently whisk the egg whites in several batches in the egg yolk mixture, using the balloon whisk.
        Folding in the egg whites into the pandan mixture
      • Transfer the cake batter to an ungreased tube pan. The cake will rise and climb up the ungreased sides of the pan.
        Pouring the pandan chiffon cake batter into the ungreased tube pan
      • Drag a skewer or small spatula throughout the mixture to release any bubbles and tap the pan on the countertop several times.
        Removing large air bubbles by running a spatula through the cake batter

      Baking

      • Preheat the oven to 170°C/335°F.
      • Bake on the second lowest shelf for 50-55 mins or until the cake feels springy to the touch.
      • Remove from the oven and immediately flip it over a wire rack.
        Cooling the tube pan upside down to slowly release the cake
      • Leave it to cool down in this position. The cake will slowly leave the sides of the pan while cooling down.
      • Once completely cooled down, run a knife or spatula around the pan's outer sides, inner sides and top part to release the cake onto a serving platter.
        Removing the base with the help of spatula being run along the base

      Decorating

      • Whip the cream until firm peaks form.
      • Slice the fruit and set aside on a small plate.
      • Spread the cream only on the top part of the cake.
        Frosting the cake with whipped cream
      • Decorate the cream-topped cake with the pre-cut fruit and mint.
        Adding pre-cut fruit and mint leaves on top of the frosted cake
      • Serve immediately or store in the fridge until serving time.
        The completed frosted pandan chiffon cake
      • Using a serrated knife, slice gently and slowly. When serving with cream and fruit, the cake may be top-heavy when sliced, therefore I recommend placing the cake on its side to prevent it from toppling over.

      Notes

      • Undecorated cake keeps at room temperature in a plastic container for 2 days.
      • Best eaten on the same day if decorated and any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for the rest of the day.
      • Undecorated slices are suitable to freeze providing they are wrapped well in plastic and stored in a freezer-safe container.
      Keyword gluten-free asian dessert, gluten-free cake, gluten-free sponge, pandan cooking
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      The end result of the Asian chilli oil once it has cooled down
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