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Friday, June 20, 2008

Pandan Chiffon Cake


Pandan (Screwpine) chiffon cake must be the most well-loved chiffon cakes. I have read in the newspapers that artistes from Taiwan and Hong Kong raved about this 绿色蛋糕 (green cake) like it is some kind of ambrosia and would bring back boxes of them as gifts for their friends and relatives. To me, it is kinda strange phenomenon. Yes, I love it too but I will not go all out to buy it, let alone buy them as gifts (people might call me a cheapo behind my back). Perhaps we have taken things that are always available for granted. Pandan chiffon cakes can be easily available at neighbourhood bakeries. Correct me if I am wrong but I think it might have been made popular by Bengawan Solo. I think they are selling it at S$7 to S$8. Even BreadTalk came up with Strawberry chiffon cake (with frosting), costing S$18 for one. *Ahem~ which I will not buy. Just work out the sums and you will know why.

If I recall correctly, the Straits Times papers featured chiffon cakes recently. Most of us growing up eating it. I do not know anyone who doesn't like chiffon cake (let me know if you do). I think the combination of the pandan leaves and coconut milk is a match made in heaven, making it irresistable. On top of that, who could resist a soft and fluffy cake? To me, it is one of the comfort food. I am very fortunate to have a mom who cooks and bakes well. Chiffon cakes is one of her specialty. Her most popular flavours are Orange chiffon cakes and Pandan chiffon cakes. I remembered her baking 6 chiffon cakes in a row, one after another. Every one of them were perfect!

I didn't bake much when I was still single. When I picked up baking again, my first chiffon cake flopped. I followed some online recipes and failed miserably. I went back to my mom for help and she dug up her recipe and gave it to me. She told me what to look out for, tips and tricks to make a good chiffon cake. The 'shifu' (master) is right in front of me but I didn't see it. I must be blind. My chiffon cake recipes are modified based on her Pandan cake recipe. Strange how I make all those previous flavours but did not attempt the Pandan version. So here is my modified version of her chiffon cake, which yields the same soft and fluffy cake but with reduced sugar and fat.

Pandan Chiffon Cake
4 Egg Yolks
30g Fine Sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt
40g Corn Oil (*edited*)
140g Coconut Milk + Pandan Juice

*Take 130g~140g of coconut milk and blend 8~10 pieces of pandan leaves to get the above

120g Cake flour
1/2 tbsp Baking powder

*Sift 2x

5 egg whites
50g castor sugar
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar

1) In a bowl, using hand whisk, whisk yolks and sugar till sugar dissolves.

2) Add oil and salt, whisk and add coconut milk and pandan juice. Stir well.

3) Fold in sifted flour and mix well.

4) In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat till the whites are frothy. Add in sugar gradually and beat till soft peaks.

5) Add in Cream of Tartar and beat till stiff peaks.

6) Fold in 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture using a rubber spatula till incorporated.

7) Pour the mixture to the remaining egg whites and fold in gently till incorporated.

8) Pour the batter into a 21cm chiffon tube pan. Bang the pan on the table to get rid of bubbles.

9) Oil a piece of aluminium foil and cover the pan loosely. Bake at 170 deg.C for 10mins.

10) Turn down the temperature to 160 deg.C and bake for 20mins.

11) Reduce the temperature to 150 deg.C and bake for 10mins. Insert a skewer to check if the cake is done. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 to 10mins to brown the surface.

12) Remove from the oven and invert the pan. Run a sharp knife along the edges to remove the cake from pan when it's completely cooled.

*Note : As I usually bake at night during weekdays, the wet market is closed. Moreover, fresh coconut cannot last till I get home. I used chilled coconut milk instead. Those that are in sterilised pack, which water needs to be added before usage. I am not impressed with its taste. If possible, try to get fresh coconut milk.

**Note : I prefer not to use artificial flavouring such as pandan paste and colouring.

One thing to take note of my modified recipe is that it cannot keep well. For cakes to keep better, more sugar and fat is needed. I reduced just enough sugar to keep my parents and the egg whites happy. Thus should you use my recipe, I would suggest to finish it within 3 days, if it can last that long. Ahahah~ Else, please refrigerate what is left. Be sure to keep them in an airtight container as chiffon cakes will absorb other smells in the fridge.

Happy baking~ それじゃ~~

*Update 07/19 : A fellow blogger, Katherine spotted my typo. The corn oil used is supposed to be 40g instead of 20g. Apologies.


Anonymous said...

Hi there, greetings from Tsukuba, Jpn..
I just tried your recipe but I substitute the pandan juice and coconut milk with mango juice and milk, it still turned out very nice and very spongee..Luv it! But just want to confirm about the baking it 1/2 tablespoon or teaspoon? I put 1/2 tablespoon but think it is so much...

Thanks for the recipe..Allow me to share it with my friends :)

Rei said...

Liya : Hi and glad the recipe worked for you. Baking powder is 1/2 tbsp (7.5ml). For this recipe, you can use 1 tsp (5ml) if you prefer. 1/2 tbsp is the max you can add.

Dianne said...

Hi Rei,

would like to know if i can subsitute the pandan juice and coconut milk with pandan paste (the bake king bottles kind) and if so, what would be the measurement for that. TIA!

Rei said...

Dianne : Hi, sure you can. Use 140g of coconut milk with 1 tsp of pandan paste.

Dianne said...

Hi Rei,

it's me again. :X i have some questions that i need to ask. hope you can answer.

1. if i'm using a round pan, what would the measurement be like.

2. is it possible to substitute cake flour with other flours eg top flour (because when i was at the supermarket happened to see that it says it's good for chiffon cakes, so i just bought it)

3. you stated 9) oil a piece of aluminium foil... do i use butter or normal oil for this?

4. last question, if i am unable to get fresh coconut milk, you mentioned about diluting the chilled coconut cream. how do you go about doing this?

you see, i have attempted pandan chiffon twice using a different recipe asking for 6 egg yolks and whites. the first time i baked it, the top burnt and the bottom still moist, in the sense that when i remove the cake from the pan, there is still a thin moist layer of pandan mixture/cake. the sides were a lil brown. the second time got similar results even with a lower temperature. worst, the sides weren't brown at all. there were also like small moist lumps in the cake. it was in all, not spongy enough, too moist and thick. so with this, i figured maybe i'll try a different recipe and immediately thought of yours. thinking of trying it today.

so sorry for my many questions, still a noob at chiffon cakes. thanks!

Rei said...

Dianne : Hope my reply is not too late.
1. I have not used a round pan for chiffon cake. I think you can either use a 21cm (same) or a 23cm pan if you are worried about excess batter.

2. Top flour would be good too. It is also a low protein flour. I use it for chiffon cakes too.

3. I used normal oil.

4. I got this coconut cream thing from the supermarket. The instructions was on the pack. Or you can just use the 'Kara' brand coconut milk. You don't have to dilute that.

If top is burnt, you may have placed the cake too near the top heating element. You can either cover the top with foil or adjust the rack level. If bottom and sides are not browned, it is an indication that the cake is underbaked.

6 eggs recipe is quite a big cake to handle. The yolk batter is quite heavy to mix, that is why you might find lumps. I would suggest you try out 3 eggs or 4 eggs recipe to get acquainted with the cake batter first.

Though depending on individual performance of the oven, but the temperature for baking chiffon cake is at least 170 deg.C. If temperature is stated lower than that, it maybe designed to prevent the top from cracking, but you need to prolong the baking time. For eg.; if a 4 egg recipe, 21cm cake took 50 mins to bake at 170 ~ 175 deg.C, a 6 egg recipe stated 160 deg.C and bake for 50 mins is ridiculous. Thus you need to prolong the baking time accordingly.

If you are using other recipe; you are sure that you did not underbeat the whites, overfold the batter or underbake the cake and it is still too moist, you need to check the flour and liquid ratio of the recipe.

Hope this helps. Good luck and hope to hear good news from you soon. :)

Dianne said...

hi Rei!

thanks for answering! one last clarification, is it okay if i replace castor sugar with fine sugar? and what other flours can i use to replace with top flour cos it seems like there are very limited recipes using top flour.

will let you know results when i give your recipe a try nxt sat!

thanks once again(:

Rei said...

Dianne : It's alright to use fine sugar. You can use top flour when the recipe ask for cake flour. Or you can bake cookies with it for a crumbly, melt in mouth texture.

youfei said...

Hi Rei,

your detailed write up on chiffon cakes really makes me wanna try baking one soon!

Just a question on the coconut pandan juice mixture, do you mean to blend the leaves directly with the coconut milk?

or, do we blend the leaves with some water first (to get juice) and than add it to the coconut milk?

Sorry if that sounded stupid =X


Rei said...

Youfei : Not stupid question. You can blend it together with the coconut milk then strain. Happy baking! :)

youfei said...

Hi Rei,

thanks for the reply and assurance it wasn't a stupid qn =p Will let you know how it turns out as soon as i try it out =D


youfei said...

Hi Rei,

another question. You said just blend the leaves with the coconut milk and blend then strain. Do you mean strain with those kinda cloth bag? (for soya bean drink) or just with a strainer?


Rei said...

Youfei : Hi, just use a strainer will do.

youfei said...

Hi Rei,

it's me again. Finally bought my chiffon like, just. Was reading through the recipe again and you mentioned covering the foil loosely.

Do i cover it from the start of the baking or only towards the end?


youfei said...

Hi Rei,

just read up on your trouble and tips on chiffon cakes. got my answer! thanks!



youfei said...

Hi Rei,

Just tried out the recipe =)Everything went pretty well but i think i might have overfolded. the caked shranked to almost half its height =(

Also, i realised there's like "liquid" oozing out after it'd being flipped over for some time.

any idea why?


Rei said...

Youfei : Yes, you might have overfolded the egg whites or you could have overbeat the whites. The liquid you are referring to is after the cake is baked or when you flipped the whites? The liquid is the cake batter? You might want to drop me an email instead?

Anonymous said...

Hi rei

Can you please tell me why is it that everytime when i baked this chiffon, the top does not seem to be fully baked? The top wil be rather moist and a bit heavy.


cat said...

hi Rei thanks for sharing this recipe! I tried it after I flopped the ready mix pandan chiffon (how I dunno)

It turned out quite well except it rose and dropped after its cool. so its still fluffy but not as fluffy and tall as yours...wonder why....


Dee said...

Hi Rei

May I ask if 140g of coconut milk is same as 140ml? and 40g is 40ml?