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Sunday, 17 June 2012

Pandan Chiffon Cake


This is my happy cake. Nothing gives me more joy than to see the cake rise beautifully in the oven. The first time I made this, I ran to the oven every 5 minutes, all anxious to see if the cake would rise. I was overwhelmed with joy when it did.

My Auntie taught me how to bake this lovely chiffon cake. My first hurdle was to tell the difference between soft peaks and stiff peaks when beating the egg white. Then the next anxiety inducing step was the folding of the egg white and egg yolk mixture. I initially used a spatula and chanted my Auntie's mantra - "Up, Down, Up, Down". In the course of making this cake, I developed my own technique and noted a few pointers (and made a few mistakes along the way) to share with you.

My Mum has declared this the best pandan chiffon cake she has eaten. Well, well, bring out the clarions and buccina and trumpet away...............(I tell you, there's no praise like self praise).

But as any novice baker will attest, before you get to the first of your drum rolls, mistakes do happen. One common mistake is incorrect folding of the two batters. When this happens, you will get spots of dense green batter dotting the sponge. Or if the egg whites are not beaten to the correct stiffness, the cake will not rise as high as it should.

My Auntie gave me this recipe but she could not remember where she got it from.

Mixture A :
1. 5 egg yolks
2. 115 ml coconut milk (Santan)
3. 85ml vegetable oil (I use virgin coconut oil)
4. 70g sugar (I reduced to 60g)
5. 150g flour (I used superfine flour)
6. 1 tsp baking powder (see note below*)
7. 1/8 tsp salt (I omitted this)
8. 1 tsp pandan essence and a few drops of green coloring (my Auntie's recipe uses natural pandan extract, this shortcut is my doing)

Mixture B :
1. 5 egg whites
2. 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3. 70g sugar (I reduced to 60g)

Method :
1. Preheat oven to 160C

For Mixture A :
1. Whisk egg yolks with sugar to mix well.
2. Add coconut milk, vegetable oil, pandan essence and coloring.
3. Sift flour and baking powder into the mixture and mix until a smooth batter forms.

For Mixture B :
1. Add cream of tartar into the egg whites and beat until foamy.
2. Add sugar gradually and beat until stiff peaks.

Pour Mixture A into Mixture B and fold the two batters to ensure that they are evenly mixed. Pour into chiffon pan and bake for 45 minutes. When done, remove from oven and invert pan. Cool completely before removing from pan.

*Note about baking powder. I discovered that baking powder is not essential. This discovery came about when I forgot to add baking powder. It was one of those days when a certain sector of my brain shut down. I was hyperventilating all over the kitchen, but all that drama was totally unnecessary. The cake still rose because the egg whites were properly beaten and properly folded into the batter. The baking powder would have added maybe about an extra 1 inch to the cake's height. If that extra inch matters to you, by all means add baking powder (even if you are using self raising flour, I've done that).

I have had no professional training and I depend on this gadget to separate the eggs. Depending on the size of the egg, there are occasions when the yolk slips through the slits and tries to make a getaway. Naughty....naughty......

Santan and virgin coconut oil. Use of coconut oil in place of vegetable oil will give the cake a fabulous aroma.

Egg yolks, sugar, santan and coconut oil all mixed. Pandan essence and coloring awaits.

If mixture A is too thick and lumpy after addition of flour, feel free to add a little bit more santan to smooth it out. This mixture must not be lumpy or too thick, or else it may not fold properly into the egg white mixture.

Pour Mixture A into Mixture B.

Fold the two mixtures. You can use a spatula but I use my hand to do the folding. I find it very effective, our hands are the best tools.

Pour batter into chiffon pan. Bake for 45 minutes.

I wish I could take pictures of my cake rising in the oven but my oven door has turned opaque over the last 10 years due to fossilized grease and whatever. All this a result of the "I'll clean it later" syndrome.

Invert pan after taking out of the oven. Cool completely before removing cake from pan.
To remove the cake, run a spatula around the edge of the pan to release the cake.




Make this cake. Store bought pandan chiffon cake will never taste the same again. 

49 comments:

  1. Phong Hong, Like your pandan chiffon. Noticed the top doesn't crack. How you manage to do it so beautifully?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kimmy, I am mystified too. Hah! Hah! Maybe the temperature was just right, not too hot.

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  2. Nicely done! Thanks for the tips. I've not used coconut oil in my baking before. But I can imagine the fragrance it produces ... just like coconut milk. I've made this yonks ago and haven't made any since ... wonder why? Hmm ... anyway, you've inspired me enough to want to make one soon.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ping, give a go. You will be happy.

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  3. Hi Phong Hong, your chiffon cake look really good, very well baked.
    I love pandan cake but don't put coconut milk, I replace with water.
    And used cake flour and omitted the baking powder. It still taste very fragrant with the pandan paste.

    Have a nice weekend.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Amelia, hmmmm....yours is the healthy version. I must try it.

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  4. Never get sick of eating this classic flavour of chiffon but haven't made before, hahaha becoz I'm still waiting for my girlfriend to get the chiffon pan for me from Malaysia. She is going back by end of this month! So, can I take a piece from here first?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jessie, aiya...should have reserved for you. Finish already hee..hee..

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  5. Oh my, looks mouth watering, can i come over for tea pls. I can't bake to save my life, so i can only gaze in admiration at others' baking successes sigh.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Esther, of course you can come for tea! But I need to clean the house first, my oven door is not the only thing that has fossilised stuff on it. LOL!

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  6. Wow! cantik dan rasanya semestinya sedap sangat ni.. nanti i nak cuba... masuk dalam list.. tq dear :))

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  7. Hello Shahriah, memang sedap punya....I dah dapat buku resipi you lah! I suka tau, resipi yang ringkas dan sememangnya citarasa home cooking.

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  8. that's a very nice chiffon and love pandan chiffon very much! i also use coconut milk but never tried it with coconut oil, anyway i dont hv that in the house..thanks for sharing your notes here! have a nice evening!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lena, you can get coconut oil at the pharmacy or organic shops. Its a new trend now to take coconut oil as it is a fat burner, hah..hah..., of course not when its in a cake.

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  9. sikwan belum cuba lagi kek chiffon tu sis ;)) nampak menarik! fluffy ;))

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    Replies
    1. Cik Wan, mesti cuba ni! Memang fluffy dan enak sekali.

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  10. Your pandan looks nice and I can smell the sweet aroma of coconut santan from here!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Cheah, you have a good sense of smell. LOL!

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  11. Next time try with homemade pandan extract, you will like the natural pandan fragrant .

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    Replies
    1. You are right, Sonia. Natural is best. I must not be lazy!

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  12. Hi,

    Your chiffon cake is fabulous ! I had tried a few times but still not very successful .. Could you upload some photo to show me how to fold in egg whites into the batter ? I think I'm folding in method is wrong .

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Thanks
    Lily

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lily, thank you for the compliments. Let me tell you how I folded the batter. I used my hand-yes, my bare hand to do the folding. Go to Youtube and watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5p-kvyL5Uys. I was told that some professional chefs do it like that and I tried. Don't be afraid. You will find that this is the best way to fold. Good luck!

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    2. Hi Phong Hong,

      Thanks for your prompt reply. I just saw the video clip. It seems so easy.. everytime my chiffon cake will have the dense texture at the botttom... haiz.... don't know is it my folding in method is wrong..... keep doing for so many times still couldn't get it right!

      Btw if were to use a whisk or spatula to fold in, how do I do it?

      In your recipe, you wrote you "chanted your auntie mantra" -up down, up down. what does that mean?

      Regards,
      Lily

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    3. Hi Lily, the dense texture at the botoom is due to improper mixing. Why don't you go to Kitchen Tigress (she is in my blog list) and watch her video on chiffon cake. I believe she used spatula to mix. The "up down, up down" refers to the mixing with spatula ie using big strokes up and down to fold. You are very determined to make this cake a success. That's the spirit!

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    4. Thanks Phong Hong =) I will try a few more times.

      Have a blessed week ahead !

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  13. This was the craze when it first came to the scene - in the 70s it was, I think. People would make the beeline to the pasar malam here to grab one to take home. Guess these days, everyone takes it for granted as it is very easily available.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, these days its everywhere so the novelty factor has worn off. But still, its a really good cake, classic!

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  14. Cake's in the oven now, hope it turns out well! :) thanks so much for your effort and work to put this recipe up. keep up the good work!!

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    Replies
    1. Geez, I missed your comment! Hope your cake turned out :)

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  15. Hi PhangHong,

    When you mix the egg yolks and sugar and santan and oil, do we need to whisk the mixture very hard? Or just mix till it combines?

    Thanks!

    Li Lian (http://cookworks.wordpress.com)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Li Lian! Just mix until it combines, there is no need to whisk very hard. What I do is mix the egg yolks and sugar first till it comes together and then add santan and oil and do a quick stir. I hope that answers your question :)

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  16. They are really soft and fluffy cakes !! love the recipe!!

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  17. Awesome recipe. Give thanks to your aunt! I am bookmarking this.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Purabi! Looking forwards to your chiffon cake :)

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  18. Hi,

    whats the size of your chiffon tin?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sharon! I have just checked and the base is the same as my 8" round pan so I guess it's an 8" tin.

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  19. Hi. May I ask if I want to use fresh pandan extract instead, how is the measurements? Eg. How many tablespoons? (As you know pandan extract is watery). And can I replace vegetable oil with olive oil? Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kerene! My auntie's recipe didn't say how much but what she did was she blended 8 pandan leaves with some water to extract the juice. If I remember correctly, it wasn't much. Or you could blend the pandan leaves with the santan and strain it. I am uncertain if olive oil would be suitable because of the smell. As you know, olive oil has a smell whereas vegetable oil is odorless. Hope this helps :)

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  20. Hi. Can I use cake flour?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you can use ordinary cake flour and the chiffon will turn out just as good!

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    2. Hi. If I do not have the cream of tartar will the cake turn out fine?

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    3. Yes, it will! I have beaten egg whites without cream of tartar and the cake still turned out alright.

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    4. Can I know use what temperature?

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  21. I tried today but cake didnt rise and not fluffy. Dunno what went wrong. How do u get mixture b to be so white and with such texture per your photo?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Amy! Two possibilities why your cake didn't rise (1) The batter was over mixed which resulted in the egg whites being deflated (2) the egg whites did not reach stiff peaks. My egg whites were beaten till stiff and this is how to confirm if they are stiff enough - tilt your mixing bowl, if the mixture does not move, then it is stiff. For further confirmation, flip the mixing bowl upside down (do this carefully) and if the egg whites don't fall off (ha..hah...), then it is stiff enough. Hope that helps.

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