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Monday, 14 July 2014

Pandan Chiffon Cake.....Boring?



I have contemplated, postulated and ruminated. Among all the chiffon cakes available on this planet, Pandan Chiffon Cake is still my favorite. Some classics never go out of fashion and with that conclusion, I shall bake Pandan Chiffon Cake again.



This time I am using another recipe and I wanted natural pandan juice. To extract the juice I hauled my Alpha Juicer out of hibernation and on to the tabletop. Good grief, that thing is heavy!



My pandan plant is doing just OK. I have two plants growing in pots and I notice that pandan grows much better on the ground. I did plant them on the ground before but they grew really big and bushy. So I had to pull them out.



I put the pandan leaves into the grinder and out came the juice.



But something went wrong with the pandan juice. And I don't want to talk about it. (***emo mode on***)



Chiffon cakes are a challenge to some people and to others it is a breeze. I have to thank my auntie for the hands on tutorial two years ago and so far, I have not had any problems with this cake. The two challenges in baking a chiffon cake are :

1. Beating the egg whites to stiff peaks; and
2. Folding the egg yolk and egg white batter.



Getting is right takes practice of course and a few tips here and there helps. With that in mind, I would like to humbly share my own tips and techniques to help those of you who have trouble with this cake. I am no expert and whatever knowledge that I possess have been culminated through bumbling around the kitchen and learning from my mistakes.

This is how I go about it.

1. I prepare the egg yolk mixture first.


I had to use pandan essence and some green coloring.

2. I use a whisk to beat the egg yolks with sugar until the mixture is well combined.



3. Then I add the coconut milk, coconut oil, pandan essence and green coloring. Whisk until everything is combined.





4. I sift the flour three times beforehand. Now I sift it two tablespoons at a time into the egg yolk mixture. Call me kiasu but this works for me.



5. What you get is a creamy and smooth mixture. If you find it clumpy, add a bit more coconut milk  to smooth it out.



6. Now on to the egg whites. I sprinkle the cream of tartar onto the egg whites before beating.



7. Once the egg whites are frothy, add sugar bit by bit and continue to beat until the egg whites reach stiff peaks. 


Frothy.
8. To test if you have reached stiff peaks, tilt the bowl. If your egg whites can move, they are not stiff yet, Keep beating until the mixture is stiff. Again test by tilting your bowl. If it doesn't move, it is stiff. Or if you are paranoid like me, turn your bowl upside down (do it gradually, K?) and if your egg whites don't fall out, then you have arrived. DO NOT attempt to beat the egg whites beyond this stage because they will become dry like foam and will be difficult to fold it into the egg yolk batter.


The mixture can move when bowl is tilted. It is not stiff yet.


The mixture does not move when the bowl is tilted. This is stiff peaks.
If you have OCD, just turn the bowl upside down to assure yourself that the egg whites are stiff.
9. Now the challenging part. Folding the two batters together. I take about 1/3 of the egg white mixture and mix it into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it. At this stage, just go crazy. You can be rough and just mix, mix, mix, till the mixture is evenly combined.


Just mix, don't care.
The egg yolk mixture is now lightened.
10. Then I pour the lightened egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture (yah, it's called merenge meringeu merengue meringue. That's why I prefer to call it egg white mixture. Hard to spell).



11.  To fold, I am very sorry, I use my bare hand. I can't do it with the whisk or spatula. Call me cacat but I find that hand method is the best. Your hand is gentle and you have control over the mixing because you can feel the mixture. Mix the two batters by gently folding from bottom up, bottom up, until you do not see any white or green streaks. Your batter once mixed should be uniformly green.


See the white and green streaks? And my veins?
No more streaks. All green.
Ready to be poured into the chiffon pan.
12. Pour the batter into the chiffon pan and for heaven's sake DO NOT grease the pan. And DO NOT use non-stick tube pan. Those pans are for other cakes that want to have a hole in the middle. Once all your batter is in, give the pan a few taps on the work surface. This is not to wake up your neighbors, so gentle taps will do. The purpose is to release any trapped air bubbles and to level the batter.


This is before tapping. The batter is uneven.
14. Place you pan at the lowest rack in a preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until skewer inserted into the cake come out clean. Fortunately for me it works every time at 160C for 45 minutes. Know your oven.


Phew! Nicely baked.
15. Remove from oven, invert the cake pan upside down and let it cool completely.




Cooled and ready to be unmoulded.
16. To remove the cake from the pan, run a spatula or knife around the edges of the cake to free it from the pan. Remove the cake by pulling that thing that sticks out from the middle of the pan.



17. Now run your spatula/knife around the bottom of the pan. Flip the cake over a plate or cake board and it should dislodge nicely.



That wasn't so hard, was it? But I hate washing the pan. I have to soak it first and then scrub off the remnants of the cake. OK, on my pandan juice. Haiz....I was having runny nose that day and the pandan juice didn't smell like pandan. It had a green smell. I wasn't sure if it was just me or there is something wrong with the pandan. So I threw it away :(



I am using Sonia's recipe with a sprinkling of rice flour inspired by Kimmy. Sonia and Kimmy's recipe use less flour compared to the one given to me by my auntie. This yielded a very soft texture. I like it very much. I think I will use this adapted recipe from now on.











Pandan Chiffon Cake

Recipe source : Adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover
(for 8" pan)

Ingredients :
- 5 egg yolks
- 60g sugar
- 80ml extra virgin coconut oil (or any neutral vegetable oil)
- 110ml coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp pandan essence
- some green coloring (use a bit at a time till you get the shade you want)
- 60g superfine flour   ) Mix both flours 
- 30 g rice flour            ) and sift (I sift 3 times)

- 5 egg white
- 60g sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Method :
For the egg yolk mixture :
1. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar with a whisk. Beat until the mixture is well combined.
2. Add coconut oil, coconut milk, green coloring and pandan essence. Whisk to combine.
3. Sift flour into the mixture bit by bit and fold into the mixture until well combined. Set aside.

For the egg white mixture :
1. Sprinkle cream of tartar onto the egg whites.
2. Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy.
3. Add sugar gradually and continue to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks.

To mix the batters :
1. Take about 1/3 of the stiff egg whites and mix into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it.
2. Pour the lightened egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture and gently fold the two batter together until combined.
3. Pour batter into the chiffon pan and bake at 160C for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
4. Once bake, remove from oven and invert the cake pan.
5. Leave the cake to cool completely before unmoulding.





I am submitting this post to Bake Along #64-Chiffon Cakes Cakes hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.

68 comments:

  1. boring?? errr, not at all lah.. indeed i guess Pandan Chiffon Cake can be considered some kind of "comfort food" for us Malaysian huh?? i remember many times back in school, what was inside the lunch box were two pieces of pandan chiffon cake, haha!! and of course i love them to the bits!! i remember i sometimes liked to squeeze the fluffy cake into a firm ball before eating - hey, that's another texture and it tastes equally good~~ :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aiyah why you squeeze the cake into a ball? hah..hah...I don't think I want to try that :D

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  2. Whoa, your juicer looks so canggih, like those Black & Decker chainsaw !! Ok, I'm exaggerating, I've never seen any chainsaw from Black & Decker, teehee... Well, says who pandan chiffon cake is boring? Mm chi kei hou sik.. Mum used to buy two types: orange and pandan chiffon cakes, and when I get up from bed, these two cakes already on the dining table.. They are so soft & fluffy, I can finish that slice in one mouth, no joke.

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    Replies
    1. Black & Decker chainsaw???? hah..hah...reminds me of the horror movie Texas Chainsam Massacre. I think you can finish one whole cake. It's full of air niah.

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  3. wah, you have a really sophisticated juicer there!! i thought it was especially for pandan leaves initially.. hmm, so you gotta make use of this thing more often lah, don't just let it set by one side, it's yelling "i am very lonely, please use me!!".. and of course, needless to say, your pandan chiffon cake looks great!! i just love it, this is my favorite and what i prefer over the other flavors of pandan cake.. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That juicer is very powerful. Can really squeeze out the juice kau kau. Yah, I should use it more often but lazy to wash. I think pandan chiffon is top favourite for most people. Thanks for the compliments, SK!

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  4. Good morning Phong Hong. I always love Sonia's recipe. Me too bake the old fashion pandan flavor and I will post up my Pandan Chiffon cake entry later.

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    Replies
    1. Angeline, I saw your cake! It was beautiful and well baked.

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  5. Not boring at all lar, my mum used to bake pandan flavor all the time. I think that is the best.

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  6. Yes pandan chiffon cake may sound boring as because everyone is baking it and nothing special BUT this flavour is the most likeable lot of all. I guess the cake is gone in no time.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, no more already hah..hah...

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  7. I loves pandan chiffon cake the most, but i have no fate with chiffon cake, most of the time fail...

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  8. Hi Phong Hong, I baked a Pandan Chiffon using cooked dough method. The cake tasted good but I regret not adding a little green colouring to make the cake looks brighter. Your pandan chiffon looks soft, fluffy and spongy. I'll try your method of folding the mixtures with bare hands. Thanks for the mention.

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    Replies
    1. Kimmy, I am curious about the cooked dough method. I might try it one of these days.

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  9. Hi Phong Hong, where got boring lah. Pandan chiffon cake is one of the best. Yours look very cottony soft and well done. You're now very good in baking, keep up the good job.

    Have a nice day. Regards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Amelia! I should bake it more often.

      Delete
  10. Hi Phong Hong,

    My fav is also pandan chiffon cake!!!

    Your juice grinder looks so cool but you said that something went wrong with the pandan juice??? ok ok... I won't ask :p

    You are like my mother in law mixing the meringue into the yolk mixture by hand. She said she has a better feel with this method of mixing :D I guess you see her point too :D

    Very nice and fluffy pandan chiffon cake!!! Yum!

    Zoe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zoe, your mum is very wise :) The pandan juice didn't smell like pandan hah..hah..maybe it was my nose...

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  11. Oh dear, what happened to the juice earlier? *still want to kepoh*

    Those chiffon cake looks yummy! Send me some! LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The juice got funny smell lah. So I threw it away. Frust :(

      Delete
  12. Hi Phong Hong, not boring at all. I love this classic pandan chiffon cake. One big slice pls!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Esther! To be baked again!

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  13. Hi, PH, this one is good, not boring at all...love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jozelyn! This is my favourite :)

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  14. Thanks for sharing, so detailed some more!! I am going to bookmark this, and will try again some day, I actually baked this one but failed! I guess it's the mixing part which cause the failure~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck, Hayley! Must show if it turns out hee,,,hee,,,

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  15. Hi Phong Hong,
    You are right about Pandan Chiffon Cakes, It is still my favourite flavour! Just like doughnuts, the sugar coated is still the best! I have not baked a Pandan chiffon for ages, and really feel like having a slice right now. Your cake is so perfectly baked, soft and fluffy! I could eat a few slices in one sitting, no problem! :)
    Thank you for baking along with us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joyce, I fully agree! Can't beat the classics.

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  16. You too? Just saw this in Angeline's blog. Always love it, will buy one to enjoy once in a while.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is an evergreen chiffon cake and much loved all round.

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  17. Phong Hong, there are some classics would never goes out of fashion ... movies like James Bond, 黄飞鸿 ... And chiffon cake ... pandan chiffon cake is one of them !Never tired of eating that 百吃不厌 ^-^

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  18. Looks good! I have yet to try out the rice flour version, must be good since Kimmy loves to bake with that...ok, next one I'll give it a try:D

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    Replies
    1. Do try, Jeannie. The cake is so soft I feel like I can eat the whole cake :)

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  19. This is one of my favourite chiffons, Phong Hong. LOVE!!!!

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  20. Pandan chiffon is NEVER boring! It's an all-time favourite of mine and most of the people I know.

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    Replies
    1. That's what I gather, Veronica! Everybody loves Pandan Chiffon Cake. Yay!

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  21. I believe it's damn good and smell great when it just came out fresh !

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Chris! Better than store bought.

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  22. Hi Phong Hong, Everywhere I go, I saw chiffon cakes today :D Yours pandan chiffon looks perfect!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ann! We all love chiffon cakes :)

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  23. Nope not boring at all. I will bake a chiffon cake every other week. I bake pandan flavor so often that I transform my husband to like it too :)

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  24. What do you mean boring? This is a classic! Cannot never get tired of this especially homemade ones with real pandan extract :)

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  25. PH, I never get tire of pandan chiffon, always my flavour :D

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  26. PH, very detail post wor, great that you have master the skill of baking a chiffon. Thanks for the mentioned. By the way, next time you can try with bard hands method to remove the cake, you will have smooth sides if you follow this method.

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    Replies
    1. Sonia, I was too scared to do it. Takut nanti my cake broken. But next time I will try!

      Delete
  27. Hi PH,
    Amboi! canggih betul you punya juicer.
    Agree with Princess, it looks like a Black & Decker chainsaw or grass cutter!! Hah...hah.... In any case, your juicer still looks amusingly unique.

    Your cake is so perfectly baked, soft and fluffy! Well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now grass cutter pulak! You make me laugh lah, Aunty Young! Thanks for the compliments!

      Delete
  28. sorry, typo error, should be bare hands ^_^

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  29. My goodness Phong Hong!!! You are super good in baking now! This cottony pandan chiffon cake is so soft and spongy too. How I wished to come over for tea now. I am bookmarking this recipe of yours now. Thanks for sharing and warmest regards :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ivy! I am waiting to see your Pandan Chiffon Cake. hah..hah...

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  30. Two words... "Very Challenging!" And I am so glad that you made it! With coconut milk and all, I am sure the chiffon cake is very tasty. Don't think I will be able to make a chiffon cake for the rest of my life.. hahaha...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Claire, never say never! This chiffon cake is thumbs up, my mum's favourite.

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  31. not boring! not at all...infact pandan is one of the best flavours for chiffon..i like it so much....and cacat? hahaha...you are funny! i hvnt tried the hand method tho i know about it..sorry for coming by late, just been away from home for a few days and btw, i hv made your kay hong...finally! hahaha! tasted good!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lena! No problem for coming late. Ah...good to hear that you cooked kay hong and that you like it!

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  32. Not boring at all! Pandan is still the best flavour for chiffon in my opinion.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mun! I am glad that many people think so too :)

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  33. Pandan chiffon is a classic!!! THE BEST!!

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  34. What a nice cake! I've tried your recipe but it became a flop towards the end. What happened was I had a perfect cake out of the oven. I quickly took it out, took a 5s walk to my living room and invert it. I then walked away and when I returned minutes later I saw that it fell out of the tin! I literally see it shrunk in front of me! How sad was that! I had a few success case and few failures in this 'drop out of pan' scenario. Can you advise why is it so? I believe my technique is ok because I've managed to see it rise till perfect height every time. My pan is non grease as well. Please help!

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    Replies
    1. Hi MyChateaux! You know, when I baked my first pandan chiffon, the cake fell out of the pan too (much later) but it did not shrink. I still wonder why that happened. I also baked a chiffon using a cheesecake recipe and that one also fell out of the pan and shrunk. I am sorry I do not know why your cake fell out. It's a mystery!

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