Wednesday 16 March 2016

Homemade Pandan Chiffon Cake 香兰戚风蛋糕

Inspired by : Credit to my BFF Angela for trying, testing and adapting the recipes countless times before sharing with us.

New photos updated on May 2017

My BFF Angela must have baked this Homemade Pandan Chiffon Cake 香兰戚风蛋糕 so many times that we deem her an expert in chiffon cakes. Last week, she visited my new home kitchen with our other BFF, Priscilla. Angela did a demo by baking a Pandan Chiffon Cake 香兰戚风蛋糕 on the spot. I would not disappoint her by replicating it on my own. Her hard works on research and numerous trials certainly justify this documentation.

During her demo, Angela told us that it had been challenging  for her to achieve a near perfect Pandan Chiffon Cake 兰戚风蛋糕. The general difficulties she encountered in her many experiments include :

  • cake unable to rise or flatten too soon after removing from oven
  • overheat on the top layer resulting in cracked  surface
  • at times, the inside may still be raw
  • not achieving the right colours
  • too sweet
  • insufficient pandan fragrance
  • .....and the list goes on.....

To bake chiffon cakes, we would usually prepare 2 groups of ingredients for varying processes before combining them as the final cake batter :

Group A Ingredients (for a 23 cm tube pan)

  • 120 gm sifted self-rising cake flour 
  • 6 egg yolks (use 60 gm sized eggs; eggs must be very fresh for best result)
  • 40 gm castor sugar (i reduced from 45 gm to 40 gm due to personal preference)
  • 170 gm fresh coconut milk (available from supermarkets or wet markets)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pandan juice (learn how to DIY Concentrated Pandan Juice here)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence (available from supermarkets)
  • 1 tsp pandan paste (optional - add if you prefer a darker green tone for the cake)(available from supermarkets)
  • 1/2 tsp pandan essence (optional)(I added this because I like my pandan cake very fragrant)

Group B Ingredients (for a 23 cm tube pan)

  • 9 egg whites (use 60 gm sized eggs)
  • 100 gm castor sugar (i reduced from 135 gm to 100 gm due to personal preference)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar 


Pre-heat oven at 170 degrees celsius (338 degrees fahrenheit).

Heat coconut milk. Remove from heat once boiling point is hit (or when bubbling starts). Leave aside.

Beat 6 egg yolks with 40 gm sugar.

If you are using KitchenAid mixer like I am, beat egg yolks and sugar at Speed 6 for about 2 minutes. Set aside when ready.

The normal procedure calls for mixture first and flour to be folded in later. I must confess that I tweaked the steps a little as I missed this part during Angela's demo. I ended up spooning in the sifted flour into 'cooked' but not-so-hot coconut milk before adding other mixtures. Surprisingly, it turned out to be just as fascinating! 

Not forgetting the other Group A's ingredients. Add baking powder, salt, pandan juice, vanilla essence, pandan paste, pandan essence accordingly.

Whisk gently.

When all's well combined, we should see a light green mixture.

Fold in light green mixture into the beaten egg yolks that was set aside earlier. My BFF used the manual whisking method. I chose Speed 4 of my mixer instead. 

Group A's egg yolk batter is ready when a smooth green mixture is achieved. Set aside.

Separately, work on Group B's ingredients. Whisk 9 egg whites in a clean, dry and oil free mixer bowl. 

Whisk 9 egg whites at Speed 4 for 1 minute. Add 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and whisk at Speed 8 for another minute. Finally, add 100 gm castor sugar and whisk at Speed 8 for 1 more minute. 

At the end of 3 minutes, we know that our meringue is ready when the content holds nicely in mixer bowl even when turning it upside down. Group B's ingredients accomplished!

Gently fold in meringue into Group A's egg yolk batter in 3 batches. Each time, use a spatula to gently fold in one direction.

Final cake batter (i.e. Group A + Group B) all ready when no streaks remain.

To rid the air bubbles, I cushioned my island top with a dish cloth and lightly tap my mixer bowl against it a few times before transferring cake batter into tube pan.

Use a satay stick to quickly stir through the cake batter in the tube pan as a final attempt to remove air bubbles if necessary. 

Do not grease tube pan. The cake would not rise if when oiled.

Bake in oven at 170 degrees celsius (338 degrees fahrenheit) for first 10 minutes using Top & Bottom Mode and continue to bake for another 50 minutes at 160 degrees celsius (320 degrees fahrenheit). Do not attempt to open the oven door while making the adjustments as it would impact the temperature and the cake may just fail. 

It is helpful to know that Pandan Chiffon Cake 香兰戚风蛋糕 would generally do well with bottom heat. Try to position tube pan at the lower tier of the oven. I inserted a tray to 'block' the top heat at the upper tier of the oven. I did this in hope to minimise cracks and too much browning at the top of the cake.

I checked the level of browning on the cake surface with a torch light towards the end of 40 minutes. Remove from oven once satisfied with the colour of cake.

Invert tube pan and allow the cake to cool before dismounting. Be patient.

Use a knife to assist with the dismounting if necessary.

New photos updated on May 2017
New photos updated on May 2017
New photos updated on May 2017
New photos updated on May 2017
I guess I was really blessed with beginners' luck in my first attempt on Homemade Pandan Chiffon Cake 香兰戚风蛋糕. The end product was SO SO SO light, soft and fluffy. Almost melt-in-the-mouth. Not too sweet and tasted just right!

This might be my first attempt in Homemade Pandan Chiffon Cake 香兰戚风蛋糕. The response from my family told me that it would not be the last. The entire cake was almost gone within first 15 minutes! 

Of course, I cannot thank Angela enough for sharing her experience and tips!


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