I had a busy weekend of cooking, so here’s a bonus dessert! My mother in law makes the best pandan cake – soft and airy, everything a chiffon cake should be. We often get to take some home after going to their place for dinner, but this time I wanted to try making it myself to take to dinner at my parents’ place, where I knew it would be appreciated.
When I asked for the recipe I received a typed and annotated recipe for a marbled chiffon cake, and a lot of additional verbal instructions. I don’t think I have ever managed to bake a cake that actually rose properly, let alone a sponge cake, so I was a fully prepared to fail the first time. Surprisingly it turned out perfectly. I’d say this is down more to the instructions than my competence as a baker, so I’ve put all the notes into one recipe that will hopefully be as foolproof for you.
This recipe requires twelve eggs, or ten if you get the big ones (I discovered later I should have stuck with 10). I’ve gotten reasonably good at separating egg yolks and whites, although this time I made it to the twelfth egg before spilling a broken yolk into my eleven perfect egg whites. I was certain this would be disastrous for whipping the egg whites into stiff peaks, but it seems that carefully scooping it all out did the trick – in fact I probably had more fluffed up egg whites than I needed.
I usually try to avoid adding artificial colours and flavours into my cooking, but one does not simply mess with one’s mother-in-law’s recipe. For this one I borrowed her two bottles of pandan flavouring – one more coloured, the other more strongly flavoured. Apparently creating pandan essence is actually quite simple (here’s a recipe) – something to try if I can get my hands on some fresh pandanus leaves.
These flavourings are added to the yolks, flour, sugar, baking powder, oil and coconut milk, and give the cake its distinctive shade of minty green. The egg whites are then carefully folded in, taking care to not knock out too much of the air.
After pouring the mixture eastern alamance hgh school into the (already huge) chiffon cake tin, it became apparent that I had made a bit too much mixture. I think I’ll stick with ten 600g eggs next time.
After baking for an hour the cake had risen quite a bit above the top of the tin, almost touching the heating element in the oven. Thankfully it didn’t burn or spill over the sides! After removing from the oven it fell to a more manageable size, and once turned out onto a cooling tray the bottom became less domed. I had thought to try this in a regular round cake tin, but I was told that this type of cake needs the hole in the middle to cook all the way through and not sink in the middle.
Mother in Law’s Pandan Chiffon Cake
A fluffy green sponge cake with a coconutty flavour – perfect with a cup of tea. The tin I used is about 25cm in diameter – adjust as needed to suit yours. A round chiffon cake tin with a hole in the middle and a removable bottom will give the best result.
- 10-12 eggs (depending on size)
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1.5 cups self raising flour
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- pandan flavouring*
- Preheat oven to 160˚C.
- Separate egg yolks and whites into two big clean, dry mixing bowls.
- Add 1/2 cup of the caster sugar, flour, oil, coconut milk, baking powder, pandan flavouring and salt into the bowl with the egg yolks and mix well.
- Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Continue to beat whilst slowly adding caster sugar, until all incorporated.
- Fold one mixture into the other, carefully, without knocking out too much of the air.
- Pour into a chiffon cake tin and bake for ~60 minutes.
- Check if cooked through using a cake tester, then run a knife around the edges to remove from the tin.
- Leave to cool on a rack for a couple of hours.
* I used 1/2 tsp of the clear flavouring and about 2 tsp of the green one for colouring. Might vary depending on what brands you use.