For some Aussie children, childhood cake memories probabaly conjure up cakes from the Australian Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book. Claire from Melbourne Gastronome certainly has fond memories of those cakes and has even started a Facebook group for it. For me though, childhood memories come flooding back when I see a Pandan Chiffon Cake. Pandan chiffon cakes aren't exactly that common. It's only of late that you can find them at Asian bakeries, but those ones tend to be very dry and not nice at all.
Recently, when I was searching for Google for images of a cocoa chiffon cake that I was going to make, I happen to see an image of a pandan chiffon cake. So many memories from my childhood came flooding back. When I first arrived in Australia from Vietnam, mum always got pandan chiffon cakes for my birthday. These cakes were made by some Asian home baker who sold them out of her house. They were fantastic cakes and I loved them. My sister and my three cousins that I was living with at the time also got pandan chiffon cakes for their birthdays too. The cakes were a slice of our old homes back in Vietnam.
I hadn't eaten a pandan chiffon cake for ages. Hence, I dropped the idea of making a cocoa chiffon cake and had to make a pandan one instead. The pandan flavouring was easy enough to get from an Asian grocery. So I just had to find a good recipe. After some searching, I found a simple and delicious looking recipe from a blogger in Tasmania.
The cake is really simple to make. It looks amazing and tastes the same. It's so light and moist. The fudge icing goes so well with the cake, giving it a bit of richness without making it too rich. I loved the cake so much, in part for the actual flavour and texture, but also for all the fond memories of childhood that it brought. I'll be making this cake again and again as it's such a part of my life. It was the thing that bridged the gap between moving away from Vietnam and living in Australia.
Pandan Chiffon Cake
6 egg whites
125 g caster sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
6 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
5 tbsp corn oil (I used vegetable oil and that worked fine)
2 tbsp pandan juice (I used 2 teaspoon of pandan flavouring instead)
100 ml thick coconut cream (99% or 100% stuff, look on label)
140 g self raising flour
1) Preheat oven to 160C.
2) Whisk egg whites, caster sugar and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
3) Whisk egg yolks, sugar and vanilla essence till light and creamy.
4) Add in corn oil, pandan juice and thick coconut milk to egg yolk mixture. Mix well.
5) Stir in sifted flour to egg yolk mixture and fold gently to mix.
6) Pour egg yolk mixture lightly into egg white mixture. Fold together gently.
7) Pour into ungreased pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until set.
Pandan Fudge Icing
600g coconut cream (99% or 100% stuff, look on label)
80g caster sugar
25g green bean powder (I omitted this and it worked fine)
20g custard powder
1/2 tsp pandan flavouring
1) Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat.
2) Stir till it thickens. Immediately coat cake with the warm fudge.
3) Decorate with dessicated coconut.