Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pandan Chiffon Cake Recipe - Childhood Memories

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
100g sugar
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
Dessicated coconut

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.


  1. Thanh, that chiffon cake looks pretty impressive and left me craving for a slice! And I don't normally even have a sweet tooth. I think when you keep telling everyone you don't know how to or can't cook great food, you really just mean you only like cooking desserts! Been following your on-going road to macaron enlightenment. Close to nirvana yet?

  2. Towser, this chiffon cake is fantastic. It you've never had pandan before, you might either like it due to its fragrant nature, or you might find that its too strong in flavour for you.

    I really do only like cooking desserts. I've always said that. I find baking so much easier with its set amounts and method. I always say that baking is like chemistry (which I am good at), you follow the method accurately and you get a good result. But cooking on the other hand, requires a lot of natural feel and I'm not good at that and tend to avoid it.

    The macaron saga continues, with more episodes to come. I'm not quite at Nirvana yet, but getting closer each step. Now I can do the whole mixture and piping part without too much stress. I'm still working on the oven temperature and getting it to not stick to the tray part. Then lastly, I'm working on the flavours. The durian one last week was great after a day, but it had melted through the shell.

  3. A Real Aussie7/20/2008 3:16 PM

    What do you know about Aussies?

  4. A Real Aussie, probably not as much as you do, apparently.

    What do you know about Honkies?

  5. A Real Aussie7/22/2008 9:27 AM

    I know more about Aussies and Honkies than you do thats for sure. You're a mixed bag of some generic asian who can't speak Cantonese fluently, instead you speak with your chinese friends with a mixture of 80% cantonese and 10% english and another 10% fat talk.

    e.g. Wei Dennis Ah, dim ar, watch movie ma?

  6. This is fantastic! I love chiffon cake!!

    As for your truffle question, it costs me $3/gram. Min order is 50. Plus shippng fee ($20). The one quoted by Neil might be a bit cheaper :)

    Are you coming to the bloggers' veg out?

  7. A Real Aussie, I don't speak Cantonese fluently as I'm Teo Chew. My learnt Cantonese is better than yours, and you're a real Canto.

    What's wrong with a mixture of languages. It's a skill to be able use it effectively :-).

    Anh, this cake is beautiful, you have to try it.

    The truffles really are dear. I was hoping the ones from Tassie might be cheaper. I guess the Simon Johnson ones are the "cheapest" if I'm to buy some.

    I might come to the blogger's veg out. It depends whether a dinner planned with some friends this Sat goes ahead or not.

  8. wow, that looks amazing thanh! i don't know why but i never thought to try and make my own chiffon cake.

    i do love the radioactive glow of pandan too =)

  9. Haha.. What a coincidence!! I love anything with pandan. I'm really going to try this one. Thanks for sharing the recipe. BTW, my mum is Teo Chew too.. can you speak teo chew ?

  10. Hey Jfox, the cake is really simple to make. It's much easier than a sponge cake since I think I mixed it a bit too much but it still stayed light and fluffy and didn't collapse. I've given up on sponge cakes for a while after trying three different recipes and each one failing miserably.

    The cake really glows like crazy. Everyone was commenting how it looks like mold gone crazy.

    Hi Lao Cha, it is a coincidence that we both made pandan things and love it due to childhood reasons. I'm going to make your pandan cookies soon.

    I can speak Teo Chew very well. Can you? I thought you might be Vietnamese from reading your blog, but now I know better.

  11. A Real Aussie7/23/2008 11:29 AM

    You Canto is bad it makes Fake George talk like Hakken Lee.

  12. Hahaha meng won jao si huok ji le ke......

  13. Your Pandan Chiffon Cake looks like its been rotting in a dark place for about 10 months!!!

  14. Great comment anonymous. I wish I wrote that myself.
    Dam! I've got competition.

  15. Nice work for somebody who doesn't like to cook. Brings back memories of trips to Viet Nam and Malaysia with the pandanus.
    My stepson had many cakes out of the AWW kids' b/day cake book.

  16. Anonymous 1 & 2, go knock yourselves out thinking of more supposedly funny things.

    Thermomixer, these cakes are so popular in Asian countries. I remember eating them all the time in Vietnam.

    That AWW birthday book is extremely popular. Claire from Melbourne Gastronome said that the most contentious cake was the duck cake, with a potato chip for a beak I think?

  17. La Bergerie Pty Ltd
    141 Maling Rd
    Canterbury, Vic, 3126
    Ph: +61 3 9830 7915
    Fax: +61 3 98307916

    Try this place if you are interested in Black truffles. I got it a month back, it costs $2/gram. (It depends where it's from, so the price is diff)

    Look for Nicolas.

    If you like cheese, salami and etc, there are plenty of selections!

    And no, I dont work there, nor do I earn commission. =)

  18. Thanks for that info Phyllis. I will try to get to La Bergerie.

    I was at Essential Ingredients today and saw they had truffles in jars and also in some sort of water based solution. They were quite pricey as well, with a 100g jar going for over $120.

    I really like salami, so that will be good too.

    I don't mind if you do earn a commission. As long as the shop ends up being good, I don't mind where I hear it from.

  19. hi i wanna ask if i can use all purpose flour instead of selfraising flour?!

  20. Hi Anonymous, all purpose flour probably won't work for this cake. The cake won't rise and be nice and light. If you only have all purpose flour, I know that you can add baking powder to it and it will be like self raising flour. From searching on the web, it looks like you add 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder to 1 cup all purpose flour. You also can add 1/2 tsp salt.

  21. What size cake tin did you use?

    1. Hi Jess, I used a standard chiffon tin. It would probably be about 25cm in diameter and about 15cm deep.

  22. Just to double check. Is it coconut milk or coconut cream for both recipes?

    1. Definitely coconut cream. And not 65% coconut cream, 99% or 100% coconut cream. Use Kaya or Ayam brand and read the label to make sure it's pure coconut cream. Else the fudge won't thicken and won't work. I'll edit this recipe.

    2. Yeah that's what I thought. Saw your Instagram post about the lousy coconut cream before so I wondered why it says milk here. Thanks!

  23. Hi there, this looks super yummy. Can I please ask what size egg do you use?
    Thank you kindly

    1. I use 700g eggs per dozen so about 60g per egg.