Strange as it sounds, the best pandan chiffon I have ever tasted was over a Asian-French fusion brunch, at a posh 6-star hotel. It was so good and light that it’s literally like “eating air”! Air which tasted of the fragrant pandan leaves and coconut milk with lingering sweetness so mild that it balances your taste buds and made it an almost religious experience! Coming from someone who normally prefers dense cakes, that is saying a lot. And thus began my quest for the perfect pandan chiffon cake.
I was not unhappy with my previous pandan cake attempt, but, the taste just did not “wow” me enough. And after some research, apparently it was due to the lack of salt! I have also made a slight tweak to my original approach.
Makes one 8” cake
4 large egg, separated
16 gm caster sugar
80 gm cake flour
¾ tsp baking powder
80 ml coconut milk
2 Tbsp pandan juice (see previous entry for making pandan juice)
40 ml canola oil (or any mild flavoured oil)
48 gm caster sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cream of tartar
1) Preheat oven to 170C fan.
2) Beat the egg yolks and 16g of sugar using the whisk attachment in a stand mixer until it is pale and have at least double in volume.
3) Add coconut milk, pandan juice and oil in a separate bowl. Mix well. Then, with the mixer on low, pour in the coconut milk mixture.
4) Sift cake flour and baking powder in three batches into the egg yolk mixture. Mix well and set aside.
5) Use a large clean bowl, making sure there is no water or oil in it. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until bubbles form. Add the cream of tartar. After mixing well, add the 48g of sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form.
6) Spoon out 1/3 of the beaten egg whites and fold into the egg mixture. Lightly fold in the rest of the beaten egg whites with a spatula, until just combined.
7) Pour into the cake pan and bake in preheated oven for about 35 to 40 minutes. After baking the first 15 minutes, if you find your cake gets browning, reduce heat to 140C, continue to bake until cooked through. A needle comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
8) Remove cake from the oven. invert the pan immediately. Allow it to cool completely.
This attempt gave me the perfect texture and taste (at least for me). So beautifully light. Unfortunately, as evident from the photograph above, the top of the cake cracked so badly – it made me sad. So I guess this calls for more research and more experiments. I am sure my friends do not mind the extra chiffon cakes.