Thursday 6 March 2014

Pandan Kaya Chiffon Cake (Cooked Dough Method)

After my not-so-successful first attempt with the cooked dough method, I decided to give it a try again, following a recipe closely to ensure higher chances of success. I realized that it is important to heat the liquid mixture to the right temperature before adding in the flour. Too hot (like my first attempt) and you will get an egg yolk batter which is of a soft dough consistency that is quite hard to incorporate with the meringue. Check out Victoria's comment towards the end of her blog on this.

Here's my version of Pandan Kaya cake made with fresh Pandan leaves and as little food coloring as possible :). Do pardon my experiment with the floral decorations. I will show you how I made the flower designs but you don't have to follow it. Pandan Kaya cake purists would prefer to keep it plain and simple :P.

You begin by making the Pandan juice. I didn't count the exact  number of leaves and amount of water I used because I don't like to stick strictly to recipes unless I have to :P. My elder kid ( I roped in my elder kid to help out and for some bonding time too) and I cut about 15 leaves (+/-5) to small pieces that are about 1cm in size. We blended the leaves with about 80ml of cooled boiled water, and then squeezed out the Pandan juice by putting the blended leaves in paper coffee filters and squeezing as hard as we can with our hands. Here's how much Pandan juice we got!

I love the natural jade green color, which will be used to color the cake naturally. Refrigerate the juice overnight in the fridge to let it settle. There will be a layer of clear water above the dark green water with Pandan leaf bits after letting the juice to settle. Only the dark green layer at the bottom should be used for making the Pandan cake.

I adapted the chiffon cake recipe from here and the fudge layer recipe from here.

Pandan chiffon cake recipe (cooked dough method)
2 egg yolks
28g coconut milk
16g Pandan juice
20g butter
36g cake flour (sifted)

32g caster sugar
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line the bottom of a 10 x 10" square tin* with baking sheet.
2. Cook coconut milk, butter and Pandan juice until the butter melts. While the mixture is still warm, add in sifted flour and mix well.
3. Slowly add in beaten egg yolks and mix well. Set aside.
4. Beat egg whites until foamy with an electric mixer. Add in cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add in sugar until stiff peaks form.
5. Add in one third of the meringue into the cooked dough and fold in well. Fold in the rest of the meringue in two additions until it is well incorporated.
6. Pour the batter into the tin and bang it a few times on the table to release any air bubbles. Bake for 15 minutes. Here's how the cake looks like fresh from the oven. Oh my, this smells really heavenly!

7. Use a knife or spatula to release the cake from the sides of the tin. Cover the cake with a baking sheet and flip it over to cool. Remove the baking sheet that was originally lining the tin and cover the cake with a fresh sheet. I used reusable baking sheet for the first time for this bake. Loving it lots! Love the natural green color too!

8. Use small cake tins (springform ones will be helpful for releasing the assembled cake later on but not necesssary) to cut out 2 pieces of cake for each shape. One 10 x 10" flat cake can make two 4" round cakes. Testing out my heart shape tin! Set aside the cakes and get ready to make the fudge.

Fudge layer recipe
400ml coconut milk
200ml Pandan water (Boil water with a few Pandan leaves that have been cut up to small pieces. For this attempt, I used the leftover Pandan juice from making the cake and top it up with water.)
90g sugar (I used 80g and hubby thinks it's not sweet enough)
1/2 tbs agar powder (I used 1 tsp and fudge turned out a little too soft)

37g custard powder
200ml water
A few drops of green and yellow liquid food coloring
1/8 tsp salt

1. Mix ingredients (B) together and stir well.
2. Mix ingredients (A) in a pot and use low heat to cook it. Stir until it boils.
3. Stir (B) again as the custard powder may have settled. GRADUALLY pour (B) into (A), keep stirring while you do so and cook until mixture thickens a bit. If you pour (B) at one shot you may get a lumpy fudge.
4. Pour fudge into base of cake tin and cover it with a layer of cake. You may push the cake a little away from the edges and spoon in a bit of fudge such that your cake will have smooth  fudge-covered sides. Repeat layering with more fudge and end off with cake.
5. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. Remove cake from springform pan carefully and decorate sides with dessicated coconut (optional).

Fudge flower decoration

If you intend to make designs using fudge, prepare this first before the main portion that is used to cover and layer the cake. Prepare about a quarter of the fudge above and color it with red food coloring instead of green and yellow. Pour into flat-bottomed moulds/ cups/ tins and let it set in the fridge. Use cookie cutters to cut out the flower shapes. A quarter portion is too much for making designs but any less and the portion will be too small to work with.

Line the bottom of the springform pan with some fudge flowers. Take a tablespoonful of green fudge and add in more green and some brown coloring while it is still warm. Use a food brush to paint the leaves and stems at the bottom of the tin. Let it set in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.

Place the tin on some freezer packs and pour the pandan fudge over the floral designs. This is to prevent the warm fudge from melting the designs too much. Keep stirring the fudge in the pot to prevent it from setting too much. Layer with cake and more fudge, following the instructions above. Place the whole assembly in the fridge for 2 hours or until set before attempting to unmould.

I was curious to know if the designs will stay stable after one day. Here's the cake the next day.

As you can see, the color runs a bit due to diffusion. Perhaps that's why Bengawan Solo always decorate their Pandan Kaya cakes with buttercream :P. Otherwise, this idea is pretty awesome if you want to make designs that still look good even when the color runs a bit... like rainbows!

This cake is generally well received with mainly "fudge layer too soft" as the negative comment. Otherwise everyone liked the taste (except for hubby who thinks the fudge is not sweet enough) and the cooked dough pandan chiffon cake is really good! There will be some leftover cake and fudge if you follow my recipe so you may want to do what I did. Just dump the whole lot into a bowl and refrigerate it. Enjoy the cake straight out of the bowl after it has set!

With love,
Phay Shing

*Most people make Pandan Kaya cake by baking a tall cake and then slicing it horizontally into two or three separate pieces. I prefer to bake a big flat one and then use small cake tins to cut out smaller slices for layering.

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