Saturday, 12 July 2014

Pandan and Chocolate Present Chiffon Cake

I have some relatives visiting Singapore from the UK and would like some Asian flavored bake so I made this pandan cake dressed up as a present box with super soft and bendy chocolate chiffon cake ;).

You will find that most present cakes are made with fondant and I thought why not try to make it with chiffon since the cake is naturally soft and bendy. It would be more present-like if I baked a thinner layer cake to make the decorations more ribbon-like.

I baked the pandan cake in a 15cm chiffon tin and the chocolate cake in a 10" square tin. It has not been a good bake day with failed cake (didn't bake long enough but still edible) so I had extra pandan cake for added decoration :p.

My younger kid kindly helped with the preparation of the pandan juice by cutting the leaves into small pieces. The juice is made by simply blending the cut up leaves with some cool water, and then squeezing the pulp with all your strength to extract as much juice as possible. Let the juice collected settle for a couple of days in the fridge and use only the dark green part that settled at the bottom. I didn't count the number of leaves I used nor did I measure how much water I added because this is not critical. Just add enough water such that it is easy to blend the leaves.

I have experimented with various flour to liquid ratio for chiffon cakes to find that perfect balance between softness and stability and decided to stick with Rei's suggested formula of 2 parts flour to 3 parts liquid (66.67%). The result is a soft, fluffy and moist chiffon cake that doesn't collapse on it's own weight, but have to be unmoulded using a spatula (hand unmoulding will dent your cake). I usually prefer a lower ratio of closer to 60% for eating but for decorative chiffon cakes especially with things stuck on top, a ratio closer to 70-75% is better and you compensate the drier cake by increasing oil content. The only exception is if you used the cooked dough method to make chiffon cakes whereby the ratio is usually less than 60%.

Ok enough lecture about the science of chiffon cakes :p. Just thought I share with you how I decide how much of each ingredient to use for my chiffon recipes.... in case you wonder if I just pluck numbers out of thin air.

Chocolate layer cake
2 egg yolks
8g caster sugar
30g canola oil
35g fresh milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
40g cake flour
1 tbs cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt

3 egg whites
40g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Pandan chiffon cake (adapted from here)
2 egg yolks
10g sugar
23g canola oil
12g pandan juice
21g coconut milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 tsp pandan flavoring (optional)
38g cake flour
Pinch of salt

3 egg whites
30g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Wrap the 15cm chiffon tin with cake strips made from damp newspaper wrapped in aluminium foil (optional but reduce baking time by 5-10 minutes if you are not using). Line bottom of 10" square tin with baking sheet. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

2. Prepare the chocolate batter. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and sugar has dissolved. Add oil and whisk until well combined. Add salt, vanilla essence and milk and mix well. Gradually whisk in sifted cake flour and cocoa powder until no trace of flour can be seen.

3. Prepare the meringue for the chocolate batter. Beat egg whites in a clean metal bowl with and electric mixer until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and the bowl can be overturned without the meringue falling out.

4. Gently but quickly fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in three batches. Tap the mixing bowl a few times on the table to release any trapped bubbles.  Slowly pour the batter into 10" square tin to pop any big air bubbles. Level the batter in the pan.

5. Bake for 15 minutes. Immediately remove cake from pan and gently peel off baking sheet. Fold the cake in half and cool with a baking sheet covering it.

6. While the chocolate cake is baking, prepare the pandan batter. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until sugar dissolves. Whisk in oil until well combined. Add coconut milk, pandan juice, vanilla extract,  pandan flavoring and salt and mix well. Gradually add in sifted flour and whisk until no trace of flour can be seen.

7. Prepare the meringue for the pandan batter in the same way as the chocolate batter and fold in in three batches. Slowly pour the batter into the chiffon tin and run a chopstick around to pop any trapped air.

8. Position the rack at second lowest position. Bake for 20 minutes then reduce the temperature and bake for another 20-25 minutes at 150 degrees Celsius. When the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a spatula, it is done. Immediately invert to cool and unmould using a spatula when completely cooled.

9. Cut the chocolate layer cake into strips of about 1.5-2 cm in width with a serrated knife.

Look at how soft and bendy the cake is!

10. Melt some marshmellows with a bit of water to make a glue. Assemble the present pandan chiffon cake with chocolate cake ribbons as shown in my photo or any style you like.

I'm linking this post to Bake Along for this week's theme of Chiffon Cakes jointly hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Lena of Frozen Wings.

**Update: My relatives finally had a chance to eat the cake two days after baking. Thank God they said it's very yummy. I was afraid it wasn't so fresh. I had some fun with leftover cake too. Here are some chocolate banana Swiss roll snails on pandan leaves ;). I had some whip topping, dried pineapples and small bananas on hand.

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. Your chiffon cake is really it!

  2. Thanks Jozelyn :). Using the extra egg white and paying attention to the flour:liquid ratio helps.
    Have a great weekend!

  3. Hi Phay Shing

    You are indeed fond of baking chiffon cakes and in so many beautiful varieties and patterns.

    Just to let you know that a few hours ago, I chanced upon some newly arrived 15cm chiffon cake pan sets sold at Phoon Huat Bencoolen outlet. The new tall tube pan set is unlike the one I bought last year in that it comes with a loose flat plate which is interchangeable with the tube plate when you want to bake a normal cake. The new tall chiffon cake pan set comes in pretty and loveable pink colour. Also available in 20cm size in pretty yellow colour. I did not hesitate to buy one because when I bake normal cake using the loose flat plate base, the pan's height allows my cake to rise tall. Rather costly at S$17.60 for the 15cm size.

    I am now checking with the company in Taiwan if I could buy extra loose flat plates so that I can use flat plate in the other tube pans I bought last year.

    Priscilla Poh

    1. Thanks Priscilla! Susanne and I have much fun with creating interesting bakes. Thanks for letting me know there is such an option too! Unfortunately I am not very mobile without a car and young kids in tow. Will keep my eyes open if I happen to see it at phoon huat or any other outlets that sell bakeware. Bencoolen is not very accessible to me.

  4. Your chiffon cake is really beautiful! It is a present in itself, how creative of you!
    Thank you for baking with us, it is nice to have you join our Bake-Along. Hope to see you again!

    1. Thanks Joyce for your encouragement :). Glad to be able to participate!

  5. Hello Phay Shing, wow ! indeed a very impressive present ... a lovely chiffon cake!

    1. Hi Karen, thanks for your compliment! So glad that it was still yummy 2 days after baking and my relatives loved it.

  6. Oh my...a very sweet looking chiffon present.. I wouldn't mind having one too ;)

    1. Thank you :). I won't mind baking one for you too! It's such a joy to have people enjoy my bakes!

  7. Hi Phay Shing,

    You are so creative with your all chiffon cake baking. This pressie looking one looks lovely :D


    1. Thanks Zoe for your compliments :). Thanks for hosting bake-along too!

  8. i can see that your chiffon is really soft that it can bend over....i guess your friends were thrilled seeing this 'present' :D

    1. Hi Lena, thanks for your compliments :). I think my relatives were more thrilled at eating a cake that they described as "amazingly yummy" :p