Wednesday 13 September 2017

Ondeh-Ondeh with Pandan Kaya Gula Melaka Chiffon Cake (sweetened only with coconut palm sugar!)

I have wondered about baking chiffon cakes without relying on caster sugar or artificial sweeteners for quite a long while but didn't get to try it until this bake for my dad's birthday. Presenting my pandan kaya Gula Melaka chiffon cake made using only coconut palm sugar as sweetener! I paired the cake with a simple and yummy deco of Japanese and purple sweet potato ondeh-ondeh balls, making the whole dessert absolutely free from white sugar :)

Gula Melaka or coconut palm sugar has a glycemic index that is about a third of white sugar, making it a more diabetic friendly choice while being from a natural source. This doesn't mean that diabetics should then binge on desserts made with Gula Melaka. Everything is still best taken in moderation. But it does mean that I am able to bake a birthday cake for my parents, who have to watch their direct sugar intake, more guilt-free.

I hid more Ondeh-Ondeh balls in the hole of the chiffon cake but accidentally cut a hole in the hidden ball when cutting the cake...Oops! :P...

...Or maybe not so oops! The oozy, delectable Gula Melaka from ondeh-ondeh is soaked up by the Pandan Gula Melaka chiffon sponge below so the yummy stuff is not wasted. Needless to say, that part of the cake was delicious!

Here's a close-up view of a slice of cake...

Super yummy!

I am not kidding when I said everyone finished the cake and Ondeh-Ondeh in less than 10 minutes with second helpings included. That's after a buffet meal too! Cake is soft and spongey but very moist so hubby loved it even though he doesn't like chiffon cakes in general. The Ondeh-Ondeh still remained soft despite being kept overnight in the fridge due to the use of sweet potatoes. Overall very satisfying :).

Recipe for Pandan Gula Melaka chiffon cake (white sugar-free)
Ingredients (makes one 15cm chiffon cake):
2 egg yolks
15g Gula melaka, chopped (more if you prefer sweeter and stronger flavour)
23g coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
13g pandan juice
21g coconut milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp pandan paste (optional)
40g cake flour
Pinch of salt

3 egg whites
33g fine coconut palm sugar*
1/5 tsp cream of tartar

*Here's the coconut palm sugar that I use for the meringue. It is as fine as caster sugar so can be easily used as caster sugar substitute. If you can't find it, you may chop Gula Melaka from the block as finely as you can. It doesn't matter if there are small lumps of Gula melaka. They will turn up as little pools of delectable stuff in the cake ;).

1. Place coconut milk, pandan juice and chopped Gula melaka in a small saucepan. Heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool. Add vanilla extract and pandan paste.

2. Set oven rack to second lowest position, place a tray of water at the base of the oven (optional. For steam baking). Preheat oven to 160℃.

3. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks until thick and pale. Add coconut oil and whisk until well combined. Add coconut milk mixture and whisk until combined. Gradually add in sifted flour and salt and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

4. Prepare the meringue. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form, gradually adding in sugar once the egg whites are foamy.

Palm sugar meringue

5. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in three batches. Pour the batter slowly into the chiffon tin to allow any big air bubbles to pop. Gently tap the tin on the table a few times.

6. Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 140℃ and bake for another 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 120℃ and bake for another 15 minutes or until skewer comes out clean and top of cake bounces back when lightly pressed. Note that oven temperature and time is a guideline as every oven is different. Steam baking time is also longer than without steam. Invert immediately to cool. I mould by hand.

Freshly baked chiffon!

I sliced the cake into three portions of equal thickness.

Recipe for Gula Melaka pudding
120g coconut milk (may replace with evaporated milk)
63g pandan water
31g Gula Melaka, chopped
1/2 tsp agar powder
A pinch of salt
1/8 tsp caramel essence (optional)
1/8 tsp vanilla extract

13g custard powder
65g pandan water

1. Mix ingredients in B) in a jug. Set aside.

2. Place all ingredients in A) in a small saucepan and stir while bringing to a boil.

3. Stir B) again and slowly pour into A). Keep stirring the mixture over medium low heat until it boils again. Stir and boil for another two minutes before removing from heat.

4. Sieve the pudding mixture into a bowl. Assemble with cake immediately.

In order to retain the hole in the middle so that I could hide some Ondeh-Ondeh inside, I used flexible plastic meant for wrapping around sides of cakes to create two rings. One outer and one inner ring as shown below. Alternate cake and pudding layers. I used a spoon to carefully pour pudding in.

5. Chill in fridge for an hour or until firm. Carefully remove the plastic pieces.

Pandan kaya Gula melaka chiffon cake!

The sweet potato Ondeh-Ondeh can be found in this blog post. I will just highlight how to create the swirl design here.

Stack the different coloured dough together and roll until about 12cm long. Roll it up.

Cut the roll into half with a knife of bench scraper.

Place cut side down and flatten slightly. Place a compacted ball of chopped Gula Melaka in the middle

Wrap up the Gula melaka and pinch seal. And there you have Ondeh-Ondeh balls with swirls!

Boil the assembled balls and coat lightly with some shredded coconut.

I let the Ondeh-Ondeh cool before hiding two of them in the hole

Look what's hiding!

So give this cake a try if you are looking at making a yummy birthday cake that uses no white sugar. You may bake the chiffon as thin layer cake and cut into a few pieces if you wish, instead of a tall chiffon cake. Baking time will be shorter of course.

With lots of love,
Phay Shing

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