Wednesday 22 May 2019

'Basket of Roses' Pandan Kaya Cake (diabetic friendly)

This is a bake that I mulled over the design and details for a couple of months, and took time to pick up a new skill for it too. Presenting my version of diabetic friendly "basket of flowers" pandan kaya cake!

I did a partial basket weave with chiffon sponge because I feel the insides are too pretty to be hidden!

Why the focus on it being diabetic friendly? Because I made this for mum's birthday and she has diabetes. The pandan Gula melaka chiffon sponges and pandan Gula melaka pudding are made using half Stevia (ilite brand) and half coconut palm sugar (Gula melaka). Coconut palm sugar has a glycemic index a third of refined white sugar and imparts a wonderful aroma to the bakes. And Stevia is a sugar replacement. I was hesitant to use any sugar replacements in my bakes for fear of weird chemical after taste or a less stable meringue for the chiffon sponge but was encouraged to try this brand since I have heard reviews that it's not that noticeable especially if there are other strong flavours in the bake.

The flowers aren't made of chiffon for once. They are made of bean paste and I colour it naturally using purple sweet potato, blue pea flower and raspberry powder. I took time to learn how to make bean paste flowers just for this bake and perhaps for future bakes. Check out my earlier blog post for details! Bean paste flowers also contain a lot less sugar than regular sugar paste flowers. They taste like bean flavoured mochi. These can be made ahead of time and stored airtight in the fridge or left out in the open with good ventilation for a couple of days.

Making bean paste roses for the cake

Making bean paste leaves too! I used gel food colouring for the leaves 

The Pandan chiffon cake is adapted from neo_sook_bee (Instagram). She uses the cooked dough method all the time so the recipes for chiffon sponges are using this method. I didn't use my regular pandan Gula melaka chiffon recipe although it is also refined sugar free and always has great reviews as this time I am baking it in a round tin with removable base and I wasn't sure if it will work out the same way. But as usual, I prepare concentrated pandan juice a few days before baking for a more intense flavour and colour. I blended and sieved out the juice and let it settle in fridge for a few days, using only the dark green part that settled at the bottom for baking.

Recipe for diabetic friendly pandan chiffon cake
Ingredients (makes one 6" round cake):
Yolk batter
22g coconut oil
35g pandan juice concentrate
20g coconut milk
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pandan paste
60g cake flour, sifted into mixing bowl
3 egg yolks

3 egg whites
1/5 tsp cream of tartar
22g granulated Gula melaka
22g ilite sugar (Stevia)
1/2 tsp cornflour

1. Preheat oven to 160℃. Place rack at second lowest position. Place a tray of water at base of oven (optional but I used it as I didn't do a slit cake).

2. Make the yolk batter. Place all ingredients for the yolk batter except egg yolks and flour into a small saucepan. Heat until 80℃. Remove and pour into mixing bowl with sifted flour. Mix well until a soft dough forms. Leave it to cool for a few minutes. Add egg yolks one at a time and mix well between each addition.

3. Prepare meringue. Combine sugars and cornflour in a small bowl and whisk everything together. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form, gradually adding in sugar mixture once the egg whites are foamy. Take your time to build up the meringue by beating at low or medium-low speed and to avoid making huge bubbles in your meringue.

4. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into yolk batter in two or three additions. Pour batter into 6" tin with removable base. Use a chopstick to run around the batter to pop any air bubbles.

5. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 135℃ and bake for another 60 minutes or until skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Cool upside down. I didn't have the special cooling rack for the tin so I used two identical ceramic mugs to support the tin. Note that baking temperature and time varies from oven to oven.

6. Carefully unmould by hand when cooled completely. Slice the cake into three layers before assembly. Each layer is about 2-2.5cm in my case.

Freshly baked cake!

Recipe for diabetic friendly pandan Gula melaka pudding
240g coconut milk (may replace partially or all with other milk of your preference)
110g water
10g pandan juice concentrate
30g granulated or finely chopped Gula melaka
30g ilite sugar (Stevia)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp pandan paste
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp green food colouring (optional)
1/8 tsp caramel essence (optional)
1 tsp Agar powder

26g cornflour
130g water

1. Prepare B). Place ingredients in a jug and stir to mix well. Set aside.

2. Put all ingredients in A) in a saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring continuously. Make sure that all agar powder is dissolved.

3. Stir B) again and pour in a thin stream into saucepan while stirring contents of saucepan continuously. Keep stirring and bring mixture to a boil. Let it boil for another minute while stirring.

4. Remove from heat and strain the mixture to remove any lumps that may have formed. Press a cling wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming if you aren't ready to assemble yet.

5. When ready to assemble, place a layer of pandan cake on cakeboard and wrap an acetate sheet around it to form a wall. Gently scoop some pudding on the cake. Let it rest for a few minutes in the open or a minute in the fridge to set it a little. Stir the pudding in the bowl frequently to prevent it from setting. Carefully place second layer of sponge on top and press it down to release any trapped air bubbles. Repeat layering pudding and last sponge layer. Measure the height of assembled cake for reference for making basket weave. Cover the top with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. Remove the acetate sheet before assembling with basket weave.

Assembling pandan sponge and pudding

Recipe for diabetic friendly pandan Gula melaka chiffon sponge
Ingredients (makes one 10x12" and two 7x7" thin cakes. You may not need all the sponge for basket weave depending on how much cake you want to cover with the weave. Use whatever baking tray size you have to bake. Just make sure you spread as thin a layer of batter as you can):

Yolk batter
35g coconut oil
57g pandan water (boil some water with 5-6 pandan leaves cut into shorter strips for about 10 min, sieve out leaves and cool)
57g cake flour, sifted into mixing bowl
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp cocoa powder (optional, for colouring cake a darker brown shade, sift together with flour if using)
3 egg yolks

3 egg whites
22g granulated Gula melaka
22g ilite sugar (Stevia)
1/2 tsp cornflour

1. Preheat oven to 180℃. Set oven rack to second lowest position. Do not use steam bake for this. Line baking tray(s) with Teflon sheet or parchment paper.

2. Prepare batter the same way as pandan cake above.

3. Spread the batter as thin a layer as possible in baking trays. Bake for 8-9min. Remove from oven and immediately flip the cake onto fresh sheet of parchment paper. Cool completely before cutting pieces for assembly.

I didn't take photos for in-between steps of making the basket weave but essentially it's the same technique as making the weave with fondant or buttercream so you can google for videos of those to have an idea. I cut the thin layer of sponge into pieces and glue them onto the pandan kaya cake using melted marshmellows. If your sponge is baked right and baked thin, you shouldn't have issues making the weave with the rope patterned border. If the sponge layer is thick, it will break easily. I flatten the baked sponge a little after baking by pressing it between two sheets of parchment paper.

I absolutely love the view of this unadorned cake 😍😍

I just arranged the flowers onto the cake, leaving a short segment of the wooden skewer on each rose so that it is easy to insert into the cake.

Top view of the cake! I nearly forgot to take a photo of it and only remembered as I was packing into cake box πŸ˜†

Do brush the exposed sponge with some syrup (10g sugar dissolved in 20g hot water) to keep it moist during storage in the fridge. Store it in airtight condition. Best served a day or two after assembly.

Here's the cake at mum's birthday celebration lunch.

Here's a peek at the insides...

My dad wanted the service staff and one of the restaurant chefs to try the cake so they had a slice each too.  They loved the cake and said it tastes really good, not too sweet like commercially sold ones! Even hubby with picky palate said the balance of flavours is spot on. It's a pity I didn't take a photo of mum eating one of the bean paste roses πŸ˜†. Just to show you that they can be eaten too!

Those of you who would like to make a diabetic friendly bake that is flavourful but doesn't taste too sweet, you can give this recipe a try 😊. My regular pandan Gula melaka sponge and pudding cake that uses only Gula melaka as sweetener is more diabetic friendly than cakes baked with refined sugar but still raises blood sugar a little. With half of it being replaced by Stevia in this cake, the glycemic load is even less.

With lots of love,
Phay Shing

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