The celebrity chef Nigel Lawson was recently quoted that Pandan leaves are the next big food craze in the US and UK. This unique Southeast Asia plant, which are found in the backyards of many Malaysian homes, has a sweet fragrance that is likened to vanilla. Its extracted juices are the natural food colouring that is commonly used in some popular Southeast Asia desserts. It is also an essential ingredient for making the famous Singapore Chicken Rice.
Makes one cake (use 25cm cake tin),
- 6 egg yolks (use very fresh egg weighting at 60g each, room temperature) 蛋黄
- 100g caster sugar 白砂糖
- 2 tablespoons pandan juice (freshly made from pandan leaves + 2 tablespoons water)新鲜班兰汁
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence 香草香精
- 1 teaspoon pandan essence斑兰香精
- 115ml sunflower oil (canola oil or corn oil is good too)植物烹调油
- 140ml coconut milk 椰奶
- 200g cake flour 低筋面粉
- 2 teaspoons baking powder 泡打粉
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For meringue 蛋白糖霜,
- 9 egg whites (use very fresh egg weighting at 60g each, room temperature) 蛋白
- 100g caster sugar 白砂糖
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar 塔塔粉
- Preheat the oven to 170℃. I use an oven thermometer to make sure to get the exact temperature. Use oven function of ‘Fan Plus’. Place the rack in the lowest level of your oven.
- First let’s make the pandan juice. Pandan leaf is not a juicy plant. To ‘squeeze’ the juice as much as you can, thinly cut the leaves then add them in the food processor with two tablespoons of water. After it comes a paste, place in a cheese cloth. Then squeeze the juice out in a bowl.
- Now let us cream the egg yolk. Place egg yolks into a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk the yolks on medium speed (30 seconds). Gradually add into sugar and beat on high speed until the eggs have tripled in volume resulting a nice and light batter. This takes about 5 minutes.
- Add into wet ingredients Mix into the corn oil, coconut milk, pandan paste, vanilla essence. Sift into the dry ingredients of cake flour, salt and baking powder. Gently fold them into the beaten eggs until you can’t see flour anymore.
- Now let’s make meringue. Use an electric mixer, beat the egg whites over medium speed for one minute. Then add Cream of Tartar and whisk for one more minute. Then gradually add the sugar and beat over high speed for about 5 minutes.
- Now that the batter and meringue is done, It is time to mix them both together. Add one third of the meringue to the batter and mix it with a spatula so that you get a light green batter which is easy to fold. Then add the rest of the meringue to the batter and GENTLY fold the mixture in.
- Before you pour the mixture into the tin, give your batter bowl a few sharp blows by banging it on the table. This will get the big bubbles to rise to the top and burst.
- Now pour the mixture into the cake tin slowly making sure that as many of the big bubbles burst while the batter flows over the rim of the cake tin. Remember pouring the batter into the same portion of the tin and you will see that the batter flows around the tin without trapping more air.
- Now put the cake into the oven. Make sure that the oven thermometer shows 170 °C and put the cake tin as lowest in the oven as you can. It is critical to have more heat at the bottom than the top or else the top will brown, crack, become dry and start to sink before your baking is done. At around 15 to 20 minutes, you cake would have risen and start to crack. The entire baking time takes about 55 minutes.
- Once baking is done, overturn the cake and let it cool. Use a funnel to elevate the cake. This is important because if the cake is too close to your tabletop, condensation takes place and you will spoil the surface of the cake. To speed up the cooling process, you can drape a wet towel over the cake tin. This takes about 60 minutes. Once your cake is cooled, it’s time to remove it from the tin.
- Use a sharp knife and with one movement separate the sides of the cake from the tin, pressing your blade as firm as possible on the cake tin.