Pandan Chiffon Cake

An easy-to-follow recipe for pandan chiffon cake which makes a rich, moist, just perfectly sweet chiffon that’s cotton-soft light and fluffy, and wonderful aromatic!

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You’ve just got your chiffon cake batter into the oven. You’ve followed every measurement and instruction to a ‘T’, and now with anticipated breath, you’re watching the cake do it’s magic.

It’s starting to rise beautifully – you’re getting excited and feeling your confidence soar. As the minutes and seconds tick by (and they will feel like the longest minutes ever!), the cake rises ever so steadily and gracefully, as it should. By the halfway mark, the top starts to brown lightly, the first signs of fissures appear, and you get your first peek into that gorgeous, sponge-like texture. Ooooh…

You’re clapping your hands gleefully. Everything is going perfectly. The cake continues its unabated, dome-shaped rise. Then, just as suddenly, it stops rising, as it also should. But no, wait – oh nooo! It’s starting to deflate! ‘Wait!’, you find yourself shrieking, except there’s no one around to hear your frightful panic. It’s too soon! That shouldn’t be happening – there’s still time on the clock. No, no, no! What’s happening?

Your heart drops with such a thump, you think you actually hear a stone drop on your kitchen floor. Disappointment and frustration sets in as you see the downward spiral unfolding in your oven. The cake sinks further into a plateau. And you feel yourself sinking right with it.

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You really are not alone if this has been happening with your attempts to make the perfect chiffon cake. I have been through every imaginable misadventure with pandan chiffon cakes. I’ve had chiffon cakes turn out beautifully, but the perfect pandan chiffon eluded me for, well … too long. To me, this was the queen of chiffon cakes. My queen. And I finally became Empress Dowager.

I’ve tested too many pandan chiffon cake recipes to count and spent many eventful hours ‘de-bugging’ every aspect of baking – anything and everything from ingredient combinations and proportions, baking techniques, baking temperatures, right down to baking times – you name it, I’ve tried it all! And I’m happy (and hugely relieved!) to tell you that it’s all paid off. I am now able to make the perfect pandan chiffon cake that is velvety smooth, moist and just perfectly sweet, with that cotton soft lightness and fluff.

In the end, there was no secret or mystery to it – it was just about finding a winning recipe (many thanks to Prima Flour) and getting all the basics right – ensuring that the all important meringue (whipped egg white and sugar mixture) is whipped to the perfect stage of stiffness is critical. Just as important, the meringue needs to be carefully introduced into the egg and flour batter by folding gently until just combined, so as to retain as much of the trapped air bubbles as possible. And finally, I have found that baking at a lower than expected temperature between 160 to 165 deg C (320 to 325 deg F), and on the lowest rack in the oven, is the most optimal. Now, you can make that perfect pandan chiffon cake too!

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Pandan Chiffon Cake

An easy-to-follow recipe for pandan chiffon cake which makes a rich, moist, just perfectly sweet chiffon that's cotton-soft light and fluffy, and wonderful aromatic!
4.41 from 20 votes
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Course: Breakfast, Cakes, Dessert, Snack, Snacks and Treats, Tea
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 1 (One) 20-cm chiffon cake

Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100 g top flour or cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pandan juice* (if unavailable, read notes below)
  • 100 ml coconut milk
  • 50 ml canola oil or safflower oil
  • 1/4 tsp pandan paste
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 90 - 100 g caster sugar

To make pandan juice:

  • 10 pandanus or screwpine leaves
  • 6 tbsp water

Instructions

  • To extract pandan juice, wash the leaves thoroughly to remove all grit and sand. Gather the leaves together into a tight bunch, and chop roughly into 5 mm-thin sections. Place the chopped leaves into a food blender or food processor, add the water, and blitz into as fine a pulp as possible. Press the pulp with the back of a metal spoon through a fine metal sieve to obtain the juice. Use the amount required.
  • Preheat oven to 165 deg C.
  • In a clean bowl or jug, mix together the wet ingredients as follows: canola oil (or safflower oil), coconut milk, pandan juice and pandan paste. Stir thoroughly to combine well.
  • In an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, whisk egg yolks with half the sugar, on high speed (speed 4 on my Kitchen Aid mixer) till light and fluffy. Lower speed to medium, and add the salt. Then slowly pour in the mixture from step (3) above. Whisk until just combined.
  • Sift flour and baking powder together into the mixture. Fold in the flour using a hand whisk or spatula. If using the mixer, mix on low speed just long enough for most of the flour to blend into the mixture. Then remove the bowl from the mixer, and finish folding manually, scraping all flour off the sides of the bowl, and folding into the mixture until smooth. This will help prevent over-folding or over-mixing. Transfer to a clean deep bowl (if you only have one mixer bowl that comes with your electric mixer) and set aside. Wash the whisk attachment and mixer bowl, and dry thoroughly. Important: The whisk and bowl must be absolutely dry and grease-free to whisk the meringue.
  • Place egg whites into the cleaned mixer bowl. Using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites at high speed (speed 4 to 5 on my Kitchen Aid). When the egg whites just begin to foam, add the cream of tartar while whisking. A few seconds later, add the remaining sugar in a slow and steady stream. Continue to whisk egg whites until stiff peak stage. Important: Do not over-beat the egg whites, otherwise the cake will turn out dry.
  • Add 1/3 beaten egg white to the yolk mixture and fold using a spatula. Gently fold in the next 1/3, and then the last remaining 1/3 of beaten egg whites, ensuring that the egg whites are well incorporated at each stage of folding. Be careful not to overfold.
  • Gently tap the bowl on the counter top to eliminate air pockets. Pour the batter into an ungreased 20 cm chiffon tube pan and gently run a thin spatula in an 'S' motion throughout the batter as air pockets may be trapped while pouring batter into the pan. Ensure that the batter reaches the same height all around the pan, and smooth the surface evenly.
  • Bake at the lowest rack in the oven for 40 to 45 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. When done, remove from the oven and immediately invert the tube pan onto a cake rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before loosening the cake. Note: It is perfectly normal for the surface of the batter to crack during baking; however, if it starts to crack before the first 15 mins of baking has passed, it may indicate that the oven temp is too high.
  • To loosen the cake, turn it up again so that the surface of the cake is now facing up. Insert a flat blade in between the cake and pan and run the blade around the circumference of the pan, pressing against the pan as much as possible. Then invert the pan again so that the bottom of the pan is now facing up. Gently tap or push the pan's base to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Then run the blade between the base and the bottom of the cake to loosen it from the base of the pan.

Notes

#1. The unused pandan juice can be stored in an airtight container and will keep well for up to 5 days, if stored in a refrigerator. If pandan juice is unavailable, this imgredient may be omitted. Alternatively, you may use 3/8 tsp of pandan paste, in place of 1/4 tsp pandan paste, in the recipe.
Did you try this recipe? Share it on Instagram!I'd love to see! Don't forget to mention @foodelicacy so we can drool away with you!

40 Comments

  1. Hi Rachel, from my experience, this could happen if the oven temperature is too hot, so the top of the cake expands and rises too quickly before the base and sides have baked through, then deflates. This could leave you with a dense base. It could also be due to placing the cake pan too close to the top heat, so usually, I place my cake pan on the lowest rack in my oven. It could also be due to how well you beat the egg whites, and the technique of folding it gently into the batter so that you don’t lose too much of the trapped air bubbles in the whipped egg whites, which helps the cake to rise evenly and uniformly. Hope this helps!

  2. Hii!! I have tried it but ny cake deflates after rising while still in the oven! Why does that happen? Also its de se at the bottom!

  3. Hi Connie, sure you could. Cover loosely over the top and sides with clingwrap, but sealed around the base at the edge of your plate, so as to prevent the cake from drying out. Hope this helps!

  4. Hi thanks for your quick reply. Can I just put it on the kitchen counter top, cover it loosely, if I don’t have a such big air tight container? Will it be ok? Thanks

  5. Hi Connie, it should be fine when kept overnight at room temperature, if stored in an air tight container in a cool, dry place. The cake has to completely cool down to room temperature before storing so as to avoid moisture building up in the container. I usually store the cake in the fridge after a day out (if there’s even any left?), and when you want to eat it, I find it’s as good after microwaving for 10 to 15 secs on medium high. Enjoy!

  6. Hi may I know how I can store the cake? Will it be ok to keep the cake on the counter top (spore is very humid n hot) for just 1 day (make on thu, consume on fri)? I think putting it in the fridge will change the texture. Thanks

  7. Hi Celia, Last week, I started to bake your Pandan chiffon cake using exactly your recipes and steps and it was the best Pandan cake I ever made. I surprised myself even when I tasted it and so did my Family. You know how many other Pandan recipes I have tried and it fell short. I baked two cakes using your recipes within 1 week. Thank you for your sincere sharing because for us amateur bakers, the best bake made our ingredients and efforts worthwhile. To everybody reading this post, just trust this recipe and enjoy.

  8. Hi Hui Ling, I usually buy pandan paste from Phoon Huat outlets, or from NTUC supermarkets – any brand will do. When it comes to coconut milk, I highly recommend the KARA brand, but again, any packet brand should be fine.

  9. Hi, which brand of Pandan paste do you use and where do you buy from? Coconut milk can be the usual Thai coconut milk in UHT brick packets?

  10. Hi Bel, coconut oil sounds interesting, though generally speaking, vegetable oils with neutral tastes are recommended. But since this chiffon cake uses coconut milk, I’d be interested to know if the flavour of coconut oil intensifies the overall flavour of the cake, so I hope you can share if you do try this.?Happy baking!!

  11. Hi, can i use coconut oil instead of canola/sunflower oil?

  12. Hi Ana, wow!????? That’s so wonderful to hear! Congratulations.. the credit is all yours as you must have followed the recipe carefully and handled the batter perfectly to get it soft and fluffy! Generally, egg yolks, oil and sugar give the cake it’s moistness, whipped egg whites and leavening agents like baking powder, cream of tartar, etc, gives it the volume (rise and fluff) and flour provides the structure. The use of cake flour which has a lower protein content compared to plain flour, is also what gives the chiffon cake it’s soft and tender texture. If you find your batter less fluffy than usual, the common causes are usually under-whipped egg whites (i.e. not stiff enough) or over-folding the whipped whites, or over-mixing the cake batter – these all lead to loss of trapped air bubbles and thus less volume = less height = more denseI texture.? Hope your second attempt goes perfectly! I’d love to see your bakes so if you’re on Instagram, feel free to #foodelicacy, ya??

  13. Hi Celia, I tried this recipe and it was a success. I selected this for my first baking session with my bestie. I gave the cake to my colleague and frends. They said it was yummmm…and it’s super soft!! I love it. What gives it the softness? egg white or the oil? & while typing out this, my 2nd attempt is in the oven! However, this time the batter was abit less fluffy then the prev time. Hope it turns out fine! Hope to bring over to my cuz place later. ?

  14. Hi Wati! Yayyy! So happy to hear that! Thank you so much for trying out the recipes and for leaving your comments. You’re a gem!

  15. Hi Celia!
    I tried the coffee chiffon cake too! It turned out beautiful. I love your recipes, will try more. hehehe. Thank you!

  16. Hi Wati, thank you so much for your feedback! So thrilled to hear it turned out well for you! Thanks for trying this recipe, and if you try other recipes as well, please keep your feedback coming!?

  17. Hi Wati, that’s wonderful to hear! Thank you so much for giving this recipe a go!? please keep your comments coming, ya?

  18. Hi Celia!
    I love your recipe! I’m a beginner at baking but managed to somehow bake this successfully ?
    Everyone who tasted it, love it! Thanks to u!

  19. Ok, thanks.

  20. Hi celia,

    May I know if it’s OK to use 50g eggs? Or do I need to use 60g eggs?

  21. Hi Fiana, I think you could get away with 5 egg yolks and 6 egg whites if you’re using smaller 50gm eggs.?

  22. Hi Celia,

    Thanks for reply so soon. I shall try again and bearing in mind the pointers that you raise. Thanks !

  23. You’re most welcome, Stella! Keep at it, okay, you WILL succeed!????

  24. Hi Stella, using a slightly larger cake pan would impact baking time, i.e. shorter baking time. Doesn’t sound like this posed a problem.?

  25. Hi Stella, thank you for writing! Sorry to hear that, but believe me, I’ve had the same issues before. Chiffon cakes MUST be inverted once they’re out of the oven to let it ‘hang’, so you did identify the problem correctly after your first attempt, and inverted it on your second attempt. To prevent chiffon cakes from falling or slipping out of the pan while inverted, try to use a cake pan without non-stick coating (the cake needs to ‘hang’ or stick onto the sides as it rises and later, when it’s inverted). Using a chiffon or tube pan would be best. Do not grease the sides or base of pan. It could also be that the cake was not baked long enough, or the temperature was too low, or the egg whites were not whipped enough to stiff peaks. Over-whipping would result in a drier cake, so if your cake was still moist but a little dense, it’s likely an underwhipped egg white issue. I realise there could be various contributing factors, so hope I’ve helped you identify what the possible issue or issues might be.

  26. Hi Celia,

    Thanks for the flavourful recipe ! I love the taste but I was not successful even after 2 attempts. Both occassion, the cake raised after baking. The first time, I did not flip over and it shrunk. Second time, I inverted the cake tin immediately after taking out from the oven. The whole cake fall off after like 5 minutes. What could have gone wrong? Over whisking of egg white or the folding was not complete and thorough?

  27. Hi Celia,

    I have forgotten to mention that I used a 23cm cake tin with your recipe for 100g flour. Could the tin be oversize?

  28. Hi Catherine, it sounds like the egg whites might have been over-whipped if the cake rose and then sank after cooling, and also if texture turned out dry. Try whipping to stiff peak stage – this is when you lift the whisk and turn it upside down, the egg whites on the whisk should hold its shape straight up, and maybe droop just a little at the tip. Also, another readon that the cake could sink is if the egg whites were not folded evenly or well enough into the batter. Hope you keep trying – chiffon cakes are a little tricky and takes practise to get it right, but you will get there!??

  29. my pandan cake rises but it sink after over turn to cool. texture dry. surprisingly top did not crack.

  30. Hi Celia, aw..bummer, sorry to hear that?. It’s hard to say without seeing it first hand. When you say it didn’t rise straight, did you mean it was lopsided? It could be that the batter wasn’t made level all around in the pan before baking. If it was level, then the next issue could be that it might not have been baked long enough. You also need to invert the cake pan immediately when it’s done baking and out of the oven, and let it cool completely inverted. If you did all that, then the usual issues with chiffon cafe could likely be that the egg whites were not beaten sufficiently to just stiff peaks, or over folding the batter which could cause the cake to lose volume and become denser. It’ll help a lot if you could tell me what the texture was like.

  31. I tried your recipe and it didn’t turned out right, my chiffon cake, doesn’t look good. It’s not raise straight. What you think, cause of this? Please help.

  32. You’re most welcome, Fenni! I wish you success! Do feel free to ask me anything, I’m happy to help!

  33. Thanks for your prompt reply. This is certainly helpful. Happy baking! =D

  34. Hi Fennie, sounds like you’ve got a 24-cm chiffon tin – it’s the wider base of the chiffon tin, which also becomes the base or bottom of your cake when turned over, that’s considered as the size of the chiffon tin. This is usually the standard size of chiffon tins widely available in Singapore, so if you’re baking a chiffon cake that calls for a 20-cm chiffon tin, I usually use 1.5 times the amount of ingredients, to make enough cake batter for a 24-cm tin. Hope this helps you! Happy baking, Fennie!

  35. Hi Celia. I got a newbie question. I have a chiffon tin: 20cm diameter for the shorter side (top part of the cake) and 24cm diameter for the longer side (bottom part of the cake). Therefore, my question would be, is this a 20 cm or 24 cm tin? I cannot seem to find the answer online. =( Thanks.

  36. Your welcome, Yvonne! Please feel free to ask me anything. Thank you!

  37. Thank you so much celia!

  38. Hi Yvonne,
    You could try using 1.5 times the portions stated. For example, in place of 100 gm top flour, use 150 gm, in place of 4 eggs, use 6 eggs, and so on. That should make enough batter for a 23-cm chiffon cake tin. If you do end up with some extra batter, what I usually do is bake the rest in paper muffin cups, but do these after you have finished baking the larger chiffon. Hope it works out for you! Do let me know how it turns out. Happy baking!

  39. Hi, may i know how To adjust the ingredients’ mEasurements for a 23-cm chiFfon tin?

  40. Hi, may i know how to adjust the ingredients measurement for a 23cm chiffon tin? Sorry for all cAps cos the comment box only allow all caps..

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