Recipe: Pandan sponge cake – The Cookbook Challenge Week 26 ‘Green’ theme

by April@MyFoodTrail on July 27, 2010

in Baking, Cakes, Cookbook Challenge 2010, Recipes

Theme: Green
Cookbook: The Real Taste of Indonesia

The first thing that came to mind for ‘green’ week was a pandan cake so I looked through my cookbooks for a recipe. I only had one pandan cake recipe in all my cookbooks, but one was all I needed.

Pandan chiffon cake brings me back to my childhood – my mum loved pandan cake so every time we went to the Asian grocery shop, she would buy one home and let me hold it so it wouldn’t get squashed. I loved the smell, colour and lightness of the cake. It has been a while since I have last had pandan cake because I can’t seem to find it at the Asian grocery shop anymore. I remember it being right near the front register when I was younger. Does anyone know where you can still buy a pandan cake?

I made this cake when hubby’s family came over for dinner so it was rather embarrassing when the only dessert I had planned turned out to be a horrible fail! I blame the recipe – I don’t think it’s a good one! My sister in law and hubby liked the crunchiness of the outside and the chewiness of the inside and likened it to a pandan brownie.

I debated whether to post this since it looks so terrible, but oh well, it’s a recipe to black list!

Pandan sponge cake

TCC - Pandan Cake - Finished 1

5 eggs, at room temperature
250g caster sugar
A few drops of pandan essence
250g (2 cups) flour, sifted
50g cornflour, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan forced). Prepare a 23cm (9 inch) round cake tin by greasing then dusting with flour.

2. Place the eggs and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the bowl. Whisk briskly with an electric mixer until the mixture thickens and almost doubles in volume, approximately 8 minutes.

TCC - Pandan Cake - Method 1

Whisking eggs over a saucepan; Eggs after whisking

3. Remove from the heat and whisk in the pandan essence. Continue to whisk until the mixture cools, another approximately 8 minutes.

TCC - Pandan Cake - Method 2

Adding in pandan essence; Folding in flour

4. Mix together the flour, cornflour, salt and lemon zest in a separate bowl, before slowly folding into the pandan mixture.

5. Pour the mixture into the cake in, place just below the middle of the oven and bake for approximately 1 hour or until springy to the touch.

TCC - Pandan Cake - Method 3

Before baking; after baking

6. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

TCC - Pandan Cake - Finished 2

Results: The pandan cake deflated when cooling and the outside was hard like a rock! It was also very sweet. Definitely not the light, airy, fluffy cake I remembered from my childhood! I actually tried making it again because my sister in law liked the crunchy outside and brownie texture. The second time I made it, I used less sugar and it didn’t deflate as much but it was so dry. Another embarrassment! We all tried a small bit and the rest of it went in the bin! At least the first cake I made was eaten!

Would I make it again? No, I need a better pandan cake recipe!

Over & Out, April xx

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Iron Chef Shellie July 27, 2010 at 10:16 pm

OH NO!! looked alright till it was cut.

I have the same childhood memory. Haven't seen them next to the cash registers in years =(

Try Poh's recipe. I tried it and it's on my blog and it's yum! Although it's the orange flavour, I want to try a pandan flavour.

…. now crying chiffon cake… 😛


Agnes July 28, 2010 at 9:17 am

DOH! Oh well, can't win them all 😐 I think you're right about the recipe being a dud – don't most chiffon cake recipes have the whites and yolks beaten separately?


April @ My Food Trail July 28, 2010 at 10:39 am

Hi Iron Chef Shellie: Ooh, thanks for a tried and tested recipe! I've got a craving for proper pandan chiffon cake!

Hi Agnes: Yes! I've been finding that out lately! Should have checked before trying out this recipe!


Maria@TheGourmetChallenge July 28, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Ohhh this brings back chilhood memories too. I have the exact same sotory, my mum loved pandan cake and we'd always buy it. I've always wanted to try to make it, but I was worried it wouldnt turn out. I think I might actually enjoy the chewyness of this cake. didnt turn out perfect, but still a success in my mind. I know there are alot of the bakeries in footscray that sell pandan chiffon cake. dont know if you're interested.


Jackie July 28, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Oh no!

You could take a glass-half-full position and fill the empty space where it collapsed with something – cream, ice cream, chocolate ganache. Mmm deliciousness!


penny aka jeroxie July 28, 2010 at 11:05 pm

I am going to make a pandan cake….hope I can do it! Still good to post 🙂


My Restaurants Melbourne July 29, 2010 at 2:50 pm

As i was following this recipe, it was sounding great!! You should try it again, you never know, third time lucky?


Sarah July 30, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Hi April,

I bet it still tasted nice! I'd suggest trying Thanh's recipe (, it's the one I use and I love it! So light and fluffy.

Monk and Me in East Hawthorn sell a good Pandan cake. (A friend of mine makes it!)

xox Sarah


megaman July 30, 2010 at 8:45 pm

I do agree, the recipe looks a bit out of balance but I'm not 100% certain since I'm not a qualified pastry chef (yet). Because you're not using any raising agents, you're eggs will be be what gives your cake it's 'rise' and I think that's where your problem lies.

From the above pictures that you've posted, the egg and sugar sabayon looks incorrect. It should be a lot larger in volume and much more thick and pale, similar to a meringue but not quite the same. In the photo, you can see big bubbling air bubbles that look like they are floating in a liquid. It may have been that your eggs were over-heated, because once they go over a certain temperature they will not beat up into peaks. You wan't the mixture to be between 43-45C and not anymuch higher.

I won't get you into ratios of the recipe, since I've never made Pandan cake before.

You might want to visit which has very good pictures to show you what a whole egg 'sabayon' mixture should look like, which looks very different to the one in your picture =P.

Anyways, if you do try a 3rd time, I hope all goes well. Then you might be able to get some closure on the recipe and determine whether it is out of balance or not.

Happy Baking!


Conor @ Hold the Beef July 31, 2010 at 12:03 am

There is something quite endearingly cute about this funny little cake. It is trying so hard to puff out its belly but just can't quite get there 🙂


Clare @ Mrs Multitasker July 31, 2010 at 7:41 pm

April! =) At least the colour is pretty. I love how candid your posts are =) A good friend of mine just did a gorgeous pandan chiffon, maybe you wanna try her recipe next time? I'm going to try it soon…


April @ My Food Trail August 2, 2010 at 10:02 am

Hi Maria: Thanks for the info! I hardly go to Footscray but will have to keep it in mind!

Hi Jackie: Hehe, I didn't think of that! Pandan cake is normally served on its own!

Hi Penny: Make sure you choose a recipe that has been tried and tested before!

Hi My Restaurants Melbourne: Ha, I don't think I'll waste my ingredients & try for a 3rd time! Will have to use another recipe!

Hi Sarah: Thanks for the recipe link. I've heard that you have had success from Thanh's recipe, will have to try it!

Hi megaman: Oh wow! Thanks so much for the detailed comment!! I will keep it in mind for next time.

Hi Conor: Hehe, I love your creative descriptions! 🙂

Hi Clare: Aw thanks! And thanks for the recipe link. I've got so many recipes to try now, I'm sure to have pandan cake success from one of them!


grub August 2, 2010 at 4:22 pm

my mum used to always buy the pandan sponge cake from the asian grocery too. i don't know what happened to them as well; can't seem to find them at all!! >=[


Helen (Grab Your Fork) August 3, 2010 at 5:21 pm

I'm quite a fan of sugary crust so I wouldn't have called this a failure. re: the collapsing, presumably this is why chiffon cakes are always made in ring pans so there's a better support structure?


Libby August 3, 2010 at 11:13 pm

My mum makes beautiful pandan cakes so I decided to give it a go on my own and bring the cake to my work's morning tea. I had a similar experience to yours, started off well before ending up with a cake that was flat rather than fluffy and airy. Not good. The funny thing, though, was that my workmates had no idea what a pandan cake was supposed to look like and thought it was delicious :p


April @ My Food Trail August 12, 2010 at 10:21 am

Hi grub: Someone should bring them back since there is clearly a market for people wanting pandan cakes! 🙂

Hi Helen: Yeah, someone told me I should have used a ring tin, but the recipe called for a round tin. Next time I'll know!

Hi Libby: Hehe, glad to know you shared a similar experience. I guess just because it failed as a fluffy pandan cake, doesn't mean it doesn't taste good!


regina August 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm

hi, i just came by your blog about the pandan cake. if you want to try making it again, you can try the recipe that my friends and i have tried. you can refer the recipe to this blog post:


April @ My Food Trail August 25, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Hi Regina: Thanks so much for the link! The cake looks beautiful!


Twohearts February 3, 2011 at 11:31 am

Hi guys,

I know this is a little late but I was looking up Pandan Cake posts and came across this! I have a little home-based bakery, so if anyone is in the city, you can order a Pandan Cake from me!

Check out

email @

If you would like the recipe I use feel free to email me and I would be more than glad to share the Pandan Chiffon one!



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