This is a childhood and now, a family favorite. For the longest time, I couldn’t find an acceptable substitute for fresh pandan leaves and I lived without this dessert for almost a decade. Finally, through another blogger, I discovered pandan paste but then for a while, I couldn’t find pandan paste where I live. It was only within the past couple of years that the paste became available in my local Asian store. Now, I can make this delicious dessert anytime I want. Yay!
When I first attempted making chiffon cake, the result was not pretty (it still tasted good, don’t get me wrong). After a few trials, I discovered that the secret to a beautiful, stately but yet, still moist cake is in the whipped egg whites. To get that gorgeous rise in a chiffon cake, you would have to whip the egg whites until stiff which means that when you turn your beater upside down, the whipped egg whites do not droop or curl over. Now, there is a fine line between getting a stiff peak and overdoing it which will then result in a dry and clumpy mixture. At this latter point, the whipped egg whites will still be usable, so don’t throw them away. It will be harder to fold them into the egg yolk mixture (which means you will have to work harder and consequently lose some of the volume) and the resulting cake will end up drier BUT the cake will still taste delicious, trust me. S0, how do you get the egg whites whipped just right? Practice, practice, practice. :D Once you get the hang of it, making chiffon cakes will be a walk in the park. Also, before I forget, it is OKAY to stop your mixer anytime to check on the progress of the whipped egg whites (I know because I did that plenty myself :D). Well, did I bore all of you to tears yet? I’d better stop yakking. Happy Baking!
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 extra-large eggs, separated
½ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup first pressing/unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon bottled pandan paste or 1½ teaspoons homemade pandan paste
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350ºF.
- Whisk flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, oil, coconut milk, and pandan paste together.
- With an electric mixer, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy. Then increase mixer speed to medium-high and whip the whites until soft mounds form. Gradually add the remaining ¾ cup sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
- Whisk egg yolk mixture into flour mixture until smooth. Fold ⅓ of the whipped egg whites into the batter with a large rubber spatula until combined. Then carefully fold in the remaining egg whites.
- Pour batter into an ungreased tube pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Invert cake pan and let cake cool completely. To remove the cake, run a small, thin-blade knife around the edge (including around the tube) and bottom of the cake and gently tap to loosen it. Serve.
For step-by-step pictures, you can refer to the Orange Chiffon Cake post. If you want to take a look at pictures of my (not very pretty) first pandan chiffon cake, click here. For more info on pandan, read about it in my Whole Grain Pandan Butter Cupcakes post.