Pandan cake or pandan chiffon cake also called sponge cake or chiffon cake, is a very light and fluffy soft textured cake made from vegetable oil, sugar, flour, baking powder and eggs plus flavourings. It is originated from Malaysia and Indonesia. Most well-liked Asian flavour is pandan and coconut and other popular flavours include lemon, orange, vanilla, chocolate and even durian. Pandan chiffon cake is no doubt my childhood favourite dessert and still is up until today. It is very popular in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. For my gluten free version of pandan chiffon cake, I am using gluten free self-raising flour (Orgran), eggs, extra virgin olive oil, baking powder, xanthan gum, cream of tartar and concentrated pandan juice from fresh or frozen pandan leaves. The gluten free version works really well because chiffon cake does not rely on gluten to help it rise, similar to angel cakes, it attains its soft and fluffy texture by beating egg whites until stiff and firm peak and folding egg whites into the batter before baking. But unlike angel cake, chiffon cake uses the whole eggs not just egg whites. This gluten free recipe is also dairy free, nut free and soy free.
Chiffon cake was originally invented in 1927 by an American named Harry Baker, a Californian based insurance salesman turned baker. He maintained the recipe as top secret for 20 years until he sold the recipe to General Mills Company in 1948. Chiffon cake has gained a cult following since then. Pandan chiffon cake is a Southeast Asian cake that has adopted the home-grown and very much adored pandan flavour into an American chiffon cake, a fusion of Asian and American cake, at the sane time also making the cake lighter and more fluffy. The green colour is due to high amount of chlorophyll found in the leaves juices. Many commercially available pandan chiffon cakes use pandan extract which has colouring, pandan extract and emulsifier, to give it the bright neon green colour. Pandan extract is often referred to as vanilla of the east or simply as Asian vanilla.
Pandan plant, scientific name Pandanus amaryllifolius is a tropical plant native to Southeast Asia. They are extensively farmed in Asia and tropical parts of Australia and have long, narrow and blade like fan-shaped leaves. Also called screwpine leaves, it is widely used as flavouring in Southeast Asian cooking. Pandan leaves are used to add flavour to rice, soups, curries, bread, cakes, puddings, desserts, and drinks. Their intense flavour and natural green colour provide foods with natural colouring, giving a green tint to the dishes prepared.
In addition to using pandan leaves in cooking, they also have many health and medicinal benefits. Pandan leaves are rich in essential oils like tannin, glycosides and alkaloids. They are alleged to be an excellent pain reliever for headache, arthritis, ear pain and chest pain. They also ease stomach cramps and spasms. The leaves may reduce effects of toxins and prevent cancer. Eating pandan leaves may also help diminish fever, improve skin, treats leprosy, wounds and smallpox. In addition, pandan leaves may help accelerate convalescence of women during their post-natal period.
Pandan Chiffon Cake Gluten Free
- 1½ cups gluten free self-raising flour Orgran
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon xantham gum
- 20 g 0.8oz sugar
- 7 large egg yolks
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 250 ml pandan juice from 20 fresh or frozen pandan leaves wash thoroughly and cut into 1cm to 2cm lengthwise
- 350 ml water
- 7 large egg whites
- 100 g 3.5oz caster sugar
- 50 g 1.8oz gluten free corn (maize) flour
- 1 teapoon cream of tartar
Dusting the cake:
- Gluten free icing mixture
- Non-stick Angel Cake Tube Pan 24cm do not grease the pan preferably with legs
- Icing spreader or spatula
- Fine sieve
For separating the eggs:
- It is easier to separate the eggs when cold and set aside on bench top for the eggs to warm up to room temperature. Use an egg separator for easier separation as the egg whites must not have any egg yolks in them.
For the pandan juice:
- Add the cut pandan leaves and water to a NutriBullet or food processor, pulverise until you get a thick puree paste. Strain through a fine sieve, using a tablespoon to press on the pandan paste to release more juice. You need 250ml of pandan juice.
For the cake mixture:
- Sift and combine all the dry ingredients and mix well in a large bowl.
- In another large bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and pandan juice, whisk and mix well. Then add in the mixed dry ingredients in step 3 gradually and whisk until you get a thick and smooth paste.
For the meringue:
- Mix together the sugar and the gluten free corn (maize) flour in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl of stand mixer, add in all the egg whites, cream of tartar and add half the sugar and gluten free corn (maize) flour and whisk for 5 minutes.
- Then add in the remaining sugar and gluten free corn (maize) flour, whisk and combine until you get a stiff and firm peak form. You can also use a hand mixer preferably with a powerful motor on high speed.
For combining the cake mixture and the meringue:
- Gently fold 1/3 of the meringue into the cake mixture, then add the remaining meringue 1/4 at a time, fold lightly until all the egg whites are combined completely, with no dark green or white stripes remaining. Taking care not to deflate the batter. If not, the cake will not rise properly.
For baking the chiffon cake:
- Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the fan-forced oven to 160C or 325F.
- Pour the batter into a dry and ungreased angel cake pan, rotating the cake pan as you pour and use a spatula to lightly even out the batter. Then tap the cake pan on the benchtop counter a few times to even the batter. It is important that you do not grease the angel cake pan, otherwise the cake will not rise well.
- Bake in the preheated oven for around 55 minutes to 1 hour. Do not open the oven door to check until the cake has been cooking for 55 minutes time, otherwise the cake will sink.
- Remove from oven and immediately invert the cake pan either onto legs or an unopened wine bottle. Allow cake to cool completely in the cake pan upside down. Otherwise the cake will sink.
To remove and serve the cake:
- Once the cake has cooled down completely, gently run an icing spatula or spreader or a sharp knife around the sides of the cake and around the tube. Using the center tube, pull the cake out of the pan. Then using the icing spatula or spreader or a sharp knife cut around the bottom of the cake to remove it out of the tube pan. Turn cake upside down onto a serving plate, dust with some gluten free icing mixture, cut and serve.
Disclosure Statement: I am NOT paid by Orgran for this post!
8 thoughts on “Pandan Chiffon Cake”
The best chiffon I’ve ever made
Thanks Gracijela for leaving such an fantastic feedback. 🙂
I am new to gf baking and am a lazy baker. I try to bake the way I cook which often doesn’t end well for my bakes! It’s all my fault, I read recipes too quickly, miss steps or get the order wrong. So I was delighted that following a father’s day request for a pandan cake, this cake turned out amazingly and has already been requested again! The recipe is easy to follow and really doesn’t take long.
My family are pandan cake fanatics so I can say with great confidence that this cake is just as good if not better than it’s gluten cousin.
Thank you Daphne for sharing your work!
Thank you so much for your excellent feedback for my pandan chiffon cake recipe!
I am so glad that your baking result was better than expected and that you and your family really enjoyed the cake.
I have perfected this recipe after many attempts. 🙂
Hi how do we tweak this to suit someone on a ketogenic diet as they can only do nut and coconut flour.
Hi Nevi, I have not tried coconut flour or nut meal for this recipe. Suggest to try finding similar ketogenic recipes for chiffon cakes online.
Thank you for this recipe. My nieces have fond memories of their grandmother buying Pandan Cake for them . I will definitely be baking it for them now. I just have to hunt up those leaves. Now I can finally taste it too with your gf version.
Thanks Contessa. Hope you and your nieces enjoy this gf recipe. 🙂