Pandan chiffon cake is like a dream cake due to its fluffiness, softness and moistness. The fragrance of the cake comes from the extract of pandan leaves which is also known as screw pine leaves. It is known as the Asian's vanilla because of its fragrance.
This recipe offers a step by step guide with all the tips needed to come up with the perfect pandan chiffon cake.
How does pandan leaves taste like?
Although pandan leaves is known to be the vanilla of Asia, it does not actually taste or smell like vanilla. It is quite neutral in taste and has a grassy note because it is after all, a type of perennial grass. It is mainly used for its colour and aroma.
Can pandan leaves be substituted?
Unfortunately, pandan leaves cannot be replaced as it provides a very special aroma.
Where to buy pandan leaves or pandan extract?
Frozen or fresh pandan leaves are sold at Asian grocers. Otherwise, bottled pandan extract can also be found in Asian grocers. They are normally displayed along with the colouring and other extracts for baking/cooking.
Alternately, of course, you may replace it with orange juice, lemon juice, vanilla, coffee or any flavour of your preference.
Is baking powder needed?
No. If you do not want to use baking powder when making chiffon cake, you may omit it. Baking powder is recommended to ensure that the cake rises in case the other steps were not done properly.
A dense chiffon cake
Chiffon cakes are loved for its airiness. Besides using the help of baking powder, you need to ensure each step is done very carefully. However, making a perfect chiffon cake is very tricky because it depends on the eggs and how you mix the ingredients together.
- Egg whites must be fully beaten until stiff. However, they shouldn't be over worked, the cake might not rise. Egg whites which are over worked will not have a stiff peak. This will result in a flat and dense cake.
- Sugar helps to stiffen the egg whites. It's recommended to use fine sugar which is recommended for baking in this recipe as it is important for the sugar to dissolve, helping to create the shine and stiffness you'll need for a perfect chiffon cake.
- Egg yolks on the other hand must be beaten to incorporate air. You'll notice when the colour of the yolk turns pale.
- When combining the mixture as shown in step 6, carefully fold the batter and not lose the air in the egg whites.
Each step needs to be adhered to closely. Take time to watch the video above to understand the steps.
What is the difference between a sponge cake and a chiffon cake?
Chiffon cake is generally more airy compared to sponge cake. It is also more moist because of the oil used in the recipe.
Does the pan require greasing?
No, the cake pan does not need to be greased because the batter needs to cling onto the pan to rise.
How to store chiffon cake?
Once the cake has cooled, store it in an air-tight container. It should keep well for three days. However, I bet that it would be finished within a day or at the very most, two!