Happy Hump Day everyone! I am so over the hump since starting from tomorrow, I am on two-week leaves. My dearest mom and sister are coming to Sydney. We three mother and daughters have not spent time together for a long while, so this is a good time to enjoy our company – ladies only! I expect mom to bring me a lot of goodies from Hanoi, especially the really nice coffee from a very famous coffee shop near the Old Quarter. Perhaps I will feature it here and talk about how to make the perfect Vietnamese coffee at home?
Speaking of family heritage, I am still learning about my husband side of the family. With the Singaporean heritage, chicken rice, har mee, curries and laksa seem to be the favourites. Oh, did I mention that loving durian is a requirement to be part of the family, too?
My MIL (mother in law) tends to cook simple (and very spicy) dishes, but occasionally she does spend time in the kitchen and make dishes from scratch. Her popiah is the best since not a lot of restaurants here do this dish well. She does not bake but loves sweet stuff. Her sweet palate is typical Asian. That is the dislike of anything too sweet or buttery and the love for cottony soft, simple cake and bread. She still loves the durian pound cake that I baked in our first “official” meeting together (I did know how to please my future MIL for sure ;))
And of course, the family loves chiffon cake, especially pandan chiffon cake. Pandan leaves are much loved in Asia. They lend beautiful green color and especially vanilla-like fragrance to food. I grew up drinking pandan-scented water after a meal, and it was refreshing.
There are a lot of recipes out there for pandan chiffon cake, but I was fortunate enough to get a hand-written one from a Singaporean aunty… One of the “secret” ingredients is the use of coconut milk in the cake batter. This makes the cake a lot lighter and a touch richer, just the way I like it. Coconut milk and pandan flavours are match made in heaven and this cake confirms just that.
In the old days (or if you are fortunate enough to get fresh pandan leaves at cheap price), the leaves were pounded to get the paste (or juice). In Australia, I got lazy and used the ready-made pandan paste instead. The cake was still lovely and beautiful, but it was a bit too… green. I was fine with it, but Mr. B. was like “honey, is it safe to eat?”
So well, the cake was stunningly green. But it was beautiful, and the flavours were just right. I guess we should not complain right? Because I love bold colors, I do not mind a green cake at all. I made the cake ages ago, and these photos have been on my Flickr stream for a while. I took a look the other day and discovered it was on explore before. So see, I am not the only one who is impressed with a green cake.
Happy Hump Day! Perhaps I should start thinking of a rainbow cake.
The greenest pandan chiffon cake
Adapted from Aunty K.´s recipe
Ingredients (for 20cm chiffon cake pan. I used slightly larger pan for the cake in the photo)
A: 100g flour (see baker´s note)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
0.75 to 1tbp pandan paste (to taste. I used 1 tbp and my cake was green)
125ml coconut milk
5 egg yolks
B: 5 egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
110g castor sugar
Preset your oven to 170C.
Mix all the ingredients in A together, except for the flour and baking powder. Sift flour and baking powder to the mixture, mix well to combine.
In a clean bowl, whisk the eggwhite, gradually add the sugar and whisk until soft peak forms.
Take 1/3 amount of the eggwhite, mix well with A to lighten the mixture. Carefully fold the rest of the egg white into A.
Pour the batter into an un-greased chiffon cake mould. Put in the oven and bake for around 50´-60´.
Take the cake mould out of the oven and invert it over a cooling rack onto its feet or over a thin-necked bottle. Let the cake hang to cool completely.
Once the cake is cool, use a thin-bladed knife to run around the edge and the inside to help release the cake from the pan. Push the bottom of the pan up, away from the side. Gently run the knife around the tube to release the cake.
* You can use normal cake tin to bake the cake. My friends have tried and it works. Lightly grease the tin in this case.
* Pandan paste can be purchased from most Asian groceries. It´s an Indonesian product. There are other flavours (durian, strawberry etc.), too, but I advise you against those.
* Try to get cake flour to get softer texture. However, I have used plain flour and it works fine.
*If you want to use fresh pandan leaves to make the juice, feel free to ask. I´ll update the recipe.