Food and cooking, Lifestyle

Pandan Chiffon Cake

Oh the scourge!!

I have  been home sick today (Thursday)… I took some meds and soldiered on early in the week, but by last night my body completely packed it in and refused to play-ball.  Sore throat, blocked head, headache and the chest pain that had come and gone for the 3 days prior decided that my torso was a brilliant place to stay and holiday a while.

I hate being sick.  I can’t think clearly and it makes me feel like I am being so inefficient with my time because I seem to not be able to achieve anything.  I suppose that’s because my body is trying to tell me to “slooooooooow down!!”  Ahh… I’m a doctor, so do as I say, not as I do 😉  Ha ha.  In all seriousness though, one of my absolutely delightful 7 year old patients said to me very recently, “Dr Megs… you haven’t been sleeping very well have you?  You have very dark circles under your eyes.” His mother was mortified (it was hilarious) – but he was completely right.  I was exhausted, getting sick and needing a chance to recover. The lovely thing was that his comments came from a place of genuine concern, as evidenced when he sagely advised me, “You really need to get more sleep.” What a (wise) little champion he was/is.  Kids like this young chap is what makes my job so incredibly worthwhile.   So anyway, I wrote this recipe up last week (so I can finish this sentence and go back to lying on the couch watching Food Network), I hope you enjoy it!


So this is not an original recipe.  It apparently originated from my cooking idol – Poh Ling Yeow (think early Masterchef, now Poh&Co), but I got it from here:

I just LOVE Poh.  I find her so funny, so charismatic and I think that because it seems we share a lot of common interests with her (Asian cooking, art, gardening, eating etc) she really inspires me.  Anyhoo, enough fan-girling.

I have said it once, and I will say it again – “I am not a baker.” I had a good crack at this recipe and it was really nice… but not as good as I reckon it could have been if I:

  • Had the right bundt/baba tin (mine was non-stick and too small)
  • Turned the oven down a bit
  • Hadn’t taken the first cake out of the tin so early to get the second cake in (the recipe make 2 cakes and 6 cupcakes!)
  • The mixture for the 2nd cake hadn’t sat out on the bench for an hour before I put it in the oven

The taste still took me back to when I was a kid, and my kids really loved it… so it was totally worth it and I will give it another go.  Next time however, I will

  1. Make only HALF the quantity specified by this recipe and/OR
  2. Get a deeper baba tin
  3. Turn the oven down to 150 degrees (be wary of this – it might just be something unique to my oven)

The aim of this cake is to get it really light and fluffy, so beat your egg whites and yolks really well.  Also, I didn’t have pandan paste, so I just used pandan essence (which I bought at an Asian grocery store).  This is thick and syrupy, kind of like the texture of kecap manis.  I am not sure how much ended up using… maybe 2 tsp?  I just added until I thought the batter looked the right colour!  In the end, it tasted about right!

I have since Googled a few other recipes and I might even try a variation on this recipe – but I will keep you posted!



Poh Ling Yeow

10 egg whites (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar, sifted
2/3 cup (145g) caster sugar
10 egg yolks
210ml coconut milk
90ml (4.5 tablespoons) vegetable oil
145g caster sugar
1 teaspoon pandan paste
300g plain flour, sifted
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
pinch of salt

  1. Preheat oven at 160°C fan forced/180°C regular.
  2. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer till soft peaks. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time a beat thoroughly after each addition till you achieve stiff peaks. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks with caster sugar till fluffy. Add coconut milk, vegetable oil, pandan paste and flour and whisk until combined. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture 3 batches.
  4. Pour into a 22cm baba cake tin (do not use non-stick and do not grease). Bake 25 mins at 160°C fan forced or 30 mins at 180°C, or till skewer comes out clean.
  5. When cake is out of the oven, immediately invert the cake still in the tin, and place on a cooling rack and leave to cool completely (about 1 1/2 hours).

Serves 8-10.


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