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Originating in Malay, pandan cake is a chiffon-style cake flavored with pandan leaves. Fluffy and often made in a tube pan, pandan cake is usually a minty green color due to the presence of pandan. This cake is popular in many regions of Asia and Indonesia.
Like chiffon cakes, pandan cakes generally use egg whites and egg yolks. Although the whole egg is used, each egg must still be separated. In addition to eggs, sugar and cream of tartar or baking powder are normally used. Cake flour is also a necessary ingredient.
The key ingredient in this cake, however, is pandan. The flavoring may either be obtained by the leaves themselves or by pandan extract, which is often more readily available in some areas of the world. Both extract and leaves are frequently combined with coconut milk when cooking, and some versions of pandan cake may add shredded coconut to the cake's topping to accent the coconut flavor as well.
To make a pandan cake, a meringue is first created. The egg whites and cream of tarter are beaten until the mixture begins to stiffen. Then sugar is gradually added, and the mixture is beaten to blend each portion. Once stiff peaks form, the meringue can be set aside.
The other ingredients are combined in a separate bowl. If pandan leaves are used, they are tied in a knot and simmered in coconut milk. Then, the leaves are removed and the pandan flavored milk is put quickly into an ice bath. Once cool, the milk-pandan mixture can be combined with the flour, baking soda, and egg yolks. Pandan extract is simply poured into the mixture without any additional preparation, but even if the extract is used, coconut milk is still often added to this cake.
After both mixtures are complete, the flour mixture is folded into the meringue in small portions. It is important to fold to combine, rather than simply stir, in order to retain the air content of the batter created by the meringue. This excess air is necessary to ensure the finished cake is light and fluffy.
The finished batter is then pushed into a tube pan or into circular cake pans. Pans should be buttered and floured before the batter is included. If a tube pan is used, the cake should be cooled by suspending the pan upside down from its center hole once the cake is cooked. Although a pandan cake is not usually iced, a meringue topping may occasionally be used.