Pandanus Chiffon Cake
By Terry Tan and Christopher Tan, Singapore Cooking
Asian pandanus leaves and coconut milk infuse the American chiffon cake with a happy marriage of flavours. A time-honoured Singaporean party staple, this is often purchased nowadays but is vastly better homemade.
Cooking time: 1 hour
Preparation time: 20 mins
20–25 pandanus leaves
1/3 cup (80 ml) thick coconut milk
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup (125 ml) oil
250 g (11/3 cups) cake flour
300 g (11/2 cups) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
8 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F). Have ready a dry, ungreased 23-cm (9-in) deep round cake pan.
2 Snip the pandanus leaves into short lengths with scissors, then blend in a food processor for a few minutes until reduced to a grassy pulp. Transfer the pulp to a muslin bag or fine sieve and squeeze to obtain juice. Measure out ½ cup (125 ml) of juice (if not enough, make up difference with water) into a bowl, add the coconut milk, egg yolks and oil and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
3 Sift the cake flour into a large bowl. Add all but 3 tablespoons of the sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk well to blend, then add the egg yolk mixture and whisk until smooth.
4 In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, beating just until stiff peaks start to form. Fold the egg whites into the batter in three additions, folding just until incorporated (a few thin white streaks are okay). Pour the batter into the prepared pan, level the surface with a spatula and bake for 55–60 minutes. Cake is done when an inserted thin skewer comes out clean.
5 Invert the cake onto a rack and leave to cool upside down in the pan. Cut around the edge and base with a thin-bladed knife to release the cake from pan. Slice to serve.