The filming was a lot easier than I'd expected, and the "post production" a lot more fun. Playing the film editor, I watched myself crack eggs in slow motion, made the upside down cake look like a (clumsy) flying saucer; zoomed in on my . . . . OMG, my hands look so dry!
My favourite part of the video is 1:54-2.03 where the image goes from blur to clear in "slowmo", and then it freezes. I think that's quite cool. The close-up on my hands survived the cut . . . sort of, as you can see from 1:50 - 1:51. Maybe next time I should get a double for hands? Meanwhile, I'm piling on the moisturizer!
Besides the video and the recipe, here are a few tips to help you make the perfect pandan chiffon cake:
Select pandan leaves like a painter mixing colours to get the right shade. If the mix of leaves is too dark, the colour of the cake will be dull, and the taste bitter and grassy. If it's too light, the cake will look pale.
A young bunch of pandan may be 80% usable; an old one, maybe only half. Use all of the innermost leaves, which have the best flavour but not much colour. The leaves in the middle have both. Those on the outside may be used if they're bright lime green and soft. Stiff, dark leaves are dry and bitter. These are good for scaring away cockroaches, not baking.
In his post on PCC, ieat says you should use the freshest eggs possible. Actually, fresh egg whites turn grainy easily when whisked to stiff peak stage. The water in grainy egg whites is no longer 'locked' with the proteins. It therefore evaporates easily in the oven, resulting in a cake that browns too quickly and is dry. Pierre Hermé, btw, makes his macarons with stale, totally watery egg whites.
If you have no idea what a stiff, firm or soft peak is, click here for photos. Stiff egg whites should be stiff yet creamy and fluid, i.e. not grainy. Without the fluidity, egg whites can't stretch upward, which is why overbeaten egg whites don't rise much in the oven.
The faster the whisk is, the higher the risk of overbeating, especially for small quantities of less than 200 ml. Electric hand whisks are generally ok but stand mixers may be a bit tricky if you're a novice baker whisking a small amount of fresh egg whites.
The mixing bowl makes a difference. Egg whites whisked in a deep bowl with straight sides, compared to a curved, shallow bowl, tend to be more moist and creamy, and have better volume.
PCC isn't done yet when an inserted skewer comes out clean. It needs to hit that stage, then bake an additional 5-10 minutes (7.5 minutes with my oven) for the crust to brown properly.
Here's how you can tell if the cake is done just right: Immediately after the chiffon pan is removed from the oven and inverted, lift it up slightly. The cake is underdone if it falls out of the pan, overdone if it doesn't budge at all. If the cake drops a bit but manages to stay in the pan, give yourself a pat on the back. The crust would be brown but not dry and leathery, and the inside soft, moist and springy.
Make sure the knife scrapes the chiffon pan. Otherwise, the lovely brown crust would be on the pan instead of the cake.
If you use preserved coconut milk with vegetable gum, like Ayam or Kara brand, the texture of the cake may be compromised. I've never tried it, but I suspect the gum has some negative effect on how the princessy chiffon cake rises. And the taste is nothing remotely like fresh coconut milk, but you knew that.
Mother's Day is just round the corner. Why not bake your mother a pandan chiffon cake? The recipe is right here waiting for you. Is it a lot of work? Of course not, it's a lot of fun! Happy Mother's Day to all mothers.
Here's my video: