Pandan Chiffon Cupcakes (班兰戚风杯子蛋糕)

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Pandan chiffon cake hot from the oven is way better than cold pandan chiffon cake.

That's a bit like saying Bill Gates is rich, or Angelina Jolie has thick lips. We all know that.

So when was the last time you had pandan chiffon cake that was still hot?

WHAT? You've always had PCC stone-cold?

Oh . . . my . . . God . . . . Oh dear, POOR YOU!

Why don't you eat the cake hot, or least warm?

Because you bake chiffon cakes in a chiffon pan, and those have to be cool before you can unmould them?

Hey, ditch the chiffon pan! Let's bake cupcakes!

Small chiffon cupcakes can be much fluffier than big chiffon cakes baked in a tube pan. The taller and wider the cake is, the less fluffy it has to be or it'll collapse.

A pan with a tube in the middle makes the cake narrow. But the "tube cake" is very tall compared to a cupcake. It must have a denser structure than its small brother or it caves in after it's removed from the oven. Hence, it can't be as fluffy as a cupcake.

All cakes lose some of their fluffiness as they cool down. Those that have butter or coconut oil lose more because saturated fat is liquid when hot but hardens as it cools down. Pandan chiffon cakes made with coconut milk are at their fluffiest when they're still hot.

Not only is pandan chiffon cake fluffier when it's hot, it's also  more fragrant. And there's something about hot PCC, psychologically,  that makes everyone go "Wow!" and "Oooh!"

My recipe comes with a warning: the pandan chiffon cupcakes crack. If there aren't any cracks, then the cakes aren't as fluffy as they should be.

The cracks close up once the cakes are removed from the oven but you'd still see the "scars". If you like your cakes scarless, then this recipe isn't for you. Or maybe you could use icing sugar as a concealer. A bit of makeup always helps.

Do the cakes have a sunken top like Hokkaido cupcakes? No. The top should be flat or very slightly rounded, not caved in, after the dome subsides.

Once you get used to chiffon cake hot from the oven, you may never go back to eating it cold. Unfortunately, no one sells cakes hot (save for chocolate lava cake?). That means every time you want to eat chiffon cake, you have to bake it yourself. Of course, if you're smart, you get someone to bake it for you. I guess I'm not so smart since I'm the one who bakes.

(Recipe for 8 big cupcakes)

60 g egg yolks
25 g castor sugar
50 g corn oil
50 g young, light green pandan leaves
rinse thoroughly and drain; chop roughly 
75 g undiluted fresh coconut milk
blend with chopped pandan leaves; press with potato ricer to yield 65 g green milk; discard pandan pulp
1/8 tsp salt
80 g cake flour
¼ tsp baking powder
sift with cake flour

150 g egg whites
60 g castor sugar

Measure and prep ingredients as detailed above. Line eight 180 ml moulds with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 200°C.

Whisk egg yolks and 25 g castor sugar till thick and pale. Add corn oil. Whisk till well combined. Add 65 g green milk and salt. Whisk till evenly mixed. Re-sift sifted cake flour and baking powder into mixture. Whisk till just evenly mixed. Set aside. Wash whisk thoroughly.

Whisk egg whites till thick. Gradually add 60 g castor sugar whilst continuing to whisk. Keep whisking till egg whites just reach firm peak stage.

Add egg whites to yolk mixture in 3 batches, mixing till almost even after each batch. Scrape down thoroughly. Fold till just evenly mixed. Bang mixing bowl against worktop 3-4 times to get rid of big air bubbles.

Fill moulds with batter, about 60 g each. Tap moulds gently against worktop to level batter. Bake till cakes are golden brown and slightly springy, about 20 minutes. Cakes should crack after first 10 minutes.

Transfer cakes to wire rack. Wait till cracks close up, about 5 minutes. Unmould and serve.


MJ said...

Hiya..Can i use cupcake or muffin cases instead of the tin cases? Are they any differences ? Thks

Veronica said...

Wow your chiffon cupcakes look awesome. What a wonderful idea to bake chiffon in little cups. Thanks for the brilliant idea.

MrsO said...

I also like your bunga raya bowl (that used for green santan). It reminds of my childhood dinner plate.... KT, you are sweet!

Joanne Chua said...

Hi KT, will attempt this tomorrow. Wish me luck.

silkasd said...

Hi Kitchen Tigress

I thought chiffon cakes are best eaten after they have 'rested' overnight? Hence, eating chiffon cakes after they have just been baked may not taste good as they are still very 'unseasoned', eg. similar theory as moon cakes and breads. Unless, you are talking about re-heating or re-toasting the cakes warm before consuming, otherwise, from my personal experience, my chiffon cakes always taste better the next days, even refrigerated.

Priscilla Poh

kt said...

1. Freestanding paper cases (like the ones I use for Hokkaido cupcakes) – yes.

2. Freestanding cardboard cases - no. These don't conduct heat well.

3. Muffin liners + muffin pan – no. There are waves in the liners, so the paper doesn't rest tightly against the pan. The air pockets created don't conduct heat well.

4. Non-stick muffin pan greased – yes. The cakes stick to the pan a bit. You need to use a wooden skewer when unmoulding. Watch the cakes closely because the pan's dark colour make the cakes brown faster.

5. Tin/aluminium pan greased, or greased and floured – never tried. I suspect the cakes may stick too much.

kt said...

Good luck!

kt said...

Wow, you need to go tell the French they've been eating their bread all wrong.

juan said...

Hello Kitchen Tigress, I have question about pandan leaf plant yes I know the species, but are fresh pandan leaves fragrant? I was gonna buy plant and the plant was not fragrant? why is this? does it have to be cooked or extracted for it to smell?

Julie said...

Hello, thanks for sharing your recipe. I have a question to ask. My oven's heat is a little uneven, so if I bake cupcakes (butter cake) or cookie I usually rotate the pan.
Can I do that with chiffon cupcake? I never dare try baking a chiffon because of
this. Will opening the oven to rotate the pan make the chiffon fail? Thanks in advance!

kt said...

Yes. No.
No problem at all if you do it quickly, Julie.

Julie said...

Thanks! :)

MrsO said...

I think Priscilla got a point here. My late mom always said those deep fried and baked stuff can cause "热气“,our chinese way of expressing heaty inside the body. Thus, if it is freshly out of the hot oven, I believe it is no good for our throat, maybe, it is an old wives tale, no scientific proven theory.

indiaandworldcuisine.blogspot. said...

oh making these pandan chiffons into cupcakes is a wonderful idea....finally we can grab some warm....lovely colored cakes :-)

MJ said...

Thank you...

Jaclyn said...

Thanks for sharing. Looks tempting adn gonna try tis out :)

Jessica@Amirah said...

i am baking this pandan chiffon cupcakes, cross my fingers, they look so good, light and fluffy!! :) can't wait to dig in! thanks for the recipe. next will try the kueh lapis!! my fav.

jelliojan said...

I do not like to blend the coconut with pandan leave. I find that it emit the coconut oil smell.

Joanne Chua said...

Hi KT, I did this some time back anf forgot to tell you that your well wishes work. Thank you for that first.
My heart sank when I saw the texture. It was not as holey compared to the usual chiffon cake. However, the minute I had my first bite, I was like..."never judge its appearance". The cake was so soft and fluffy. My only wish then was for the sides to be as brown as the top.

CCL said...

If I have a "hole-in-the-centre" pandon chiffon cake recipe, will it work as well in the cupcake?

wen said...

Hi KT...
why isit the chiffon cake will crake at the very beginning of the baking process? i tried it thrice already and the outcome was the same. The cake just crake at the upper part in a circular pattern. it is not cracked to the inner part but just the upper part of it..
it would be very appreciated if this problem can be solved!!
Thank you so much.

kt said...

There are far too many chiffon recipes to generalize. It also depends how you like your cupcakes.

kt said...

You did not measure the ingredients correctly, and/or your egg whites were underbeaten.

Jessica Tan said...

Hi KT,
I leave in oz,is hard for me to get pandan leave,what can I replace with?Thanks

kt said...

Sorry to hear you can't get pandan leave. Try sick leave or maternity leave instead?

Jessica Tan said...

You are so hilarious .....Unfortunately I'm too healthy to take sick leave n too old to take maternity leave! So what can I replace instead of pandan leaves?

kt said...

So now you want to replace something that's not pandan leaves. How very odd. I've had lots of readers ask what to replace with, never what to replace.

Shan said...

I live in Australia and there are pandan leaves in the asian shops (it is quite easy to find actually...). It's normally around the frozen area but you can definitely find it :)

Bubbles said...

Hello!!! I love your website!! I tried your Pandan Cupcakes but they sank when I took them out. I followed everything that is stated!! Help me please!! Thank You!!!!,

pat said...

Hi KT,
Sorry to post my qn here coz I can't access your pandan chicken recipe :( The other recipes I have no problem accessing except that one..maybe you can check if there some prob with that particular post? I remembered I was able to access last time...
Thank you v much!

kt said...

Hi pat, I have no problem accessing the the page. Try clicking this link:

Sezza said...

Hello KT - i am about to attempt these cupcakes.....i am using frozen pandan leaves, canola oil instead of corn, normal canned coconut milk (where can i get fresh stuff in Perth??), and self raising flour instead of cake flour (also not available in Perth i dont think)........what do you think my chances of success are? Is this a very sensitive recipe that wont handle so many changes? LOVE your website!!! :-)

kt said...

Hi Sezza, makes no difference whether you use canola or corn oil. Canned coconut milk's quality varies widely. Try to use one that's not artificially thickened. Before you grind the pandan leaves, wring/squeeze/blot to get rid of excess water. If you use SRF, leave out the baking powder in the recipe.

I think the recipe is OK with the changes if you're not too fussy.

kt said...

There is no one here called "it".

nicolevian said...

Hi kt, can I know what size is your big cupcake mould? Can I use the smaller version of the hokkaido sponge pandan cupcake case?

kt said...

Around 6 x 9 x 4 cm (bottom D x top D x height). I haven't tried other types of moulds for this recipe, so I can't say for sure what other types of mould work. I think the pink square ones I use for pandan sponge cupcakes might be OK.

MichelleTan said...

Hi kt! You're awesome to share your amazing recipe! But can I ask if I'm able to replace the corn oil to olive oil instead? Hope you could get back to me!!! Thanks!!^^

kt said...

I'm sure it's not a question of your ability.

Cherry said...

Can the corn oil be replaced with other vegetable oil, like sunflower?
Btw, I love your blog, very clear video's and can't wait to try them.
Love from Holland x

fara said...

I've tested your recipe with hokkaidocake cup.Some I grease some don't.It turn out the one that not grease was crack like yours.Do you made it crack on purpose?

Cindy said...

How do you line the pan with parchment??

Lynn said...

50grams egg yolk is equivalent to how many eggs?

Amy said...

Hi KT, Thank you for this recipe. Just wondering if it's possible to use a ramekin to bake these cupcakes in?

Jit said...

Hi KT,

Thanks for your recipe. if I want to try out the above recipe using pandan paste to try out my newbie skills before the complicated pandan leaves mixture, what would be a good mix ? Thanks for the advice :)

Davinah said...

Hi kitchentigress,

You have followers in
every corner of the globe ;)
But not all have the same
measurement like you have.

I hope you will not "roar" with these questions:
how many eggs are in 150 g egg whites?
How many eggs are in 60 egg yolks?
how many cups or
how many millilitre is 75 g of coconut milk

Perhaps you can put a conversion table
- on grams to cups/millilitre
- on grams to how many eggs
that is a perma-link on the top of your site?

You are lucky to have all natural ingredients
like pandan and coconut milk.
But in this part of the world where I live,
we do not have those.
Nothing beats the taste and aroma of
real pandan leaves and coconut milk.
So I better make the best out of it
by substituting pandan essence and coconut milk in can.

Thank you for sharing your articles
and video recipes.

I never baked before and your recipes are a blessing.
It heals homesickness :)
It is like home away from home.

Ming said...

Hello KT!!!

I fell in love with these after eating it in Prima Deli!

It's my first attempt trying your recipe and I'm soooo glad that they came out wonderful!!! ^.^ Not too sweet, subtle and fragnant panda scent, super soft and moist!

I'm not sure why my cakes didn't crack on top and neither did they deflate. But I copied Prima Deli's style of having Kaya in the centre! Hehe!

Here's a video of the end product!

Thank you once again for the awesome recipe!!! ^_^ Definitely gonna try other recipes of your's!

Ming said...

Oops, I meant pandan* scent! :-P

Ming said...

Sorry KT for the spam. Didn't realize I couldn't embed the video here. And I couldn't edit/delete my previous comments too.

Anyway, I uploaded the video onto YT:

kt said...

Hi Ming, the video automatically appears if you put its URL in the comments box. However, comments with URLs are usually moderated and have to be approved before they're published.

Your cupcakes are very soft. Congratulations! The tops aren't cracked probably because of the extra weight from the filling, or some other thing you changed in the recipe.

Kam said...

Hi KT, can you kindly share with us where you got your useful handheld mixer? I'm sure many of your followers would be interested to know too. Thanks

kt said...

Hi Kam, could you please tell me why you, and many of my followers, want to know where I got my mixer?

Mandy said...

Hi KT, how long does the cake last?

Denise said...

Hey. I tried this out and it turned out amazing. Thank you!

Cheryl #singapore said...

This came out so good, but I did some changes . I use coconut cream instead of coconut milk, only reason because too much coconut milk over powers the pandan flavour. And it came out perfectly , and if you feel like coconut cream is abit too thick just thin it out with a tablespoon of milk :)

Jenny said...

Can i replace pandan paste instead of the pandan leaves and coconut milk? If i can plz give me the amount asap

Jenny said...

About 2 egg yolks good luck

Erna said...

Just finished baking this and OMG this is the best pandan chiffon cake I have ever eaten in my whole life! Way better than Bengawan Solo. It came out so soft and the texture is so smooth. I ate one right out of the oven (after I cool it for 5 mins as KT suggested of course) and KT is sooo right about hot pandan chiffon cake is way better than cold one. Thank you so much, KT!

Shina said...

Where do you buy your molds from? Thanks

linda said...

150 g egg white is 5 large egg white
60 g yolk is 4 large egg yolk.
The liquid measurement is equal to ml so if it say 60 g is equal 60 ml.

Linda said...

My mom said the same thing but trust me there is nothing better than eating fresh hot from the oven pandan chiffon cupcake n freshly bake bread or anything. I bake a lot and eating hot from the oven a lot and I never had any problems with my throat whatsoever. I guess it's just an old tally tale :)

Davinah said...

Hi Linda :D

Thank you!!! this helps a lot!

I have noted your advice

I have been waiting for a response


Patience indeed is a virtue.

Thanks again <333

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