KitchenTigress: Pandan Chiffon Cupcakes

Pandan Chiffon Cupcakes

cut pandan chiffon cupcakes showing beautiful crumb
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!
cut pandan chiffon cupcakes showing beautiful crumb
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.
pandan chiffon cupcakes, with cracked tops, baking in oven
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!"
squishing springy pandan chiffon cupcakes
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.
pandan chiffon cupcakes cooling down, tops no longer cracked
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 chiffon cakes hot. 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.

How to make pandan chiffon cupcakes

Step-by-step guide

Chiffon cakes are usually baked in large tube moulds but this recipe uses cupcake moulds. Small cakes, unlike big ones, may be unmoulded without cooling down. You can enjoy cupcakes hot from the oven, when they are the fluffiest possible.

pandan chiffon cupcakes
(For 8 big cupcakes)
  • 50 g young, light green pandan leaves – rinse thoroughly, drain, chop roughly
  • 75 g undiluted fresh coconut milk – blend with chopped pandan leaves, press to yield 65 g milk, discard pandan pulp

  • 60 g egg yolks
  • 25 g castor sugar
  • 50 g corn oil
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 80 g cake flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 150 g egg whites
  • 60 g castor sugar

  1. Rinse pandan leaves. Drain. Chop roughly.

  2. Blend coconut milk with chopped pandan leaves. Press to yield 65 g milk. Set aside. Discard pandan pulp.

  3. Line eight 180 ml moulds with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 200°C.

  4. Whisk egg yolks and 25 g castor sugar till thick and pale. Add corn oil. Whisk till well combined. Add 65 g pandan coconut milk and salt. Whisk till evenly mixed. Sift cake flour and baking powder into mixture. Whisk till just evenly mixed. Set aside. Wash whisk thoroughly.

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

  6. 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.
  7. pouring batter into cupcake moulds
  8. 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.

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