Pandan cake is a popular cake originating in Malaysia. The key ingredient is the juice from the leaves of the pandan plant, otherwise known as screw pine. Most people in Australia know it as “that green cake that you get in Asian supermarkets sometimes”.

The pandan juice makes the cake a light green colour, but green food colouring is added to the pandan paste, which gives the cake that “radioactive” look. I guess some people like that hue because some of the recipes involving the juice also call for green food colouring to be added, just in case you weren’t sure it was really a pandan cake. I reckon this would make a really great halloween cupcake. In fact, I have some black cobweb-shaped laser cut cupcake wrappers and October is coming up so….


I’ve found it really hard to get an authentic-tasting pandan cake here in Australia, and I suspect many of the cakes here are just regular chiffon cakes with green food colouring. Also all the ones I’ve bought here have been pretty dry and spongy, like it would bounce if you threw it. So I decided to make my own.

The hardest part about making this cake was finding the damn pandan. It’s really difficult to get the pandan juice, let alone the actual leaf, and even the paste and the essence is pretty hard to find. Your best bet is to hunt down an Indonesian supermarket. I found some pandan paste in Randwick Oriental Supermarket (Randwick, Sydney).

Okay so the next hardest part was finding a chiffon pan. I ended up getting one of those silicon pans shaped in a “cathedral” shape (think “pointy doughnut”) and it wasn’t a great idea. The cake ended up sticking to the bottom of the pan and nothing I could do would unstick it. I just had to rip the pieces off and try and reassemble the cake without anyone noticing. It probably worked, too bad I didn’t have any pandan icing.

Making the cake itself was not hard. I looked up heaps of recipes on the internet and it seems that chiffon cakes have a reputation for being really difficult to make. Well my theory about this is that the people finding it difficult don’t know how to deal with egg whites. Here’s the thing about egg whites – they’re stubborn bastards. Get any little bit of moisture in their way and they will refuse to beat into stiff peaks. The important thing is to keep the bowl and beaters *clean* and *dry* and make sure that no egg yolk ends up in the whites.

Here is the recipe I followed. It had a few errors, so I’m going to remedy those and add my own notes here, but I give all credit for the original recipe to the author of that site. My cake turned out deliciously moist on the inside, with that real pandan flavour throughout, while still being light and fluffy like a chiffon. Because I guess it is a chiffon.

pandan cake whole

Here’s how my cake turned out. Not the most beautiful cake you’ve ever seen, right? But it tasted great.

150g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
150 ml coconut cream
8 egg yolks
10 egg white
200g caster sugar, separated
3 Tbsp corn oil (or vegetable oil)
1 tsp vanilla essence
a pinch of salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp pandan paste

1. Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F).
2. Sift the flour and baking powder three times. This aerates the flour and helps to make a fluffy cake.
3. UsingĀ  a separate mixer to the one you’ll be using later, cream egg yolks and 140g sugar until it is creamy and thick. If you do not have two electric mixers, use a whisk instead. It is important to keep the other mixer clean and dry.
4. Add in sifted flour and baking powder, vanilla essence, coconut cream, corn oil, and pandan paste into the egg yolk mixture. Mix well.
5. In another clean dry bowl, use your electric mixer to beat egg whites on high speed. When egg whites are whisked to soft peaks, add the remaining 60g sugar, cream of tartar and a pinch of salt. Continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. The mixture should be stiff, thick and glossy.
6. Fold the egg whites into the flour mixture. Start by adding 1/3 egg whites into flour mixture and using a balloon whisk, fold until just combined. Mix the remaining 2/3 egg whites in until the mixture is just combined, taking care to fold gently to keep volume.
7. Once incorporated, (don’t worry if there are a few streaks of white left) pour into the chiffon cake pan. If you have used a whisk to fold the mixture, you may find a pool of thick green sludgy looking cake mix at the bottom of your bowl. I do not recommend you add this to the cake, just throw it away. Bake 45 mins, or until the cake is brown on top and springs back when prodded.
8. When cake is baked, invert it immediately and cool down for 2-3 hours. Once cooled, use a knife to cut around the sides and bottom before removing.

This is what it looks like when you have eaten half of it:

pandan cake half

11 Responses to “Bake at home: Pandan Chiffon Cake”

  • Maya Brooks says:

    i really love Cakes and i am always looking for some new cake recipes on the internet.`..

  • mala says:

    Hi i tried ur recipe today and it was super after three attempts of failure..
    it was soft and moisture and my hubby loves it. thanks a lot…

  • Jill says:

    I wonder is it alright to use pandan essence only instead of pandan paste? i only have pandan essence..

  • Trisherino says:

    You can use essence if you can’t get paste. It won’t taste the same but it will do the job. You might want to add some green food colouring too if you want it to be really green when using essence.

  • becky says:

    i wondering if i and able to use a rectangle cake tin instead of the chiffon cake tin??

  • Trisherino says:

    I haven’t tried using a non-chiffon cake tin myself, but the thing about chiffon cake tins is that they have a hole in the middle, so it increases the surface area. So if you use a rectangle one there’s a chance you may find the cake is a bit undercooked in the middle. I did try making it as cupcakes though, and they turned out fine.

  • rebecca says:

    if i made cupcakes how many does it make? and what changes are there?

  • Trisherino says:

    Hi Rebecca,
    I made these into cupcakes for halloween once (see this post). The recipe is the same but you only need to bake for about 30 minutes. If I remember correctly it makes about a dozen cupcakes.

  • NHUNG says:


  • Trisherino says:

    Hi there, I didn’t make a frosting for these, but I imagine a coconut frosting would work well. You can probably find a good recipe if you do a google search for “coconut frosting recipe”.

  • Erica says:

    just tried out your recipe and popped the tin in the oven. Fingers crossed it will turn out ok!!!!

Leave a Reply

An endless stream of cakes
The French House, Waterloo

The French House, Waterloo

More cakes here!

Cake stream RSS feed