mini pandan chiffon cakes

pandan-chiffon-cakes-7pandan-chiffon-cakes-9OK. So, the sentence above may not have made any sense to you. That’s alright. Let’s clear some of that mess of words up.

Pandan = an Indonesian version of vanilla. BUT BETTER BECAUSE IT MAKES EVERYTHING BRIGHT GREEN. Ahem. Sorry.

Chiffon cake = the lightest cake you’ve ever picked up. It’s like eating a washing-up sponge, but obviously much tastier {although can’t say I’ve tried a washing-up sponge}. 

Mini = well, hopefully you’re alright on that one.pandan-chiffon-cakes-4Picture this: it’s 2009. I’m 15 and hellishly awkward, and staying at my Grandma’s in small-town Australia for the summer holidays. The first series of MasterChef Australia is on TV and has hooked the nation. It’s Poh vs. Julie for the title. Julie is the home cook, a mother of three boys, easily flustered but endlessly endearing. Poh on the other hand is the perfectionist, insanely creative but capable of getting a little bit lost under the pressure.pandan-chiffon-cakes-6I can’t remember if it happened in the final ep or not, but one of the awesome things Poh made was a bright green pandan chiffon cake – and the judges were fascinated {as was I}. It’s something I sort of forgot about until the last time was in Australia {aged 21, only slightly less awkward} when I insisted that we go on a cake crawl of Sydney. One of our stops was BlackStar Pastry in Books Kinokuniya, where we had the most amazing layered cakes and my brother had a very delicate slice of a black sesame chiffon cake.pandan-chiffon-cakes-5pandan-chiffon-cakes-1Ever since then a chiffon cake has been on my to bake list, and as I moseyed around the Asian supermarket to find some black sesame powder a few weeks ago I found a bottle of bright green pandan essence instead. We had a Thai food night on Sunday with my housemate cooking a massaman curry, and so, little pandan cakes were the perfect match.

Chiffon cake tins look a bit like bundt tins in that they have a hole in the middle, and also traditionally have little ‘feet’ because the cake has to be cooled upside down – it’s so light that otherwise it collapses in on itself. This is also why the tin is never greased, because the mixture needs something to cling onto as it rises. I tried this recipe with both paper cupcake cases and without, and didn’t notice too much difference – probably because these guys are so small anyway.

Mini Pandan Chiffon Cakes

  • Servings: makes approx. 9
  • Print

You can use paper cases or spoon the batter directly into the holes – up to you. Paper cases are much easier to remove from the tin, but I don’t think the rise was quite the same!

This recipe has been modified ever so slightly from this one by Foodie Baker.


  • 3 eggs {separated into yolks and whites: 40g yolks and 100g whites}
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 35g sunflower/vegetable oil
  • 35g water
  • 40g plain flour
  • 1 tsp pandan essence
  • pinch salt
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10g icing sugar


Preheat your oven to 170*C and find a cupcake tin.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 25g of the caster sugar, the oil, water, plain flour and pandan essence until smooth.

In a separate bowl {grease-free and preferably metal}, whisk the egg whites and salt. As they’re whipping up, add the remaining 15g caster sugar in a steady stream. Whisk until you have stiff peaks.

Spoon about a third of the egg whites into the green mixture and fold in until completely incorporated – you don’t need to be too careful at this stage.

Spoon the next third of egg whites into the mixture and fold in gently; repeat with the last third.

Fill each hole of the cupcake tin with batter and bake for 18-20 minutes. Expect them to rise impressively and then shrink back.

When they’ve baked, cool them upside down {otherwise they will collapse in on themselves}. Run a palette knife around the edges to help get the cakes out.

Whip the double cream with the vanilla and icing sugar and spoon a small amount on top of the cooled chiffon cakes.

2 thoughts on “mini pandan chiffon cakes

  1. Well I’ve definitely learnt something new there Hannah – I’d never heard of Pandan esseence before and I certainly wouldn’t have thought it would have been green! I’m amazed that just 1tsp of it brings such a wonderful colour and that it stays true once baked. Definitely something I’ll be looking out for! great bake too 🙂
    Angela x


    • Thanks Angela! 😀 It’s a nice alternative to something that I use all the time (i.e. normal vanilla extract) and definitely gives you that pop of colour!
      Hannah 🙂


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