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Pandan chiffon cake with coconut glaze

Pandan chiffon cake with coconut glaze
Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Heralded as "the first new cake in 100 years" when it was introduced, the chiffon cake -- one of the darlings of midcentury cuisine -- became famous for its wonderfully light and airy texture, seemingly weightless as angel food but ... Read more

Total time: 1 1/2 hours plus cooling time for the cake | Serves 12 to 16
  • 8 pandan leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 eggs separated, plus 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon pandan essence, more to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes, for garnish

Step 1Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Step 2Make the pandan juice: Combine the chopped leaves with the water in a blender and puree. Strain the juice into a bowl. You should have almost one-half cup. Measure one-fourth cup to use in the cake; the rest of the juice can be stored, covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week (use the remaining juice to flavor rice or coconut dishes).

Step 3In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk the dry ingredients well to make sure they are thoroughly combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

Step 4In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks. Pour the egg yolks into the well, along with the vegetable oil, one-half cup coconut milk, one-fourth cup pandan juice and pandan essence. Beat the wet ingredients into the dry until completely smooth.

Step 5In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. With the mixer running, slowly rain in the remaining one-fourth cup sugar. Continue to beat the whites until stiff peaks form when the beater is lifted.

Step 6Fold the beaten whites into the rest of the batter: Gently spoon one-third of the beaten egg whites into the large bowl with the batter. Slowly and carefully fold the whites into the batter using a spatula or whisk until mixed. Add another third of the beaten whites to the bowl and gently fold into the batter. Be very gentle as you fold in the whites as you do not want to deflate them; the whites lighten the batter and are largely responsible for the cake's ability to rise as it bakes. Gently fold in the remaining third of the whites.

Step 7Spoon or gently pour the batter into a 10-inch ungreased angel food cake pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the cake is puffed (it should rise over the top of the pan by 2 to 3 inches, but will deflate a little as it cools), lightly browned on top, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Step 8While the cake is baking, make the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining one-fourth cup coconut milk with the sifted powdered sugar until thoroughly combined. Cover and set aside until the cake is cooled before glazing.

Step 9Remove from heat and invert the pan over a wine or soda bottle. Set the pan aside until it has cooled completely, 1 to 2 hours.

Step 10Loosen the sides with a thin knife or metal spatula and tap it gently to remove the cake (if using a two-piece pan, loosen the outside of the pan to remove, then gently work the knife or spatula along the top of the insert and inside to remove the cake).

Step 11Drizzle the coconut glaze over the top of the cake, then sprinkle over the toasted coconut before serving.

Note: Pandan leaves and essence can generally be found at Thai and select Southeast Asian markets. This recipe calls for a 10-inch angel food cake pan (preferably a pan with a removable insert).


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