Pandan Kaya Chiffon Cake

A cake to celebrate Mother’s Day..母亲节快乐!

I’ve been real busy recently and hence was MIA (missing in action) from my blog for quite a while…despite so, I’ve continued to cook and bake as and when just that I was too busy to upload into my blog.  Here’s one “big project” that I’ve tried in May 2012: Pandan Kaya CakeJ.

It was Mother’s Day and I’ve decided to make a cake for my mother-in-law and myself (mother of three) to reward ourselves for the hard work we’ve put in. I’ve been holding back the making of this cake for the longest time. When I saw this Pandan Kaya Chiffon Cake recipe from Blessed Homemaker’s blog, I very much wanted to try it. The cake looks nice and elegant.  This cake comprise of layers of chiffon cake and kaya layers.  I ever tried this type of cake from Bengawan Solo and it was awfully yummy!  However, the steps were tedious, besides making the cake and slicing it into layers; you have to prepare kaya agar agar layers that “sits” between the cake layers.  I guess the most challenging part is to assemble the cake, meaning to put layers of cake, kaya, cake then kaya. In addition, the making of this cake is extremely time consuming since there is a waiting time for the kaya agar agar to set and chilling of the cake before serving.

Pandan Kaya Cake recipe (adopted from Blessed Homemaker)



4 Large Egg Yolks

40g Castor Sugar

1/4 tsp Salt


60ml Corn/Sunflower Oil

130 ml Pandan Juice ** blend 8 pandan leaves with 140ml water


150g Cake Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

*sifted together


4 Large Egg Whites

40g Castor Sugar

1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar


  1. In a bowl, using hand whisk, whisk yolks and sugar till sugar dissolves.
  2. Add oil and salt, whisk and add pandan juice. Stir well.
  3. Fold in sifted flour and mix well.
  4. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat till the whites are frothy. Add in Cream of Tartar and beat till soft peaks.
  5. Add in sugar gradually and beat till stiff peaks.
  6. Fold in 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture using a rubber spatula till incorporated.
  7. Pour the mixture to the remaining egg whites and fold in gently till incorporated.
  8. Pour the batter into a 8″ round pan. Bang the pan on the table to get rid of bubbles.
  9. Bake at pre-heated oven of 170 deg.C for 15mins.

10. Turn down the temperature to 160 deg.C and bake for another 30 mins.

11. Reduce the temperature to 150 deg.C and bake for a further 5 to 10mins to brown the surface.

12. Remove from the oven and invert the pan. Remove the cake from pan when it’s completely cooled.

13. Layer into 4 layers and set aside for further use.

Kaya Layer
1000g water
80g butter

400g pandan juice
400g coconut milk
corn flour
1 packet/13g agar agar powder (plain)


  1. Stir (A) together in a pot and boil over low flame.
  2. Mix (B) together and add into (1). Keep stirring until the mixture thickens and boils.
  3. Let the kaya cool slightly before icing the cake.

To assemble the cake upside down

  1. Pour 1/2 portion of kaya in first, then layer with cake.
  2. Pour in balance kaya and layer with cake.
  3. Using a small plastic bag, pipe in the kaya at the edge.
  4. Chill cake in fridge before serving.

To assemble the cake upright

  1. Place a layer of cake at base of cake pan (I use one with removable base).
  2. Pour in 1/2 portion of kaya and layer with 2nd layer of cake.
  3. Pour in balance kaya and leave to set.
  4. Chill cake in fridge before serving.

My Experience / Outcome:

True enough, it was a big mess when I did the cake hands-on! Here’s all the challenges, I’ve encountered during “production”.

Making of chiffon cake: This was relatively easy, I’ve got the cake done up nicely. BUT slicing the entire cake into equal layers was a challenge! As my cake was relatively “short”, I decided to slice it into two (instead of three) layers. To do so, I’ve adopted Blessedhomaker’s “toothpick” method .  It was really time consuming to put the tooth picks all around the cake. With the toothpicks as guide, I still find it difficult to bring the knife evenly across the cake at the middle!

Of course, if you have another baking tin of the same size (which unfortunately I don’t have), you can just pour the cake batter into two separate tins for baking and save the hassle of slicing the cake into layers after that.  Later on, I discovered that there is a clever invention and aid to poor “slicer” like me!  Cake Leveler (wow! new vocab) to the rescue!

Making of kaya layer: I’ve blended the pandan leaves with water as instructed in the recipe. The pandan juice turned out bitter and the colour was distastefully ugly, very dirty green. As this was the first time I’m extracting juice from pandan leave, I just followed the instruction on the recipe, without even the slightest idea how concentrated should the pandan juice be. Now that I think back, I think my pandan juice was a bit too concentrated as the kaya agar agar layer tasted bitter.  To prevent this from happening, I’ve done some research about extraction of pandan juice and found quite a lot of information on how to extract pandan juice from Wendy’s blog. With this information on hand, I hope I’ll get a better tasting kaya agar agar layer next round.

Assembling the cake (upright method):  You may think that this is a relatively easy step.  How not true! In fact, this step was the most demoralizing and messy step of the entire process!

Being a novice in making agar agar, I was not sure how should the consistency of the kaya agar agar mixture be before pouring it on top of the cake layer.  When I’ve completed the steps to make kaya agar agar layer, the mixture was very watery (not sure is it too much water or too little agar agar powder).

The minute I poured the kaya agar agar mixture onto the cake base layer, I was going like “Oh my gosh!!”  The mixture just dripped down the cake without the “hardening-of-agar-agar” effect (kaya layer should be like agar agar on top of the cake)! What the hell?!! The more I poured the more it flowed down, and I was really worried that the cake would become soggy after soaking with so much mixture that I’ve poured onto it!! Trust me, at this stage, I was totally frustrated and about to give up already!  It was in a freaking mess, coz the mixture was really sticky and it kept on dripping and flowing downwards (I’ve to place a cookie sheet below to collect the “leakage”).

In the end, I managed to find a round shape spring form pan that could fit exactly the circumference of my cake. I quickly transferred the cake layer over and continue pouring the mixture. With little gaps at the sides, the kaya agar agar mixture sort of being “contained” and can see a thin layer formed (finally!). Now that I think back, I realised my mistake. I should have waited for the kaya mixture to cool down a bit, let it “solidify” slightly before pouring onto the cake layer. At least, it is less “watery” and would yield better control.

After so many hiccups and the big mess, I sent the assembled cake into the fridge and let it chill until the next day without harbouring high hope on it. But to my greatest surprise, I was greeted by a not too bad looking cake!! Taste wise, cake was okay but the kaya agar agar layer was bitter and the grated coconut was not well-received by the kids.  After so much hassle and not-so-pleasant review by my tasters, I’m not sure when I will pluck out the courage to try it again.


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