This week was busy, hence the lack of updates. Good thing I’m not like Julie in Julie & Julia, who has an actual short-term goal and avid readers :). Just saw that movie and thought it was really cute, heart-warming and was a good-relax-and-yet-not-get-too-emotionally-involved-movie. Plus, who can hate anything with food involved?!
Anyways, I saved these photos from last weekend’s cake-tastrophe! My church was holding an Asian-themed international dinner, and I was supposed to bring in some sort of dessert. My mum has a recipe for this amazing, rich, comforting Pandan cake.
What is Pandan?: *Pandan paste is a green extract derived from the pandan leaf that tastes somewhat like coconut.
Fun Fact: The cakes are light green in tone due to the chlorophyll in the leaf juice
Countries of Origin: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines
This is what it’s supposed to look like:
Mum’s recipe is slightly different in that it’s less of a chiffon cake and more of a pound cake. As you can tell from this post’s subject, I was a little less than successful. In fact, I baked this cake three times in a period of less than 24 hours. Still unsatisfied with the results, even if they were edible.
Take 1: Lost in Translation
I procured the recipe over the phone- and having been baking for long enough to make the normal assumptions, didn’t bother to ask about pan size or how to split them. Recalling that it’s always been baked in two pans, I just split the batter between a square and a circle (9”) if I’m not mistaken, pan. The result? Two over-baked, dry, chewy, and flat cakes with no flavor. Ta da!
Take 2: She’s Melting!
So, I revised and was back in the kitchen, this time making sure to pour all the batter into one nine inch pan, and also adding a bit more paste, for flavor. It started to look a bit more like Mum’s, at least until I cut it. If I could’ve seen Elphaba from Wicked actually melting, I believe it’d look something like this:
Check out that ooze on the right half. ick!
Take 3: The Panic Room
Thinking that I just couldn’t possibly serve either Option 1 or 2 to anyone, I took a new approach: brand new recipe. Found online, I raced off to the store to get all these new ingredients that I previously didn’t use, including coconut milk and pandan juice (not extract). This one was more of the chiffon-cake: relying solely on egg whites to enable it to rise. The outcome:
Another disappointing, flat, super-green cake. I should’ve known better- the most difficult technique about these cakes is folding in the beaten egg whites evenly so that it will enable the cake to rise, while being careful to not over-mix into a goopy mess. Obviously I did one or the other because this was as flat as Kansas before the tornado.
26 eggs, 2 lbs of butter, and 24 hours after take 1, my kitchen had been defeated!
Looks ominous, doesn’t it? Pointy green hat and all!
And my apartment reeked of pound cake. I did what anyone else in a bind would do- make do with whatcha got. Cake 2 was the closest to the real deal, so I cut off the edible parts and plated it up.
It seemed to go over well at the event, but I think next time I’ll do something less ambitious…. Like buying a cake :-o!