CAKES - Other Cakes

Pandan Butter Cake with Gula Melaka Swiss Meringue Buttercream

March 11, 2018 | Recipe by Bake with Paws

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Pandan Cake with Gula Melaka Swiss Meringue Buttercream is one of my signature cakes that everyone likes.  I used to make Pandan Chiffon/Cotton Cake to go with this buttercream.  This time round, I wanted to try it with a Pandan Butter Cake instead and the result is excellent.  

I have been experimenting with Pandan Butter Cake by using a homemade Pandan Juice concentrate and this is the best recipe I have.  Someone may think why not just use the store bought pandan paste or essence.  You can use the store bought essence but the result is not quite the same. My motto is healthy baking.  So, I avoid artificial ingredients and try to keep everything natural. 

The method I am sharing below is using the Mr Ng SK's Butter Cake method which egg yolks and egg whites are separated.  I tried the original butter cake method whereby the whole eggs added to the beaten butter and sugar and it worked perfectly fine.  My conclusion is egg separation method yield softer and fluffy cake.

If you prefer the Pandan Chiffon Cake, please click Pandan Cake with Gula Melaka Buttercream recipe.

It is advisable to read the following notes before baking.  


Using room temperature butter will prevent the cake from being dense.  When the recipe requires room temperature butter it refers to a soft and pliable butter. The butter should not look shinny or greasy. It should still be cool to touch and not warm.  During the creaming stage of butter and sugar, the mixing will create air pockets in the butter and this will result in a soft and fluffy cake.

If the butter is too warm it will not create the desired air pockets and this will result in a dense cake.  Conversely if the butter is too cold, the butter won't expand easily and is also unable to create the desired air pocket s for a fluffy texture. Ideally, the butter needs to be soft and pliable but still cool to the touch.

Creaming Butter and Sugar
The beating process (butter, sugar and egg) has to be done slowly at a low medium speed and never more than a medium speed to prevent a dense cake.  The slow speed needs to be maintained when the flour is added. The flour needs to be mixed at a low speed as a high speed would develop additional gluten that will cause the cake to rise in the oven, but sink as soon as you remove it from oven. The sinking causes the cake to be dense. In short, over creaming will make your cake dense too.  Sources from here.

Oven temperature and Baking Time
Do note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven. 

It would be good to use an oven thermometer when baking. This will help you understand and know the actual temperature you are baking at. The actual temperature in the oven may not be the same as the oven’s setting.  Leave the thermometer on the same rack where you place your baking.

I usually bake cakes with top and bottom heats setting.  I don’t encourage baking cakes with fan-forced mode as this setting uses a fan to circulate the hot air for quick baking or cooking at high temperature and may result in cracks on the cake.  However, if fan mode is used, it is recommended to reduce the temperature setting by about 20C if using a fan-forced mode.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.

How To Make Soft Pandan Butter Cake 

Yields: 1 cake


250g butter (room temperature)
75g brown sugar or caster sugar (I used brown sugar)
5 egg yolks (large size-60g, room temperature)
30g full cream milk
30g pandan paste (concentrated pandan juice), please refer here

230g plain flour/cake flour
1 tsp baking powder or double action baking powder
¼  tsp salt

5 egg white (large size, room temperature)
65g caster sugar
½ tsp lemon juice or white vinegar or ¼ tsp cream of tartar

7" X 7" Baking Pan

  1. Allow butter to come to room temperature before use.  Approximately 30 - 45 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 170C.  Grease and line the base of baking pan with non-stick baking paper.
  3. Sift flour and baking powder in a bowl.  Add in salt and keep aside.
  4. Mix full cream milk and pandan juice together in a jar.  Set aside.
  5. Separate egg whites from the yolks.
  6. Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer till light and fluffy at low medium speed for 10 - 15 minutes.  Scrap down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  7. Add in egg yolk one at a time and beat until well combined.  Add in half of the flour mixture, beat to combine.  Then add in 60g pandan and milk mixture and mix till incorporated.  Add in balance of the flour mixture and mix well.  Lastly, mix with spatula until well combined.
  8. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg white until frothy before adding cream of tartar and continue to beat until foamy. Gradually add in sugar and whisk until it just reached stiff peaks. The meringue is almost ready when it turns glossy and you see lines.
  9. Fold in the meringue into butter batter with spatula in 3 batches.  Fold gently until well incorporated.  
  10. Knock the mixing bowl on the counter few times to release any air bubbles.
  11. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.  Skim the top gently with spatula while pouring to break the air bubbles.  Knock the cake pan on the counter to release any air bubbles.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven at 170C for 50 - 55 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  13. Remove cake from oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before removing cake from the pan.  

  1. If you don't have ready pandan paste (concentrated pandan juice) and wish to bake last minute. You may blend 10 pandan leaves together with 100g milk till fine in a food processor.  Squeeze out the juice through a sieve.  You need only 60ml of mixture for the cake.
  2. Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

How To Make Gula Melaka Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Adapted from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Dreamer Loft with some modifications.


Gula Melaka Syrup:
50g gula melaka, crushed or chopped
2 pandan leaves, tied a knot
1/8 cup (25g or ml) of water

Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
3 large egg whites
80g caster sugar
150g butter, room temperature
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt


To prepare Gula Melaka Syrup:
  1. Combine gula melaka, pandan leave and water in a saucepan.
  2. Boil over low medium heat until all the sugar has melted and reduce slightly. 
  3. Remove from heat, discard the pandan leaves and strain. Keep aside to cool completely before using. The syrup will thicken as it cools.
To prepare Gula Melaka Swiss Meringue Buttercream (GMSMB)
  1. Cut the butter into cubes. Set aside to come to room temperature. 
  2. Combine egg white and sugar in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Make sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water. Whisk with hand whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Rub between your fingers to check if there is any unmelted sugar.
  3. Transfer the egg white mixture to into the bowl of a stand mixer. With whisk attachment, beat over high speed until stiff peaks.  Let it cool to room temperature before adding butter, this will prevent the butter from melting. To speed up the process, you may leave the meringue in refrigerator for 5 – 10 minutes.
  4. Add in half of the butter.  Turn on to low speed and add in the balance of butter cube gradually then turn to high speed. Beat until the mixture comes together. Change to paddle attachment. At one stage, it will look curdled, but keep on beating until it combines into a smooth buttercream. Scrap the bowl if necessary. 
  5. Add in salt and vanilla extract and beat until well incorporated.
  6. Add in Gula Melaka Syrup a little at a time. You do not have to use all the Gula Melaka Syrup.  I only used 3 tablespoons in total.  Scrap the bowl with spatula and beat until all well combined.
  7. The buttercream is ready.  If the buttercream is too soft, put it in the fridge for few minutes to firm up before piping.

To Assemble Cake

Dried coconut flakes (I used Hawaii Dried Coconut Flakes)

Cake board, icing spatulas, cake icing smoother,  dough scraper, piping bags, round tip nozzle and 6B nozzle.

  1. Fit the a piping bag with a plain round tip and fill up with buttercream.
  2. Spread some buttercream on the cake board. Place the buter pandan cake on top. 
  3. Pipe a layer of cake on top. Use an off-set spatula to smooth it. 
  4. Place the cake in the fridge for about 10 minutes to set the buttercream. 
  5. Use a knife to trim and straighten the edges.
  6. Fit another piping bag with 6B nozzle and fill with the balance of buttercream.  Pipe swirls on top and sprinkle with coconut flakes.


  1. In the recipe stated 60ml fresh milk and pandan mixture, is it 60ml milk alone plus the bottom part only (60ml)pandan mixture or 60ml milk with pandan mixture together?

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks for dropping by. It is 60 ml of pandan and milk (together) mixture. I used milk to extract the pandan juice instead of water. Try to get the botton part as it is more concentrate.
      I hope it answers your question.

      Thanks & happy baking.

    2. Hi,

      I've purchased your cook book. In the cook book, under "Pandan Butter Cake" recipe, it calls for 60ml fresh milk, 120ml coconut milk, 10 pandan leaves. And the "Pandan Mixture" is made with the 120ml coconut milk and 10 pandan leaves (use only 60ml of the bottom mixture). After which the recipes states to "add fresh milk and Pandan Mixture to mix".

      From the way it's written, I assumed it called for the 60ml fresh milk plus 60ml Pandan mixture (from 120ml coconut milk + 10 pandan leaves). Which is a total of 120ml liquid. Is this correct? Also, why isn't the coconut milk used in this online recipe? Everything else being the same. Is this a newer recipe than that in your cook book?

      Am sorry to ask so many questions as I'm looking for a healthy pandan butter cake recipe. And your recipe seems to come very close! :) Plus the cake looks very good as well. Looking forward to your reply as I can't wait to try out the recipe! Thank you!

    3. Hi there,

      First of all, sorry for the confusion. There is suppose an open and close bracket (120ml coconut milk + 10 pandan leaves) in the book. But, I do not know why the publisher accidentally deleted them.

      Total liquid used is 60ml fresh milk and pandan mixture. You can either use fresh milk or coconut milk to extract the pandan juice. I refer Fresh milk & pandan mixture to one item which in Method 1.

      The online recipe is the same and not new recipe.

      Thousand apologies for the confusion.

      I hope it is clear to you now. Please let me know if you are still unclear. I am happy to explain.

      Cheers & happy baking.

      Thanks :)

  2. Hi Yeanley, very nice cake! Can I use this recipe to bake in a 6inch round pan? Thanks!

    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for dropping by. I afraid the batter will over flow. It is better to use 7 inches of round cake tin if you have. However, you may try to use the 6 inches round cake tin first. If can't fit then change the tin.

      Cheers & happy baking.

  3. Hi, may I know is the cake a dense cake? I am keen to try your recipe! Thanks!

    1. Hi, thank you for dropping by. The cake is like butter cake texture and not chiffon cake type.
      Cheers and happy baking :)

  4. Hi Yeanley,

    what piping tip do you use for piping the decorations? :)

  5. Hi.. Thanks for th recipe. If i choose to use butter cake style, shud i add up th amt of sugar for meringue into th main batter? Thanks!

    1. You are most welcome, Armi. Yes, please use total sugar of 100g.
      Thank you and happy baking :)

    2. Hi Yeanley. Thanks for th reply. I forgot to ask 1 more thing.If i wnt to substitute th milk with coconut cream extract (concentrated), shud i dilute it a bit n blend together with pandan leaves? Will it gives th same (or almost) texture/moistness like using fresh milk? Thanks!

    3. Hi Armi, I never tried baking butter cake using coconut cream. Sorry, I can't answer you this question. But, you may try if you don't want to use fresh milk. I am not sure if you should dilute a bit as we try not to add water in the cake batter.
      Cheers :)

  6. Hi Yeanley,

    Can I bake this as cupcakes instead and what temperature and time should I use.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Elle,

      Thank you for asking. I never tried this recipe on cupcakes. It should work too. I would suggest you to keep the temperature at 170C and reduce the duration to 20 - 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

      Cheers :)

  7. Hi Yeanley,

    If i want to make it half, is it ok just to divide the ingredients into 2? and for the egg shoul i use 2 or 1 egg? Thank you.

    1. Hi Fatin,

      Thanks for asking. Yes, you can divide into half. I think you can use 2 eggs (medium size). However, this is not a big cake. I never tried half of the recipe and I do not know how it will turn out.

      Cheers and happy baking :)

    2. Hello bakewithpaws
      60g milk only without pandan juice? Thank you

    3. Hi Teresa,

      Thank you for your question. Total liquid is 60ml (milk and pandan mixture). I just milk to extract pandan juice. Please refer to Method 1.

      Cheers and happy baking :)

  8. Replies
    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for comment and compliment.

      Cheers :)

  9. Hi Yeanly, I saw u’ve 2 different ingr for cupcakes n cakes for pandan gula Melaka recipe. May I know wats is the different?

  10. Hi Yeanly, I saw u have 2 different recipe for cupcakes n cake for the pandan gula Melaka dessert. May I know wats the different in them?

    1. Hi there, thank you for asking. The differences are: egg separation or whole egg method and extraction of pandan juice. This Pandan Butter cake is using pandan extraction with milk. The cupcake is using pandan juice extracted with water. Both yield quite similar result.

      Cheers :)

  11. Hi there! I only have an 8 inch baking pan. How much would i need to increase for the batter so that it would yield a similar effect as if it were baked in a 7 inch pan?

    1. Hi there,

      Please use this recipe.

      Cheers :)

    2. Hi there. The recipe you linked for 8 inch pan is exactly the same as this one. Could you please let us know how we can modify this to fit in an 8 inch pan? Thanks

    3. Hi, thank you for asking. May I know which recipe that I linked? 8 inch pan???

      However, if you can also bake this in 8 inch square pan.

      This recipe is the same as my Pandan Butter Cake recipe.

      Cheers :)

  12. Hi! Can I substitute milk with buttermilk 😀

    1. Hi, thank you for your interest in this recipe. I never used buttermilk in this recipe and not sure how it will turn out. However, you can try.

      Cheers :)


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