CAKES - Cupcakes/Muffins

Pandan Butter Cupcakes with Gula Melaka and Pandan Buttercream

October 17, 2018 | Recipe by Bake with Paws

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I have been baking a lot of pandan chiffon and pandan butter cakes but I have not tried Pandan Butter cupcakes.  I came across a Vanilla Prune Cupcakes recipe from Nasi Lemak Lover and it looked very good.  I used her recipe and modified it into Pandan Butter Cupcakes.  The texture is soft and the aroma of pandan is just so nice!  



When the recipe requires room temperature butter it refers to a soft and pliable butter that is melted. 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 (butter, sugar and egg) process has to be done slowly at a low medium speed and not more than a medium speed.  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 Pandan Butter Cupcakes 

Yields:  11 Cupcakes


Pandan Juice:
20 pandan leaves
200ml boiled water

Pandan Cake:
130g butter
70g caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsp (30ml) full cream milk (can be replaced with heavy cream/whipping cream)
2 tbsp (30ml) concentrated fresh pandan juice (please refer below)

150g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Cupcake/muffin pan
Cupcake liner (top diameter: 6 cm / base diameter: 4 cm / depth: 3.5 cm)


For Pandan Juice:
  1. Blend pandan leaves with boiled water in a food processor.  Squeeze out the juice.
  2. Leave in fridge for 3 - 5 nights. Pour away the top clear part and use only the bottom concentrated part.  The longer it stays in the fridge, the more concentrated the extract will be. 
For Pandan Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.  Line muffin pan with 11 cupcake liners Set them aside.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda together.  Add in salt and keep aside.
  3. Combine milk and pandan juice together.  Keep aside.
  4. Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer till light and fluffy at medium speed.  Scrap down the sides of the bowl occasionally.  It takes around 10 – 15 minutes.
  5. Add egg one at a time and beat until well combined.  
  6. Fold in half of the flour mixture gradually, add in half of the milk and pandan mixture and mix till incorporated.  Then fold in the balance of the flour mixture gradually follow by the balance of milk and pandan mixture.  Mix until well combined.  However, don’t over mix.
  7. Spoon the batter into each cupcake liner until 3 quarter full. 
  8. Bake at preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Recipe - Gula Melaka Swiss Meringue Buttercream 

For Gula Melaka Syrup:
50g gula melaka, chopped
2 pandan leaves
25g water

For Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
3 eggs white
80g cater sugar
150g salted butter, room temperature
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt


For Gula Melaka Syrup:
  1. Combine gula melaka, pandan leave and water in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. 
  2. Keep on stirring until all the sugar has melted and reduce slightly. Remove from heat, strain & discard the pandan leaves. Keep aside to cool. The syrup will thicken as it cools.
For Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  1. Cut the butter into cubes. Set aside 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 a bowl of 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.
  4. At low speed, add in the butter cube gradually then turn to high speed. Beat until the mixture comes together. Scrap the bowl if necessary.  At one stage, it will look curdled, but keep on beating until it combines into a smooth buttercream. 
  5. Add in salt and vanilla extract until well incorporated.
  6. Scoop 1/3 of the buttercream to a separate bowl for pandan buttercream if you like bi-color.
  7. At low speed, add in gula melaka syrup one teaspoon at a time. Scrap the bowl with spatula and beat until all well combined. I used about 5 – 6 teaspoon of gula melaka syrup.  Set aside.
  8. Combine the 1/3 portion of the buttercream with 2-3 teaspoons of concentrated pandan juice.  Set aside.
To frost the cupcake:
  1. Prepare a piping bag with a large closed-star nozzle.  
  2. Scoop some pandan buttercream and put onto the centre of a piece of clingfilm.  Roll it up like a tube.  Twist both ends.  Do the same with gula melaka buttercream.  
  3. Cut off one end of each buttercream tube.  Put the buttercream tubes into the prepare piping bag.  Adjust both buttercream fit into the piping tip.  Squeeze to test the buttercream first before piping on the cupcakes.
  4. Pipe bi-color buttercream swirl on to each cupcake. Pipe circles onto the cupcakes from outside in.  Decorate the top with some fondant flowers if you like.
For Pandan Butter Cupcakes

For Gula Melaka and Pandan Swiss Meringue Buttercream

To Assemble


  1. Hai..can i substitute cake flour with all purpose flour and castorsugar with brown sugar since i dont have one?

    1. Hi, thank you for asking. Yes, sure. I usually use all purpose flour in my cake.
      Cheers :)

  2. Can I don't use baking powder and baking soda

    1. Yes, you can omit it. But, I am not sure the cake will rise nicely.
      Cheers :)

  3. Used your recipe and turned out beautifully! I reduced the caster sugar for the Swiss Meringue for personal preference a little which is probably why my meringue was not as well formed. I also lowered the baking temperatures to 170 degrees Celsius and added to the baking time to accommodate my oven.

    Will definitely make again! 😍

    1. Hi, thanks for trying this recipe and sharing with me the result. Play around with the recipe and amend according to your taste.

      Happy baking and hope to hear from you again.

      Cheers :)

  4. hi, can i substitute with oil instead of butter?

    1. Hi, thanks for reading. You can but your cake may not light or fluffy. Creaming of butter and sugar actually create air and make the cake light and fluffy.

      I have not tried cream oil with sugar. So I am not sure it will work.

      Cheers :)

  5. Hi most of your Pandan recipes are low in sugar which is great. But hw long can the cake stay fresh? Thank you. I'm just curious since most of recipes I see are full of sugar. Thank you!

    1. Hi, I stayed in hot climate country and I normally transfer my cakes to fridge after one night. The cake stay quite well for about 1 plus in airtight container and properly sealed.

      However, very rare I kept for the for so long. Normally the cakes will be gone by 2 days.

      Cheers :)


    2. By the way, buttercream topping cake like this need to be kept in the fridge.

      Cheers :)


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