CAKES - Chiffon Cakes

Pandan Cake with Gula Melaka Buttercream (Square)

August 13, 2023 | Recipe by Bake with Paws

Pandan Cake with Gula Melaka Buttercream

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I would suggest you read the following notes especially if you are don't bake often.


Meringue plays a very important role in Chiffon Cake.  Over beating meringue may cause the cake to crack, while under beating will cause the cake to collapse or it may not rise much.

Use room temperature egg whites, this will yield more volume.  Cold egg whites will not whip well.  It is easier to separate your eggs when they are still cold, then leave the egg whites aside to come to room temperature. 

Make sure your bowl is clean and there is no any trace of egg yolk or fat.  Fat will interfere with the formation of meringue.

Use cream of tartar to stabilise the whipped meringue.  Cream of tartar is acidic and can be replaced with lemon juice or white vinegar. The replacement ratio is 1:2.  If your recipe asks for 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar, then replace with 1/2 tsp lemon juice.

Sources from herehere and here

Stages of Meringue:

Soft Peak – The meringue is soft and unable to hold its form, it will drip after you turn your whisk upside down.  You will see the ribbon lines, but it disappears the moment you stop whisking. 
Firm Peak – The peak will hold and fold back slightly when you turn your whisk upside down.  The meringue is glossy and the ribbon lines stay. This is the stage we look for if you do not want your cake to crack. 

Stiff Peak – The peak will hold straight and doesn’t fold back when you turn the whisk upside down.  The meringue is very glossy and thick too.  Most chiffon cake recipes will prescribe this stage but the cake will easily crack when baking.  However, if you don’t mind the cake cracking then it is fine. It doesn’t affect how the cake tastes.

Over-beating – The meringue looks grainy, broken and dull. We do not want this stage in baking as you will not be able to fold it into the flour batter nicely.


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.


For a water bath, the cake pan sits within another pan filled with a little water. Place the cake pan within a larger pan and pour hot water into the outer pan until it comes up to a level of 1.5cm – 2 cm.  Place the whole thing in oven and bake. 

The benefit of water bath is that it will moderate the baking temperature and prevent the cakes from cracking.  The cake texture will be very moist too.  

Chiffon cake baked without a water bath is more brown and crumbly.  Some may prefer this texture. Please make your own choice between water bath or dry bake. This is a very individual personal preference.  

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 Pandan Chiffon Cake

Yields:  7 inch square cake


85g cake flour or all purposed flour
½ tsp double action baking powder (optional)
1/4 tsp salt

5 egg yolks (L size, about 60g - 65 each egg with shell)
45g corn oil or any vegetable oil
15g fresh milk
45g homemade pandan juice (screw-pine leaves juice), very thick and concentrated juice.

5 egg white (L size, about 60g - 65 each egg)
65g caster sugar or fine sugar  (I used fine brown sugar), please add more if you prefer sweeter
1/4 tsp cream of tartar or 1 tsp lemon juice

Utensil : 
7 inch square pan

  1. Preparation:
    1. Preheat oven to 150C (top and bottom heat).  
    2. Grease and line the base of baking pan with non-stick baking paper.
  2. To Prepare Cake Batter:
    1. Sift flour and baking powder in a bowl.  Add in salt and keep aside.
    2. Separate egg whites from the yolks.
    3. Add in oil, pandan juice and milk to the egg yolks.  Whisk until all well combined with a hand whisk.
    4. Add in sifted flour mixture in three batches.  Mix until well incorporated. Set aside.
    5. Using a hand 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 firm peaks formed (when you turn your whisk upside down, the peaks will hold and curl over a bit). 
    6. Gently fold the meringue into the egg and pandan batter with hand whisk in three batches.  Change to spatula and fold gently until well incorporated.
    7. Knock the mixing bowl on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
    8. Pour the batter into prepared pan.  Skim the top with spatula gently while pouring to break the air bubbles.
  3. Baking:
    1. To prepare a water bath – Place the cake pan in a pan slightly bigger before placing in a larger roasting pan, and pour warm water into the roasting pan until it comes up to a level of 1.5 cm – 2 cm.
    2. For my oven, I have to reduce the oven temperature to 140C.  Bake in pre-heated oven at 140C for 30 minutes, then 150C for 30 minutes and 170C for another 20 minutes.  
    3. Remove from the oven and immediately invert the cake pans. This will prevent the cakes from sinking.  Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes before unmolding. 
    4. To remove the cake from the pan, run a thin-bladed knife around the inside of the pan and invert the cake on non-stick baking paper. Peel off baking paper from the base and place on a rack to cool completely for about an hour before icing the cakes.

Please note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. It may not work for your oven. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

How To Make Gula Melaka Swiss Meringue Buttercream


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

Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
5 large egg whites
133g caster sugar
250g butter, room temperature
1/4tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt

Same method for preparing.

To Assemble Cake

Dried coconut flakes (I used Hawaii Dried Coconut Flakes)

Cake board, cake turntable, non-slip mat, icing spatulas, cake icing smoother,  dough scraper, piping bags, round tip nozzle and 6B nozzle.

  1. Cut the dome top off and slice the cake horizontally into 3.
  2. Fit the a piping bag with a plain round tip and fill up with buttercream.
  3. Place the cake board on a turntable.  Pipe a layer of cake on top. Use an off-set spatula to smooth it. Then stake the second layer of cake on top, repeat until finish all the cakes.
  4. Once finished all the cakes, smooth the top with the an off-set spatula until even.
  5. Place the cake in the fridge for about 10 minutes to set the buttercream. 
  6. Use a knife to trim and straighten the edges.
  7. Fit another piping bag with 6B nozzle and fill with the balance of buttercream.  Pipe swirls on top and sprinkle with coconut flakes.