Pandan Ogura Cake (all posts from attempt 1 to success!)

These are collection of blog posts from the other blog all about Pandan Ogura Cake.  Enjoy!

First Attempt

I love anything pandan.  Love the colour, the taste, the smell.  But I could not bring myself to bake a pandan cake.  Few years back, I tried.  I put in too much pandan juice and it made the cake a little bitter.  Then I switched to using pandan essence and green colouring.  It failed to impress me and thereafter, I quit baking pandan cakes.

Recently, I decided to give it a try again and while surfing the net, I bumped into the latest craze amongst Malaysian Chinese home-bakers ~ Pandan Ogura Cake.  I have no idea what it means, but the texture is somewhat like the Japanese Cotton Cheesecake.  

So I came to this blog, Phong Hong Bakes, and found the way to do it and decided to give it a try.  Since I already have most of the ingredients, including pandan leaves which is right outside my garden, I took it as a sign for me to proceed.

For the method to blend the pandan leaves, I got it from Food@Home Sweet Home.

See how lovely this green is.  I made a little too much, so I kept the excess in the freezer for future use.  I hope to attempt this cake again this Saturday, hmm, maybe not, since my husband is working.  I need his help when doing this and I shall tell you why in a while.

I am not going to post the recipe or the method here.  You can simply just google and you will find many other bloggers who have already done this and turned out beautifully.

Mine turned out like this:



I seriously don't know what happened.  The cake rose while baking and then after that it sinks and became so short.  There was no pandan taste and no green colour but luckily there was a little pandan fragrance, though you really need a strong nose to smell this.  

The taste was a little too sweet for my liking and I am beginning to wonder whether it's because my kitchen scale is faulty.  

BUT.....the taste is yummy and many people commented on how delicious and soft it was.  

The thing is, I can't understand why in certain recipes, for liquid ingredients like oil, it is mesured in gram (g)? So I am not sure whether it's also because the measurement was wrong or what.

In fact, I followed the directions like step-by-step and not missing even a single word.  But still it didn't turn up the way it was supposed to be.

SO, before my next attempt, I need to get a new electronic kitchen scale.  Because the cake before this was also very sweet although it was stated that sugar was already reduced.

And why do I need my husband to bake with me?  Because I have a hand cake mixer, with no stand.  And this recipe call for flour to be sifted into the egg yolk mixture slowly while it is being mixed.  I don't know how to multitask like this.  Also, it call for sugar to be added bit by bit into the egg white mixture.  That's why I need another pair of hands and his hands are really handy.

So, I am really thinking to do this again.  But maybe not this weekend.  Maybe something simpler this weekend and leave this complicated ones to whenever I have the courage to do it again.

Update:  Oh uh....I just read somewhere on the net that you should not freeze the pandan juice or else the smell will be gone.  So, there goes my pandan juice......sob sob...

Second Attempt

Before I attempted the 2nd time, I did a lot more research to 'perfect' it.  For your information, I am just a novice baker.  I don't know how to do a lot of things, like decoration, piping, putting cream in between, can't differentiate what kind of flours, don't know how to beat egg whites, bake how long, what's the effect between different pans, temperature, the list goes on.

So this time around, I prepared the pandan extract 1 week early.  You need to get the green, chlorophyll stuff and make sure it is thick.  The 'water' part need to be disposed occasionally to get the totally green stuff.  Make sure it is not diluted.

I blended 10 pandan leaves with 100ml water.  And after a week, I have 20g of pandan extract.

I also read more about beating egg whites.  Thanks to Kitchen Tigress, a blogger from Singapore who shared tips about baking this cake.  On top of that, she also made a video on how to make this cake.  Check her blog on Ogura Cake here.  Now I know exactly how the texture of the egg whites supposed to be.

Her recipe however called for stiff egg whites, while other bloggers said soft peak.  Anyway, I tried Kitchen Tigress way.

Another tip I got from the many bloggers who baked the Pandan Ogura Cake successfully was the temperature of the oven.  You can't bake it on high temperature.  It has to be slow and steady.  Kitchen Tigress baked hers at 170C and then reduce to 130C.  Somehow, I can't get this right.  My cake sank immediately.


See, though it sank, it was still quite thick.  I think my oven temperature was wrong all the while.  Probably I need a thermometer to do this right.

 See how badly it sank.



But you know what?  The taste was so wonderful.  The recipe I adapted from Kimmy's blog here.  I realised I didn't have corn oil, so I used sunflower oil instead.  The taste is a little different.

Using coconut milk (santan) instead of milk gave it a little oilier texture and coconuty taste.  If you like santan taste, you will love this way.

I must say, the pandan extract was quite well-done.  The colour is so beautiful although I didn't add any artificial colouring to it.

I got good reviews about this cake.  And people had asked me when I will do it again?

For next round, I think I will use corn oil.  Not sure if I used coconut oil, on top of coconut milk will be too overwhelming.  Also, maybe I will just keep the temperature at 170C and tent it with aluminium foil to prevent burning the top.

Anyway, baking is fun.  It's all about experimenting, trial and error.

Third Attempt

I am in love with this Pandan Ogura Cake.  And I got my husband hooked on pandan flavour and now he wants more.  This time, he requested for it and even helped me to make it.  

Earlier this year, I bought a big packet of chocolate chips.  Since I love them so much, I thought it would be nice to add onto the cakes I made.  And I did.  And it was nice.  But I only used so little, that I still have so much left.  So what now?

The chocolate chips were also very sweet and it is quite difficult to incorporate into most of the cakes as it only makes the cakes extremely sweet.  So I tried to Google ways to use up the chocolate chips and found this recipe from Min's Blog : Pandan Chocolate Chip Ogura Cake.

My husband dislike chocolates in cakes and told me not to put inside.  But I was a little stubborn and insisted on finishing up the chocolate chips that I bought.  So, to compromise, I put chocolate chips on top half of the cake.  The other half is the original taste.

This time, I replaced corn oil with coconut oil.  And I kept the temperature at 160C and didn't reduce it.  And I inverted the cake immediately when it is done.  And the result was pretty good.


The taste was just nice.  As the cake was not sweet, the chocolate chip went very well with it, though it did make my cake sunk a little on that side.

This time, I made few boo boos though.  I only realised I made the mistake after it was about to go into the oven.

First mistake.  I forgot to put the 1/4 tsp salt.  Probably it doesn't make much difference, but still, being a 'perfectionist', I felt bad about it.

Second mistake.  I used a 9" cake pan instead of a 8" cake pan that Min's recipe called for.  So, as a result, I think the cake was much thinner and after it rose and sunk, it was even shorter.  

Despite all that, the taste and texture came out perfectly fine. 

However, personally, I prefer using the combination of coconut milk with vegetable oil rather than fresh milk with coconut oil.  The taste and smell of the 'santan' was much stronger and more delicious.  You would want to eat again and again, that kind of feeling.  This one, you eat once, and it's enough.  Not because it is not tasty.  But there's something about the coconut oil that makes you feel it's enough.  Weird.  Maybe it's just me.  Coconut oil is healthier though.  And I still have 3/4 bottle of it.  I read that I can replace shortening with this.  So, maybe I will try with my next experiment on Pandan pau (since I bought the whole bagful of pau flour and needs to finish it up.)

I think I almost got it there now.  The egg whites were perfectly stiff.  The texture of the cake is so fine and soft.  The cake is not too sweet, which is what I like.  It is not too wet.  The pandan colour and taste came out beautifully.

Yup, almost there.  Look out for more Pandan Ogura Cake experiments.  Trial and error!

Fourth Attempt


This will probably be the final post on the Pandan Ogura Cake series, not that I will stop baking, it's just I think I better stop before bloggers think I am hogging the blogsphere with more Pandan Ogura Cake experiment.

This round, I tried Phong Hong's recipe because she used the 9" pan which is what I have.  Everything turned out well, except that the pandan extract that I made was a little too bland.  So the cake doesn't taste much of Pandan and looking at the photo, some even thought it was an Orange cake instead.

Note to self:  Next time to make 20ml of pandan extract, use a mixture of old and young leaves.  The old leaves will give the beautiful green colour while the young ones will give the fragrance.  10 leaves = 100ml.  I put about 15 leaves and 200ml and the taste was too bland.  Sigh.

Anyway, this weekend I will be making another Pandan Ogura Cake to celebrate my birthday!!!

Now coming back to all these baking experiments and how it started.  I love baking, thanks for my mom.  When my sister and I were younger, my mom used to bake cakes during weekends and allowed both of us to put the ingredients in, taking turns.  It was fun and the result was great!  My baking interest came from her and therefore when I was able to operate a mixer and oven, I decided that this is my hobby, cake baking.

On and off, I tried many recipes here and there.  Sometimes I am a little adventurous and tried new recipes.  Well, I must say, not all cook books are great, because some of the recipes are either too sweet or too bland.  

Many years, I have abandoned this hobby of mine while I tried to look for my passion in other things, i.e cross-stitch, music, etc.  And then I realised, I am the kind of person who only have interest in something for only 3 minutes (old Chinese saying).  So my hobbies and interests kept on changing and I kept on wondering, what's my passion?

Lately, since married, this interest once again get ignited and now that I have my husband as my helper, baking is ever so easy.  He is my kitchen helper i.e line the baking tray and wash all the stuff after I used them.  He is also the taster and 'white mouse' for all my good and bad experiments.  And he is one of the loyal supporter for this interest of mine.



Fifth and Final!


I made the Pandan Ogura Cake for my birthday.  And this time, finally I got everything right (well not 100% though), but about 99%.  And I am sticking with the coconut milk and vegetable oil combo.  This is THE CAKE!

I used Jeanie's recipe and Kimmy's recipe.  So here's mine:


Ingredients (for a 9" cake tin):

A: Egg yolk mixture
6 egg yolks
1 whole egg
65 ml sunflower oil (coz I don't have corn oil at home)
80 ml fresh coconut milk
20 ml pandan extract
65 g superfine flour
1/2 tsp salt

B: Egg white mixture
6 egg whites
75 g castor sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Method:

1. Prepare pandan extract one week in advance.  Blend 10 leaves [5 old leaves (gives darker green colour) and 5 young leaves (gives more fragrance)] with 100-150ml of water.  Sieve to get the juice and refrigerate.  After few days, you will see a layer of dark, green stuff sunk at the bottom.  Pour away the water on top and continue keeping.  Before you make the cake, take this extract out from the fridge early so that it is at room temperature before you use it.  Pour away excess water.

2. Cut baking paper and prepare the baking tin.  What I did was cut it according to the right size and then use a little bit of the egg white meringue to stick the paper to the tin.


3. I used 4 muffin tins and filled it up with hot water and put it at each corner on the oven tray.  Pre-heat the oven at 170C with these tins.  I guess you could also pre-heat without these and only put it in when you put the cake in.  But I am quite clumsy and so I prefer to do it this way.



4. Use a manual whisk and whisk egg yolks and 1 egg together.  After they are combined, slowly drizzle sunflower oil while continuously whisking.  Meantime, combine the coconut oil with the pandan extract and stir well.  Pour coco-pandan milk into the egg yolks and continue whisking to combine.  Add salt.

5. Sift flour into the egg yolks mixture slowly while continuously whisking.  Mix well to ensure no lumps.


6. To ensure no lumps, I sieved the egg yolk mixture.  This make the cake pretty smooth.


7. Now whisk the egg whites using the hand mixer until stiff.  Why I didn't use the hand mixer for the egg yolks was because in order to get the egg whites to be perfectly stiff, the tools used must be very clean, no water, no oil, etc.  I didn't want to wash and re-use, so might as well just use separate tools for separate mixture.  Firstly, whisk the egg whites until foamy.  And then add cream of tartar and whisk until slight creamy / foamy texture.  Add sugar in 3 parts slowly while whisking at high for about 3-5 minutes.  Then when it is stiff, slowly reduce the speed before off.  This is to help stabilising the air and not create too much bubbles.  The egg whites are stiff when the peaks are not watery and stay in its position for more than few seconds and are not glossy, gosh I don't know how to explain this.  It is glossy when overbeat.  Don't over-beat, then it is difficult to mix it to the egg yolk mixture.  If under-beat, then the cake may sink a lot after baking.


8. Now combine egg yolk mixture with the egg whites in 3 parts again.  Do slowly until well-combined before you proceed with the 2nd part.



9. Now you can use the excess white eggs to stick the baking paper to the cake tin.  Pour the cake batter into the tin, slowly, so that you don't get too much bubbles.  Then gently hit the cake tin against the counter top to burst the bigger bubbles.


10. Bake at 170C for 55 minutes.


11. When it is done, remove from oven immediately and invert on a cooling rack.  Remove pan.  After 5 minutes, remove the paper.  So this is 1% mistake that I made.  I left it in the oven a bit too long while watching CZ12 and it sunk a little.  Refrigerate before cutting makes it so much easier to cut.

The end result, the cake is so smooth and moist.  The coconut milk combo is so yummy and so much more fragrant.  But not sure how long it can be kept in the fridge.  So many family members and friends gave positive reviews!  Glad that I have made it!!! Yay!



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