Monday 31 August 2015

Baked Pandan Cake/Kuih Pandan Bakar 烤香兰糕

I have a soft spot for this rich yummilicious traditional Malay cake or kuih as it is more fondly known here. On occasions when I have a craving for this kuih and I would drive all the way out to buy one tiny meagre piece just to satisfy this craving. Yes, just one piece, no more no less. For those of you who are still in the dark, I am talking about Kuih Pandan Bakar, a pandan flavoured cake which has a custard-like texture that is encrusted in a brown golden crust of fragrant sesame seeds.

If you are as hooked to this kuih as I am, here are some tips to identify the good ones. We would not be able to tell the taste but we can always choose the ones with a darker colour and thicker crust with lots of sesame seed on top. It makes a whole lot of difference to the smell of the kuih. I personally prefer my kuih to be brightly coloured (and not dark green) as this also indicates no or lesser use of artificial colouring. The recipe calls for the kuih to be baked. I am puzzled as to how the Malays got their hands on ovens in the olden days which is basically non-existence at that time (that is why most of the traditional desserts are either steamed or boiled). Well, apparently this kuih is put over a stove to be burnt, hence the word bakar, which also means burn.

This recipe that I adapted uses an equal proportionate ratio of 1:1:1:1 in cup measurements. Very easy to remember. I do not know the originator of this recipe but everybody seems to be using the same recipe without credits. I have since adapted much of it to fit my purpose. I reduced the amount to 3/4 cup to fit my 3 x 9 inch loaf pan. I reduced the amount of sugar. I omitted the use of green colouring but instead added more pandan leaves to give it that green hue.

Once again, I marvel at the simplicity of our traditional kuihs which are pretty easy to dish up unlike western ones which require skills and are sometimes temperamental. I just hope that I do this dish justice when I present it to you. I am not going to lie. This kuih is super rich and carbo-filled to the brim. Eat at your own risk. Here's my version....

Baked Pandan Cake/Kuih Pandan Bakar 烤香兰糕

Makes a 3 x 8 x 1.5 inch cake


3/4 cup (102 g) plain flour
1 tbsp green mung bean flour (can be replaced by plain flour)
1/2 cup (120 g) sugar
3/4 cup (180 ml) pandan water (8-10 pcs pandan blended with water)
1 1/2 cup (360 ml) coconut milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp marjerine/butter (melted)
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted (for sprinkling on top)

Cooking Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease loaf pan if necessary (I used non-stick pan).

2. Prepare pandan water. Cut pandan into small pieces and blend together with 3/4 cup water. Strain to get 3/4 cup of water.

3. Put all the ingredients into blender (except sesame seed) and blend to mix. Alternatively, you could also mix with a whisk until well combined. Mixture should turn into a thick slurry.

4. Pour mixture into a non-stick loaf pan. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

5. Bake in oven for 40 minutes at 180C. Skewer should come out clean when tested. Cool down completely before cutting.

1. As my cake didn't have that brown top that I so loved, I put my pan directly below heat and set it on grill for 5 minutes (or until you get your desired colour).

2. Traditionally, a flower-shaped mould to shape this kuih. Therefore, it is also called kuih kemboja, a type of flower.  

3. If you are using processed coconut cream which is usually thicker, use 2/3 coconut milk and 1/3 water.

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