today is May 24, 2022

The combination of pandan leaves and coconut milk immediately transports me back to Indonesia as I munch on this lovely pandan coconut butter cake accompanied by ice tea, jasmine of course, so I can pretend to have a wonderful tea time in the tropics.

The green color comes from pandan leaves, and before you ask, I have no idea what the equivalent would be if using pandan essence instead of 100% natural pandan extract from pandan leaves.

To ensure that your natural pandan extract looks as green as possible, try to use only the top part of pandan leaves where they are all green. But even if your cake doesn’t end up looking as green as you like, you still have the peace of mind that the coloring is all-natural instead of using green dye.

Ingredients to prepare pandan coconut butter cake.

Ingredients to prepare pandan coconut butter cake.

Make pandan extract from fresh/frozen pandan leaves

Whenever I prepare a pandan dessert, I make my own pandan extract from fresh/frozen pandan leaves. To achieve the green color for this cake, I use:

  • 50 gram pandan leaves, use the green part of the leaves only
  • 100 ml water

Simply cut the leaves into thin strips with a pair of scissors and blend them with water in a blender until the leaves are completely pulverized. Squeeze to obtain about 75 ml of pandan extract.

If your leaves don’t look very green, you may want to increase the amount up to 75 grams just to be sure that you will get a green cake.

Can I use store-bought pandan extract?

If you cannot find fresh/frozen pandan leaves and want to use store-bought pandan extract instead, use 1 teaspoon of store-bought pandan extract and add 75 ml of either water, milk, or coconut milk.

If you need a recommendation for a store-bought pandan extract, then all I will say is that most Indonesians use Koepoe-Koepoe pandan extract, but seriously, the real deal is simply so much better.

Personally, I would rather bake a regular butter cake instead of using store-bought extract.

Step-by-step guide to prepare pandan coconut butter cake batter: (1) Make pandan extract. (2) Prepare meringue batter and pandan egg yolk batter. (3) Fold meringue into pandan egg yolk batter. (4) Pour batter into a greased and lined 8 inch square pan.

Step-by-step guide to prepare pandan coconut butter cake batter: (1) Make pandan extract. (2) Prepare meringue batter and pandan egg yolk batter. (3) Fold meringue into pandan egg yolk batter. (4) Pour batter into a greased and lined 8 inch square pan.

Prepare the batter

Once my pandan extract is ready, I usually do the following:

  1. Grease and line my 8-inch square cake pan. You can use either a 2" tall pan or a 3" tall pan. Be sure that your parchment paper overhangs the pan so you can easily grab the extra paper to remove the cake later on.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160 Celsius (320 Fahrenheit).
  3. Boil a pot of hot water to fill a baking tray for steam bake (bain-marie).

Once everything is done, it is time to prepare the cake batter:

  1. Meringue batter: Whisk egg whites until foamy, then add vinegar or cream of tartar and whisk until pale, then gradually add sugar and continue whisking until medium peak. Set this aside.
  2. Egg yolk batter: Beat egg yolks and sugar until pale, then add melted butter, coconut cream, and pandan extract. Beat until well mixed. Sift in cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat on lower speed just until well mixed.
  3. Fold the meringue into egg yolk batter in 3 batches. Use either a balloon whisk or a spatula for this.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Tap to remove air bubbles.

Wait until the cake is completely cooled before cutting into serving slices.

Wait until the cake is completely cooled before cutting into serving slices.

Baking the butter cake with a water bath method

For a super smooth cake, I usually bake the cake with a bain-marie method or a water bath method. Here is what I do:

  1. Position one oven rack at the bottom and one oven rack in the middle.
  2. Place a baking tray at the bottom and filled the tray with hot water.
  3. Place the cake pan at the middle rack.
  4. Bake until the cake is fully cooked and the top is golden brown. This usually takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Once the cake is done, remove from the oven and gently remove the cake by grabbing the overhanging parchment paper. Cool completely on a wire rack. Once the cake is completely cool, slice it into 9 to 16 squares. I usually do 16 squares since a butter cake can be quite rich. I hope you will love this cake as much as I do. :)

Pandan coconut butter cake.

Pandan coconut butter cake.

Other pandan recipes you may want to try

If you love pandan, whether the color, or the flavor, or both, you may want to give my other pandan recipes a try:

  • es cendol
  • pandan coconut ice cream
  • pandan and coconut milk layered agar
  • nasi gurih - pandan and coconut milk rice

And again, if you love a good butter cake and you don’t have pandan leaves, please give my Mrs. Ng old fashioned butter cake recipe a try, I promise you won’t be disappointed. :)