Last Thursday, I turned 24 years young. The week leading up to my birthday was a bit crazy because I was busy with my 24hourselfie project. If you haven’t seen it already, do drop by and take a look. It’s my interpretation of what self-portraits are.
Of course, I squeezed in time to bake my birthday cake. This year, I decided on Pick Yin’s Ombre Pandan Cake with Gula Melaka Frosting, although I decided on a cream cheese based frosting. Meringues still scare me. Sigh. Anyways, the cake is best eaten at room temperature, or heat it up in the microwave for about 30 seconds if you’ve placed it in the fridge for a while. I still have difficulty in convincing my family to eat it because they are hardcore chocolate lovers, and they were expecting a Red Velvet Cake (which is so 2012). Another sigh. But trust me, I’m a true PBG at heart. This is for you non-chocolate lovers.
Pandan Ombre Cake with Gula Melaka Frosting
For the extract
- 15-20 pieces mature pandan leaves, washed and snipped into 1-inch pieces
- 5 tablespoons water
Whiz everything up in a blender. If you’re feeling rajin, you may use a pestle and mortar. Sieve the liquid and let the extract settle for a an hour. The dark green extract should settle at the bottom of the bottle and that’s what you need.
For the cake
- 1 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup/2 sticks/227 grams unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated/castor sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup thick coconut milk (if using canned/boxed coconut cream, thin out slightly with milk to make 1 cup)
Heat oven to 180 deg C. Grease and line 3 8-inch round baking tins with greaseproof paper. Sieve flours, baking powder and salt, set aside.
Beat butter and sugar till creamy. Add eggs, one at a time. Then add coconut milk and dry ingredients alternately into the batter. Roughly divide batter into three different bowls. I added 4 teaspoons of green extract PLUS a teaspoon of green coloring (I wasn’t happy with the intensity) into the darkest layer, then 2 and a half teaspoons into the middle layer, and finally 1 and a half teaspoons into the lightest layer. Make sure all batter is well combined.
Pour batter into the prepared tins and knock the tins on your countertop to knock out all the air. This will help you to get a flat cake. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, no more, no less.
For the frosting
- 2 blocks Philly cream cheese (softened at room temperature, cut into cubes)
- 1 cup heavy cream (I used Red Man)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 100g Gula Melaka
- 1/4 cup water
In a heavy-based saucepan over medium low heat, melt the gula Melaka with the water. Stir till all the sugar has melted, then let it reduce slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely to room temperature. The caramel will thicken more as it cools.
Beat cream cheese till fluffy, add in vanilla essence and cream. Whip until stiff peaks. Add in gula melaka and whip till well combined.