Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Pandan Gula Melaka Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Oh my, back to back cake posts!

If you're not a big fan of pandan chiffon cakes, fret not! Pandan Gula Melaka (PGM) cake is NOTHING like the pandan chiffon cakes sold in stores. Like you, I had my initial reservations too. Until I sunk my teeth into my first PGM slice. Ahhhhh, love at first bite! Fluffy and soft, complimented by the satiny buttery taste of Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMB). Absolutely heaven in my mouth. I won't blame you, if you take second helpings!

Tips and tricks:
  • This recipe is originally for 24 cupcakes. Since I wanted to make a cake out of it, I doubled the recipe for two 8" cake tins.
  • If you want a whiter looking SMB, choose a 'white' butter such as SCS. Anchor and Tatura are more yellowish in colour. However for this recipe, since you'll be adding some gula melaka syrup, it won't really matter.
  • SMB is really quite forgiving. Mine turned into scrambled eggs but I quickly popped them into the fridge for 15 minutes and then whipped them again with my KitchenAid. After 5 minutes, those scrambled eggs magically turned into SMB. I recommend reading Sweetapolita's tips and tricks for SMB before your first attempt.

Okay, recipe time! So I mixed and matched a few recipes this time. The PGM cake recipe is adapted from BitterSweetSpicy, the SMB recipe is adapted from Azie Kitchen while the Gula Melaka caramel is from Azlita Masam Manis.

The naked cake, before flaked coconut garnish and gula Melaka caramel drizzle.

Pandan Gula Melaka
(makes 12 cupcakes, or double recipe for two 8" cakes)

200 gm superfine flour
1/2 teaspoon double acting baking powder
125 gm unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
160 gm (reduced from 200gm) caster sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
75 gm coconut milk (KARA) + 25 gm water
2 tablespoon pandan juice (blend 5 pieces of pandan leaves with 1 tablespoon of water, press through a fine sieve to extract the green juice, let it settle and the green extract will settle at the bottom)
Green colouring

  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Line muffin pan with cupcake liner or, if using cupcake paper cups, place cups onto a baking pan. If making cake, grease and flour generously two 8 inch pans.
  • Combine flour & baking power. Sift and set aside. 
  • Combine coconut milk, water, pandan juice and green colouring. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, on medium speed of an electric mixer, combine butter, vanilla & salt. Cream until smooth. 
  • Add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
  • Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  • Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the coconut milk mixture. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, taking care not to over beat.
  • Fill paper cups or muffin pan with batter, 3/4 full. If making cake, divide batter equally into the two pans.
  • Place pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.
  • Cool cakes completely on a wire rack before icing. 
Check out those layers of SMB.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
(Since I'm using Gula Melaka caramel to flavour the SMB, I've adapted the recipe slightly to reduce the sweetness)

50g gula Melaka, crushed
2 pandan leaves, torn lengthwise & tied a knot
1/8 cup water

4 large egg whites
110g granulated sugar (reduced from 200-220gm)
200g unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature (reduced from 300-350gm)
1 tsp pure vanilla paste
1/4tsp salt
  • To prepare Gula Melaka caramel, combine water, gula Melaka & daun pandan in a heavy-based saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until all the sugar has melted. Then continue heating up the syrup & let it reduce slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, strain & leave aside to cool completely to room temperature. The caramel will thicken as it cools. If it becomes too thick, thin out with a little bit of water before using.
  • Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk frequently, keeping it over the heat, until the mixture reaches about 70°C and the sugar has dissolved (rub some between your fingers - if it feels grainy, it hasn't dissolved). 
  • Transfer the mixture to a mixer with a whisk attached and beat on medium-high for about 5 minutes, until stiff peaks have formed and the mixture has cooled to room temperature. 
  • Turn down the speed to medium and start adding small chunks of butter, checking that it has incorporated before adding more. Keep beating until the mixture comes together, this will take about 5 minutes. 
  • With the mixer running, add in the gula Melaka caramel, one teaspoon at a time, beating until well combined between each addition. You need not use all the gula Melaka syrup. Just add enough.
A pool of gula Melaka caramel drizzle.

Gula Melaka Caramel
(To drizzle on the frosting)

50g gula Melaka
1 pandan leaf
1 tbsp water
1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook until the gula Melaka has melted. If it doesn't thicken, add 1 tsp of cornflour that has been mixed with some water. Cook again until it thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool down before using. Garnish the cake with some lightly toasted flaked coconuts, and then drizzle the gula Melaka caramel.

Don't be overwhelmed with the number of steps needed to make this cake. I assure you, it is absolutely worth it. Happy baking!


  1. I'm in absolute awe! The colour is such a gorgeous green. Loving these post!

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  3. Is the butter cream recipe to be doubled too for a 8" cake?

    1. I've tried this recipe couple of times! the buttercream is just enough to cover my 8" cake.
      If you're making naked caked like her's, you can just stick with this recipe.
      if you're looking forward flower piping, you will not have enough leftovers. You can try to add half part of the recipe for decoration.

  4. Do i need to double the butter cream recipe for a 8" cake?


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