Recipe: Pandan Coconut Cake

I’ll be the first to admit that I have an issue with needing acceptance and approval in parts of my life – validation that what I’m doing is correct. This is particularly heightened when it comes to K’s family – I’m eager to be the ideal daughter-in-law, the perfect new relation, and the irreproachable granddaughter-in-law.

I make a particular effort to go to all family gatherings at least once a week (yes, his Malaysian side of the family do see each other at least once a week), so that I can’t be faulted as not paying my respects to his elders. Hence, my anxiety when I realised I couldn’t go to a birthday brunch one Saturday morning at his grandparents house as I had a long-standing facial appointment booked for pre-wedding beautification. Not going along to a 93rd birthday party because of something as personal and frivolous as a facial appointment? How dare I!

Anxious to make amends, I woke up at 7am that Saturday morning, sacrificing my sleep-in, so that I could do some birthday baking as a peace offering.


While his grandparents have been in Australia for decades, they’re still very Chinese Malaysian in their tastes and philosophies. With some pandan essence in my pantry and some leftover desiccated coconut, a pandan coconut cake was begging to be made. I knew I wouldn’t have time to make a more traditional chiffon cake though, so a heavier pound cake it was. I even made some fresh soy bean milk to go with it!

I found a recipe on Bakericious that looked vaguely like what I was looking for, and used it as my base while adding a few personal touches along the way.

Pandan Coconut Cake


  1. 140gm butter
  2. 140g caster sugar
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 70ml pandan essence
  5. 90ml coconut milk
  6. 280gm self-raising flour
  7. 1 tsp baking powder
  8. 100gm desiccated coconut


  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
  2. Mix your butter and caster sugar in your stand mixer, adding in the eggs one at a time.
  3. Mix in the flour and baking powder, adding coconut milk and pandan essence to help the mix along.
  4. Add in desiccated coconut gradually, incorporating it into the cake batter.
  5. Add in more flour or coconut milk as necessary, to get your cake batter to the right consistency.
  6. Pour your cake batter into a greased cake tin (mine is 9 inches in diameter)
  7. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked through.
  8. Remove from oven, let cool, and then turn out onto a wire rack.


Note – My cake started going brown on top quite quickly even though the inside still wasn’t set. To stop it from browning even further, I covered it with foil about halfway through baking.

With the cake in hand and a jug of fresh soy milk too, I sent K off to his grandparents house as I went off to my facial. He reported that the cake was received very well by everyone there, though his grandfather did complain that the pandan flavour wasn’t strong enough in the cake – he definitely prefers stronger flavours though! Perhaps it’s a side-effect of 93 years worth of blasting his taste buds with chilli?


All in all, it’s a relatively simple cake that suits Asian palates – it’s the type of cake that even my dad would enjoy. It goes perfectly with a glass of fresh warm sweet soy milk.

There was one suggestion by K’s aunt that a good frosting on this cake would be kaya (coconut egg jam). If we were spending Christmas in Sydney with K’s family, I’d probably make this cake again with kaya frosting for everyone. As it so happens though, we’re spending Christmas in Melbourne this year with my family where we’re hoping to do our first turducken!

Happy Christmas to you, your families, and loved ones. I hope you get to spend time with the people you love, and get to stuff yourselves silly with delicious food!

4 thoughts on “Recipe: Pandan Coconut Cake”

  1. That is a perfect green colour for this cake, it looks so delicious :D
    Perfect for the holidays if you add red velvet cupcakes on the other side! Merry Christmas and have an awesome time with your family! :)

    Happy Holidays
    Choc Chip Uru

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