This is a popular Vietnamese dessert (banh bo nuong) that is chewy and pandan-y. It’s a great snack cake that can be found in many Asian markets.
This is also the recipe that got me asking, “why?” Why the big deal about the leavening agents? Some swear by the single-acting Alsa brand baking powder. And others absolutely stand by the double-acting baking powder. I’ve tried both and saw slightly more of a rise with the double acting even with a completely greased pans to offset some of the rising crawl. I choose the double acting because of the method used in the recipe. Knowing how double-acting baking powder works helped this decision. Double-acting baking powder reacts once when liquid is introduced and then a second time when heat is introduced. So in a recipe that has so much liquid and goes out of its way to heat up a pan, it seems logical that this requires double-acting baking powder.
- You can use fresh or frozen pandan for this recipe, but if you have ones that have been in the freezer for a while or may not be the freshest and most fragrant, you can add a little bit of pandan extract. I’ve added that as an optional ingredient in the recipe.
- Don’t grease the pan before you preheat, especially if you are using the cooking spray as I did. The spray will blacken and you will have black grease on your cake. Quickly spray it as soon as it comes out of the oven and before you pour your batter into it. Not greasing the pans will produce a rougher outer skin on the cake, but doesn’t impact the cake much overall.
Pandan Honeycomb Cake
Yields: 1 cake
Bake time: 43-47 mins
2 cups tapioca starch
1 tablespoon baking powder (double acting)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
200 ml (half 13.5 oz can) coconut milk
1/3 cup pandan juice (6-7 pandan leaves pureed with water and strained)
2 pandan leaves (fresh or frozen) – cut into small pieces
¼ teaspoon pandan extract (optional)
4 large eggs
Cooking spray for pan
- Preheat oven to 350F. Place bundt pan or cake pan of choice in oven to heat up while preheating.
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, heat coconut milk, pandan juice, pandan leaves, salt and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Make sure to stir frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
- In a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Strain the pandan-coconut milk mixture over a fine-mesh sieve into eggs. Add pandan paste or extract (if desired). Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift the tapioca starch and baking powder into the mixture. Gently whisk to try to get the smoothest batter as possible.
- Carefully, remove hot pan from oven, spray a light coat of cooking spray on pan and pour the batter over a fine-mesh sieve into the hot pan as to catch any large clumps of batter from getting into the pan. Return the pan into the oven and bake for 43-47 minutes. The tester should come out dry, but may catch slight resistance from tapioca.
- Allow to cool in pan for a few minutes before turning onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.