Steamed Pandan Cake

One of chowtimes reader asked for the recipe of steamed pandan cake and I decided to try to make some adjustments to the Chinese Sponge Cake recipe to incorporate the pandan flavour.


The steamed pandan cake smells great and Arkensen commented that it smells like the Layer Cake which also has pandan element in it.

The only thing is that the bottom part of the cake is more densed than the top part. Do you have any idea why?

Here is the ingredients adjustment I made to the Chinese Sponge Cake:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour (substituted with 1 cup less 2 tablespoons flour plus 2 tablespoons of milk powder)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (substitute with pandan essence)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk (substituted with pandan juice)
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted


The pandan leaves (also known as screwpine leaves) can be found in Filipino stores. I got mine from Great One Supermarket in Richmond. I’m sure you can find it in Chinatown too.

I’m not sure if we can find the pandan essence here in Vancouver as I got mine from Malaysia. The pandan essense is optional as the pandan juice itself is very fragrant.


To extract the pandan juice, cut up the pandan leaves into 1 inch piece and blend them with water. You then sieve the juice from the pulp.


This Steamed Pandan Sponge Cake is using the original Chinese Sponge Cake recipe with only one minor change, i.e. substituting the vanilla extract with a pandan extract which comes in green colour. This has been my family regular recipe since.

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  1. Christine Duong

    That’s such a simple dish! thanks!
    ps- have you thought about ranking your recipes from quick meals to ones that require more time? I cook a lot from your recipes and it would be great to know the time it takes to prep and make them!

  2. ainwa

    I think taking out evaporated milk removes some protein, plus you lowered the amount of flour. You could try mixing the milk powder into the juice — perhaps even more than 2 tablespoons of milk powder to match the protein in evaporated milk. The volume will change a bit so you might need a little less than half a cup of pandan juice.

    I think the too-dense cake is a result of too much liquid or fat — but you did not alter the fat. If anything, you reduced the fat by using nonfat milk powder instead of possibly full fat evaporated milk.

    You might also try baking or steaming it a little longer, on a slightly lower heat if it is browning too much.

    I don’t think the pandan itself changed the texture of the cake.

  3. adel

    wow, great! i was looking for Pandan cake recipes, will take up your suggestion then. Looking for the Pandan essence and leaves will be quite a prob but will sure try here..
    Btw, you’re malaysian? Me too, but living in Ireland..
    Keep up the good work!

  4. Suanne

    Hi Adel: Yah-lah … we were Malaysians, now Canadians. Let me know how your Pandan cake turns out.

  5. suzette

    can I use cake flour in this recipe? cuz it is not indicated what kind of flour.Thanks!

  6. Suanne

    Hi Suzette, the recipe calls for all-purpose flour as there is baking powder and baking soda to leave it.

  7. Char


    Can I know how much of pandan leaves and water is need to make the 1/2 cup of pandan juice?


    1. Suanne

      Hi Char, I would use about 5 leaves with 1/2 cup of water.

  8. Yiin yng

    Hi. Am new here. I’m actually looking for a pandan santan sponge cake.. i guess i’ll just substitute the milk with santan and pandan.. oh, the cake is denser at the bottom because of underhandling when folding the flour and butter in. What i did was, i beat the eggs and sugar till fluffy over warm water. then i fold the flour in followed by butter. the butter must be folded in adequately. well, i used an electronic whisker, its easy tat way. and i omitted the baking powder and baking soda. the cake came out nice and fluffy.:)

    1. Suanne

      Hi Yiin Yng, thank you for the tips.

  9. Nancie

    Hi Suanne, I am new here too….and I’m from malaysia too…;) well, when i first see this recipe, i was so excited and thinking of making it. but, i can’t see the method of doing it. can you please advise how to make the steamed pandan cake?? thanks 🙂

    1. Suanne

      Hi Nancy, if you click on the link of Chinese Sponge Cake in the post, you’ll be able to see the instructions. Please take note of Yiin Yng tips in the comment section for a more fluffy cake.

      1. Nancie

        Hi Suanne,

        Thanks for the soonest reply and i will take not of Yiin Yng’s tips too….thank you very much. will try to make it and will let you guys know how was the result.

  10. Nancie

    well, i have tried once but it turns out not good at all….. 🙁

  11. Eric

    If i substitute pandan essence with pandan juice must i add more flour because the juice will dilute the mixture???How much should i add if i use 1/2 cup juice???

    1. Suanne

      Hi Eric, if you use 1/2 cup of pandan juice to replace the evaporated milk, you can leave out the pandan essence. I added the pandan essence to add extra fragrance only since I have it on hand.

  12. Inspector Jon

    Maybe you use evaporated milk to make the pandan juice instead of water? Then you get the pandan flavor and not change the ingredients.

  13. Jennifer

    I finally found some pandan leaves and did what everyone recommended, cut the leaves, about 8-9 and i added about 1 cup of water and blend it in blender. I have the extract in the fridge and I cannot detect any pandan smell at all.. just mostly smell like grass… is it normal? I know i got the right leaves for when i smelt it fresh, i can smell the pandan. Is it normal?

    1. Suanne

      Hi Jennifer, the fragrance of pandan will be lost if dried or left for a while. I usually freeze the whole pandan leaves until I need them.

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