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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Kuih Bakar Pandan

Kuih Bakar Pandan is a dense and rich baked cake, almost like a tropical clafoutis, but better.

Some people do it in a flower shaped mould and hence the name changes to Kuih Bakar Kemboja. I'm not sure the Kemboja here refers to the Frangipani (Plumeria obtusa) or Cambodia, the country. In the Malay language, the same word is used for both flower and the country.

Anyway, I'm just baking it in a pan, so, it just stays with Kuih Bakar Pandan. :)
Easy, no confusion.

I made one, years ago, and it was a disaster as the measurements were roughly given in cups. As you all should know, although we use metric cups to measure, the flour amount can have a difference up to 30% by weight. The cake was too hard, too floury, and it wasn't anything I was looking for.

And then I had a deflated pandan butter cake, due to a power cut half way through baking, and when the power resumed minutes later, my cake had gone flat! But nonetheless, it tasted fabulous like an ultra rich kuih bakar pandan. That was an Eureka moment.

That was how, I came up with this recipe of my own, with the pandan butter cake as a guide.

This cake.... is nice, if you make it rich enough.
It won't be nice, if you add too much flour, too little coconut milk or too little sugar.
If you don't have access to fresh pandan leaves, just add in 1 or 2 tsp of pandan paste.
I used natural pandan but added a wee bit of food colouring just in case the colour turns yellowish, as my free range eggs are rather orangey.

 Another point for a good kuih bakar is the caramelised fragrant top crust. Without it, the fragrance will be inferior. I was rushing to go to work, and cut it a bit too soon, hence the crust cracked. It was crispy! Leave it around longer, and it will soften and stay intact as you slice.

I used a aluminium pan to bake, and although I poured the batter into a preheated buttered pan, it had problems with release. I suggest, that for the easier removal, either you fully line the base with banana leaf (like here) or use a disposable aluminium tray, as it is usually non stick. Traditionally, copper moulds are used. But modern ones are made with heavy aluminium and are easily available at local shops that sell crockery. If you have a cast iron pan, it will be a good choice. Heat up your pan over the stove, slowly cook the batter and then finish up the oven for a beautiful top crust.

Kuih Bakar Pandan

by WendyinKK
Pan size: 6 inch square  

140gm plain flour
3 Grade B eggs
150gm sugar
1/4 tsp salt
30gm pandan leaves
125ml water
250ml pure coconut milk
2 drops of green food colouring (optional)

1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp butter or coconut oil

1. Blend pandan leaves with water and strain. Squeeze the pulp to release all the juice. Discard pulp.
2. Beat eggs with salt and sugar until frothy (just a minute with a balloon whisk will do). Add in coconut milk and stir it well to combine. Pour in flour and mix until smooth.
3. Add in strained pandan juice and mix. If the colour isn't up to your preference, add in food colouring.
4. Preheat oven at 200C. Put your baking pan into the oven during preheating.
5. When the oven is done preheating, open the door of the oven and carefully put the butter onto the pan.
6. Remove the pan from the oven and swirl the pan to let the melted butter cover the pan's inner surface.(or you can use a brush to get it all over). Be quick, don't let the pan cool down too much.
7. Pour the batter into the hot pan. Sprinkle sesame seeds over.
8. Return the pan to the oven and bake it for 5 minutes,then lower the heat to 160C. Bake it for 40 to 45 minutes.
9. Turn the heat up to 240C and bake the cake for around 10 to 15 minutes, until the colour reaches your preference.
10. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool down TOTALLY before slicing.


  1. Wendy, thanks for sharing your recipe as I have been looking for this kueh. I still remember fighting with my brother (when we were kids lah) over the last piece of kuih bakar which my mum bought from the pasar malam. hah..hah...

  2. I just baked this. So nice. Thank You for the recipe. Everything is perfect.

  3. Hey Wendy,

    I baked this twice in 3 days :p Top was burnt on first attempt, but I saved the part that wasn't burned, and it tasted so good so I made it again today and adjusted the time a little and it turned out great! I also did your Kuih Ketayak, soooooo good!!! So glad that I found your blog, all the amazing Malaysian recipe reminds me so much of my childhood :) Thanks a lot for sharing. PS: Would you please make Chinese popiah? Also please teach us how to make popiah wrap from scratch, I can't find fresh popiah wrap in Seattle, and I'm craving popiah so much. - Ashley

  4. Ashley,
    Thank you for trying out my recipes.
    I have never tried making popiah skin because I don't really 'serve' popiah at home. I never grew up eating that at home, but it's a tradition in my husband's home, using store bought skins, no one makes it in his family
    sorry ya

  5. Hi Wendy, may I know how much water needed to blend the pandan leaves and how much pandan water to use? Thinking of doing this for cny so appreciate your response. Thanks

  6. Teo Ai Li,
    As stated very clearly in the recipe 30g of pandan leaves and 125ml water.
    Use all the juice that you get from that extraction.

  7. Hi Wendy, for cooking the batter over the stove on a cast iron, what temperature should the burner be at and how long would you recommend cooking it on there for?

    I made the cake as you stated but used pandan extract instead of the fresh leaves. I used 2 teaspoons and made up the rest of the water with half water and half coconut milk. The cake was delicious but it turned out waaaay to green, so I'll cut it back to 1 teaspoon next time and I'd like to try cooking it on the stove as well.


  8. Hi! What to replace the eggs instead?


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