The idea of making cake always seems so magical, you mix up some ingredients, pour in the runny batter and twenty minutes later or so you have beautiful little cakes or cupcakes. This only happens in my food dreams of course, reality is quite different.
The challenge I’d given myself was to bake my oldest child a gluten free cake for her 4th birthday at school. How hard could this be? I had procured my selection of ingredients -coconut flour, extra virgin coconut oil, unrefined caster sugar and local Pandan flavouring. (We live in Singapore, where the Pandan leaf paste or juice is used to flavour sweets and desserts).
6 tries later this recipe finally came about! (Of course, I felt really silly after; I had grossly underestimated baking with gluten free flours).
The first couple of failed experiments were either too dry, too oily or too dense. This final version I was happy with and I remember the day she came home after her birthday celebration in school she was smiling from ear to ear. She very proudly told me how everyone loved the little cakes – I think her exact words were “the cakes were so yummy everyone ate them all!”
To add to that she showed me a lovely note from her teacher – apparently the YUM factor was so present that her school teacher asked for the recipe. As such, I’m dedicating this post to her to thank her for giving me the courage to put this recipe up!
I hope that you will also enjoy this ‘pandanlicious coco-nutty’ cake as much as I have it’s proof that gluten free flours can be used to make more nourishing and equally tasty creations. All you need for equipment is simply a handheld electric whisk and a heavy mixing bowl and you’re set to go…
Some of the ingredients used in this recipe include:
Coconut Oil – Touted as THE SUPERFOOD to eat coconut oil has been shown to improve brain function, help with fat burning, and the lauric acid that is 50% of the oil can even stave off infections by killing bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Coconut Flour – Low in sugars, high in fiber, protein and healthy fats, coconut flour is free from wheat and grains and is an excellent choice for those who want to eat gluten free, are diabetic, have nut or other allergies.
Pandan Paste – This is a type of green coloured flavouring made from the extracts of the local pandan leaf. It’s most commonly used in Southeast Asian sweets and desserts. You can find this flavouring sold in small little bottles in the baking section at many supermarkets in Singapore. It’s also sold on Amazon.com and alternatively, you may also use fresh pandan juice (blended pandan leaves squeezed to extract the juice) to achieve a similar aroma and result. The Pandan Paste is the quick method!
Ribbon Stage – This happens when the eggs and sugars are whisked till pale yellow and develops some structural body, so when you lift the whisk over the mixture the batter should fall slowly forming a ribbon that will hold its shape for a few minutes.
Tip for light & airy cakes – After mixture reaches the ribbon stage, add flour in parts and stir the surface gently so the mix underneath remains untouched. This will ensure a more airy and light finish.
Coco Pandan Birthday Little Cakes
Makes 10 regular-sized cupcakes / 12 small teacakes
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup unrefined caster sugar
½ cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons milk/rice milk/soy milk & ¼ teaspoon of pandan paste mixed together
1 teaspoon baking powder – double acting (optional step)
Using an electric whisk, whisk eggs & caster sugar together till the eggs & sugar reach the ribbon stage.
Sift coconut flour in small batches slowly and only onto the top of the egg mixture so as not to disturb the mixture below the surface. You may use a small spatula or whisk to stir the top portion only.
Drizzle the coconut oil over mixture. Add the pandan flavour solution made earlier on.
Quickly fold mixture together, till you get a smooth batter with no lumps.
Spoon mixture into cupcake cases. Fill each one till ¾ full. Top with sprinkles that you like – you may get your child to do this with you – its good fun for them!
Bake at 175 degrees Celsius for 15-17 mins. (Shorten or lengthen time depending on heat efficiency of your oven).
Cakes are ready when they spring back when touched.
For Gluten Free Baking:
Consider your leavening agents to flour ratios. Often gluten free flours are much heavier in weight and denser in texture – adding more leavening agents do help with creating a fluffier and lighter textured cake.