Buko Pandan Cake (Onde-Onde/Klepon Cake)

Chiffon, Gula Melaka & Toasted Coconut

Ingredients

Buko Pandan Chiffon:

Dry Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups cake flour [254 g]
1 tbsp baking powder [12 g]
1/2 cup granulated sugar [100 g]
1 tsp salt [5.7 g]

Wet Ingredients:
8 egg yolks [160 g]
2/3 cup vegetable oil [160 mL]
1 1/4 cups coconut milk (separated from 13.5 oz can) [300 mL]
1 tbsp pandan extract [15 mL]
3 drops of green food coloring (gel paste - "leaf green")

Meringue:
8 egg whites [240 g]
1 tsp cream of tartar [3.4 g]
3/4 cup granulated sugar [150 g]

Dark Brown Sugar Crumble Filling:
1 cup cake flour [113 g] or AP flour [120 g] (either works)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar [110 g]
3/4 tsp baking powder [3 g]
1/8 tsp table salt [0.7 g]
1/3 cup vegetable oil [80 mL]
1 tbsp vanilla extract [15 mL]

Toasted Coconut Sides:
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut [150 g]

Buko Pandan Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese [226.4 g]
2/3 cup granulated sugar [133.3 g]
1 tbsp pandan extract [15 mL]
1/2 cup cold coconut cream (separated from 13.5 oz can) [120 mL]
3 cups heavy cream [720 mL]

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Instructions



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Buko Pandan Chiffon:

Separate 8 eggs into yolks and whites, and let them come to room temperature. Take 1 can (13.5 oz) of full-fat coconut cream that's been placed in the fridge overnight, so that the thick coconut cream naturally separates from the liquid. Separate 1/2 a cup of the top thick and solid coconut cream part. What's left from a 13.5 oz can should be about 1 1/4 cups of the thinner and more watery coconut milk. Set the 1/2 cup coconut cream in the fridge and leave the 1 1/4 cups coconut water at room temperature.

Preheat your oven to 340 F (170 C). Prepare two 9" round cake pans by lining the bottom with parchment paper. Do not grease parchment paper or the sides of the pans. Soak 2 cake strips in cold water for 5 minutes. Then shake off excess water but do not wring. And place these soaked cake strips around each of the cake pans.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together 2 1/4 cups of cake flour, 1 tbsp of baking powder, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, and 1 tsp of salt. Then add in 8 egg yolks, 2/3 cup of vegetable oil, 1 1/4 cups of coconut water (separated earlier), 1 tbsp of pandan extract, and 3 drops of green food coloring gel paste. We use a gel paste food coloring called "leaf green".

Beat this together with an electric mixer until the mixture is smooth and well blended.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, add in the 8 room temperature egg whites and 1 tsp cream of tartar, and with the whisk attachment beat on medium speed until it looks frothy, about 1 minute. Then turn the speed up to medium-high, and very slowly add in 3/4 cup granulated sugar while continuing to beat. When all the sugar has been added, turn the speed up to high and beat until you see stiff glossy peaks.

One third at a time, gradually and very gently fold in this meringue into the cake mixture until very well combined. Divide batter equally into two prepared round cake pans.

Bake these in the preheated oven at 340 F (170 C) for about 40 - 45 minutes or until the cakes are light golden brown, the surface springs back when touched lightly at the center. Invert them onto metal racks immediately, and let them cool sitting on racks for 5 minutes, then lift off pans. If it gets stuck, run a knife along the edges of the cake, then invert. Let them cool on the racks at room temperature.

Dark Brown Sugar Crumble Filling:

Turn the oven temperature down to 300 F (150 C). Take a large baking sheet (no specific size necessary) and line it with parchment paper.

In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, add in 1 cup of cake flour or AP flour (either works), 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar, 3/4 tsp baking powder, and 1/8 tsp table salt. Fit your mixer with the paddle attachment, and mix these dry ingredients on low until they are well combined.

While continuing to mix on low, add in 1/3 cup of vegetable oil and 1 tbsp of vanilla extract. Continue to mix on low until you see clusters forming. There should be slightly larger clusters and some smaller crumbs. But the clusters shouldn't be any bigger than 1/4" in diameter. Use your palms to form actual spheres, pressing the flour and sugar together to make small compact balls. These will harden as they bake to make crunchy clusters.

Transfer these clusters onto your prepared baking sheet and spread them evenly. Bake them into the preheated oven at 300 F (150 C) for 25 to 30 min, or until the clusters are lightly golden brown, stirring once or twice during that time to make sure the clusters bake evenly. They should still be moist to the touch, and will become crunchy as they cool.

Let them cool completely to room temperature. These can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week, or in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month. These dark brown sugar clusters are an imitation of the palm sugar or gula melaka clusters in Malaysian Onde-Onde balls.

Toasted Coconut Sides:

Turn up the oven heat to 350 degrees F. Spread 2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut onto a large baking sheet.

Bake the unsweetened shredded coconut for about 6 to 8 minutes, taking it out of the oven and stirring every 2 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Make sure to check it often, as these will burn easily if they are left in the oven for too long.

Set these aside to cool completely to room temperature.

Buko Pandan Frosting:

In the bowl of the stand-mixer, add in 8 oz of room temperature cream cheese, 2/3 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tbsp of
pandan extract. Then using a paddle attachment, beat them together till the cream cheese has softened and the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the bowl for any unmixed cream cheese.

Then while beating on medium speed, slowly add in 3 cups of very cold heavy cream and 1/2 cup of the cold coconut cream (separated earlier), and continue to beat for about 2 minutes, until the cream cheese, heavy cream, and coconut cream are combined and uniform. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle attachment and the bowl. Mix for another 1 minute.

Switch to a whisk attachment, and continue beating on medium-high speed until the mixture forms very stiff peaks. Leave this frosting in the fridge till you're ready to use it.

Assembling the Cake:

When the chiffon cake rounds have cooled to room temperature, prep the cake layers by cutting each cake horizontally, to make 4 layers of cake. Place the first of the cake layers (bottom half of one the cakes), cut side up in the middle of your cake board that's on a revolving stand. Spread about 1 cup of the frosting on top so it is as even as possible.

Sprinkle about 1/3 of the crumble-clusters filling on top of the frosting, so that they form an even layer, and then press them down lightly into the frosting using the back of your spoon.

Place the second layer of cake on top, cut side down, and gently tap it down with the back of your hand to make sure the layers are snug. Spread another 1 cup of the frosting on top, forming a flat and even layer. And again, sprinkle another 1/3 of the crumble filling on top, pressing them down into the frosting.

Do the same thing with the third layer - cut side up, spreading another 1 cup of frosting on top, then the last 1/3 of the crumble filling, pressing it gently into the frosting.

Finally, top the cake with the last layer (cut side down, so the top of the cake is as flat as possible). Save 1 cup of the frosting and put it in the fridge - this will be used for decorations on top of the cake. Use the remaining frosting to cover the sides and the top of the cake with a generous layer of frosting. Then use a bench scraper to smoothen out the surfaces as much as possible.

For decoration at the top of the cake, transfer the 1 cup of frosting that was saved into a piping bag with a large round tip - we use a #2A tip. Pipe big large blobs around the top perimeter of the cake. Just squeeze to release a blob of frosting, easing off the pressure and lifting, to create a pointy tip. Repeat this around the circumference of the cake's top surface.

Finally, take the toasted shredded coconut and press them into the frosting on the sides of the cake, covering the sides all the way around the cake. Not only will this give the cake more of that delicious buko flavor, but it also creates additional texture and an interesting gradation in the cake's color tone.

Let the cake rest in the fridge overnight to let the layers set completely. We recommend eating it cold, storing the cake in the fridge until ready to serve, just like the traditional buko pandan dessert. Enjoy!

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