Monday, June 27, 2005

My 1st Pandan Kaya Cake (near disasterous) Experience

I have been wanting to try my hands in baking Pandan Kaya Layer Cake for a long time but always lack of the self-confidence to go ahead with it. This is probably my family's favourite cake besides the Pandan Chiffon Cake. You see, my family (or some of my family) have very simple (albeit boring) tastes and at the same time, can be very picky; and they usually stick to tried & tested favourites.

When I mentioned lack of self-confidence, that was because the cake does not look like an easy-to-assemble cake. I'd read quite many comments from others regarding their disaster with this cake. In other words, it looked to be too much hassle.

However, I was browsing through one particular cook book entitled Populars Cakes & Desserts, and they have a recipe that looks to be a simplified Pandan Kaya Layered Cake. Also, it only has one layer and that make things much easier, so I thought. Spurred by a burst of confidence, I made up my mind to "just do it" on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

To cut the story short, everything went well until when I started assembling the kaya. The recipe said to dissolve the jelly/green bean powder mixture first before boiling the santan, which I did. But much to my horror, when as the santan was boiling and I was just about to start adding the jelly mixture into the santan mixture, I found that the former had already congealed/solidified! Still, I persisted and threw the jelly mixture in and stirred like mad while increasing the fire, hoping in vain that the congealed jelly mixture would melt again. Alas, it didnt. Instead, what I had was bits and pieces of the congealed green jelly mixture floating in the santan mixture. Eww, gross.

Not to give up easily, I took some sips of ice-cold Diet Coke to help subdue my growing panic and also gather my thoughts together. Determined to succeed, I told myself that it's ok, I can re-make the kaya again. So, I strained the santan mixture to get rid of the floating bits and started from scratch. However, I had to use reduced portion of coconut milk, jelly powder and milk as I had ran out of those in the right quantities.

In the end, I still manage to present a proper Pandan Kaya Cake although quite an ugly looking one. The top was lumpy so I tried concealing that fact by liberally sprinkling some chopped almond pieces and also some colourful edible decoration beads on top. To finish it off, I sprinkle icing sugar on top of it (also to try sweetening it up as the kaya tasted bland). Unfortunately, all of the toppings that I sprinkled melted except the almond. The colourful beads melted resulting in a ghastly looking colourful mess. Luckily, I didn't use too much of those. *LOL*

I was impatient and started cutting the cake after chilling it for just 3 hours. I poked at the cake before cutting and it seemed being firm enough. However, I'd some trouble cutting it so it looked quite messy. This is one of the better shot of the sliced cake.
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The cake tasted slightly odd. The sponge was not as fluffy as I would have like, rather, it was quite dense. The kaya, oh well, what can I say. I should be lucky that it came out looking like a decent kaya pudding. Taste wise, it just wasn't there. Well nevermind, practice makes perfect after all. There will surely be Round No.2!

ps: However, the cake did taste better the next day, after chilling in the fridge overnight. Next time, gotta learn to be more patient!

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