How to Make Malaysian Steamed Pandan Coconut Cake (Kuih Puteri Ayu)

Updated on September 12, 2019
lizmalay profile image

I grew up in Malaysia, where I enjoyed cooking and eating local dishes every day.

I don't have the correct molds to get the traditional shape for this cake, so I used muffin molds, instead. The flavor, however, is the same.
I don't have the correct molds to get the traditional shape for this cake, so I used muffin molds, instead. The flavor, however, is the same.

Traditional Malay Night Market Desserts

I grew up in Malaysia, but I moved to the United States with my husband three years ago. Not long after I arrived, I started to miss the food from back home. Among the things I miss the most are the traditional Malay desserts. Back home, I loved going to the pasar malam, or night market, to enjoy the delicious and flavorful cakes. There were so many to choose from—and sometimes I got very excited and ended up eating a few too many.

Yesterday, I decided to make one of my favorite desserts: steamed pandan coconut cake, or kuih puteri ayu. These spongey cakes are a delightful combination of salty and sweet—salty from the coconut mixture on top and sweet from the pandan leaves on the bottom. The process of preparing these cakes is also a wonderful treat, as the fragrance from the pandan leaves makes my kitchen smell lovely.

Local desserts and cakes on display at a Malaysian pasar malam (night market).
Local desserts and cakes on display at a Malaysian pasar malam (night market). | Source

Pandan Leaves in Malay Cooking

Malay cooking has been an important part of my life since I was young. I grew up in a small town with a traditional Malay family. I learned to cook by helping my mother in the kitchen, and it was with her that I started to recognize some of the main ingredients of our cuisine.

One of those essential ingredients is daun pandan, or pandan leaves, which are often used for coloring and flavoring. Many Malay desserts call for pandan leaves, and one such dessert is the steamed pandan coconut cake.

How to Get the Best Flavor for Kuih Puteri Ayu

To make this cake, in addition to pandan leaves, you will need freshly grated coconut and coconut milk. I highly recommended using authentic ingredients because that's how you will get the best flavor.

Some people may prefer to use artificial coloring and flavoring for this cake, and you are welcome to do whatever is easiest for you. However, you will get a better flavor if you use the real ingredients, and you should be able to find everything you need at your nearest Asian market.

These cakes are delicious with coffee or tea.

Traditional steamed pandan coconut cakes look like this.
Traditional steamed pandan coconut cakes look like this. | Source

Ingredients

For the pandan juice:

  • 8 to 10 pandan leaves, cut into thin strips
  • Water

For the cakes:

  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh coconut milk

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Make the pandan juice: Take the pandan leaf strips and place them in a blender. Pour in some water (enough to rise up about two-thirds of the way) and blend until fine. Use a strainer and press out the juice into a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and salt. Use a hand mixer to beat the ingredients until they are well combined.
  3. Add the flour and baking powder to the mixture. Use a spatula to mix.
  4. Add the coconut milk and stir to combine.
  5. Add 5 to 6 tablespoons of the fresh pandan juice and stir to combine. The batter should be smooth and thin. Set aside.
  6. In a bowl, mix the freshly grated coconut with a teaspoon of salt. Steam the mixture for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  7. Lightly brush the cake molds with some oil. Fill the bottom of each mold with shredded coconut mixture. I like to use silicone cake molds because they're so easy to work with.
  8. Fill each cake mold with batter by using an ice-cream scoop or a spoon.
  9. Steam the cakes in a steamer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. Let the cakes cool before removing them from the molds.
  11. Serve cakes while warm with a cup of coffee or tea. Enjoy!

Photo Tutorial

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Take the pandan leaves and place them into a blender. Pour in some water and blend until fine. Use a strainer and press out the juice into a medium bowl. Set aside.Fresh squeezed coconut milk. Combine eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add flour into the mixture. Add baking powder into the mixture. Add coconut milk into the mixture. Add pandan juice into the mixture. Use a spatula to combine the ingredients. Brush the baking molds with some oil. Pour the batter into the prepared molds. Place the prepared batter into a food steamer. The cakes will be done after 10 to 15 minutes of steaming. (Cook time may vary depending on your steamer).Yummy steamed pandan coconut cakes!
Take the pandan leaves and place them into a blender. Pour in some water and blend until fine.
Take the pandan leaves and place them into a blender. Pour in some water and blend until fine.
Use a strainer and press out the juice into a medium bowl. Set aside.
Use a strainer and press out the juice into a medium bowl. Set aside.
Fresh squeezed coconut milk.
Fresh squeezed coconut milk.
Combine eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl.
Combine eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl.
Add flour into the mixture.
Add flour into the mixture.
Add baking powder into the mixture.
Add baking powder into the mixture.
Add coconut milk into the mixture.
Add coconut milk into the mixture.
Add pandan juice into the mixture.
Add pandan juice into the mixture.
Use a spatula to combine the ingredients.
Use a spatula to combine the ingredients.
Brush the baking molds with some oil.
Brush the baking molds with some oil.
Pour the batter into the prepared molds.
Pour the batter into the prepared molds.
Place the prepared batter into a food steamer.
Place the prepared batter into a food steamer.
The cakes will be done after 10 to 15 minutes of steaming. (Cook time may vary depending on your steamer).
The cakes will be done after 10 to 15 minutes of steaming. (Cook time may vary depending on your steamer).
Yummy steamed pandan coconut cakes!
Yummy steamed pandan coconut cakes!

Silicone Cupcake Molds

Silicone Cupcake Muffin Baking Cups Liners 36 Pack Reusable Non-Stick Cake Molds Sets
Silicone Cupcake Muffin Baking Cups Liners 36 Pack Reusable Non-Stick Cake Molds Sets

These silicone cupcake molds are amazing! I regularly use them for baking, and they always do a wonderful job. They are perfect for muffins, cupcakes, and many other desserts, too. Cakes and muffins come out easily, and I find that they are very easy to clean and store, as well. I highly recommend them!

 

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Liza

    Comments

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      • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

        Liza 

        6 weeks ago from UT,USA

        Hi Linda, let me know if you managed to find for pandan leaves in your area. I would love to know your thoughts on the majestic green leaves. Thank you for your lovely comment :)

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        6 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

        I'm going to search for pandan leaves in my area. I'd love to know what the juice tastes like. Thanks for sharing another interesting recipe that sounds and looks delicious.

      • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

        Liza 

        6 weeks ago from UT,USA

        Hi Thelma, your most welcome. I'm sorry that you cannot find pandan leaves at your place. However, I hope you can find these majestic green leaves at the Asian store near you. Thanks for reading my hub. Have a nice day!

      • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

        Liza 

        6 weeks ago from UT,USA

        Hi Liz, thanks for your lovely comment. As usual, I had a wonderful time making this colorful dessert :) I bet you can do this too!

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        6 weeks ago from UK

        This is a very colourful recipe. Yours turned out much better than mine ever would.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 

        6 weeks ago from Germany and Philippines

        This looks yummy! I would love to make this but I can´t get pandan juice here where I live. I hope I can find it in an Asian shop nearby. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

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