Malaysian Steamed Pandan Coconut Cake (Kuih Puteri Ayu) - Delishably - Food and Drink
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Malaysian Steamed Pandan Coconut Cake (Kuih Puteri Ayu)

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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).

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.

Ingredients

For the pandan juice:

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

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!

Silicone Cupcake Molds

© 2019 Liza

Comments

Liza (author) from USA on March 25, 2020:

Great! I really hope you can find it at the store or perhaps online. I look forward to seeing or hearing from you the result :)

Mitara N from South Africa on March 25, 2020:

Thats is a brilliant idea, I will be sure to check if the stores at least have the flavour or essence. I shall let you know as soon as I come right.

I so want to try this recipe.

Thanks Liza

Liza (author) from USA on March 25, 2020:

Hi Mitara, thank you for your engaging comment. However, I'm sorry to hear that you cannot find pandan leaves at your local stores. It is crucial to use authentic ingredients such as pandan leaves as it is the main element for the flavor and the color. Can you find pandan essence or flavoring instead?

Mitara N from South Africa on March 25, 2020:

I honestly need to try this recipe, it looks delicious and similar to idly, and that's my favourite.

Is there a substitute to pandan leaves, I am not sure if I will be able to get it at local stores

Liza (author) from USA on September 09, 2019:

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 :)

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 07, 2019:

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.

Liza (author) from USA on September 05, 2019:

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!

Liza (author) from USA on September 05, 2019:

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!

Liz Westwood from UK on September 05, 2019:

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

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on September 05, 2019:

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.