Pandan Tres Leches Cake + 13 Ways with Pandan

pandan tres leches cake

13 Ways with… Pandan

I have Steph and Karen to thank for introducing me to Pandan. A somewhat uncommon ingredient to us everyday Aussies, but these green leaves are used extensively in South East Asian cuisine. Lending a delicate, almost floral taste that is perfect in baked goods, drinks and even ice cream, in a similar way to how we would use vanilla. I wanted to shine the spotlight on this great ingredient with 13 interesting and unique ways to it!

Drink it…

13 Ways with Pandan
Picture Credits: Cooking Tackle & Singapore Shiok

1. It was a little surprising not to find more drinks made using pandan, but this Ginger Honey Pandan Drink from Cooking Tackle combines some of my very favourite ingredients in one drink. It looks so soothing, like something that would make you feel a lot better when you are sick.

2. How refreshing does this Lime Drink with Pandan look? The recipe comes from from Singapore Shiok, and I can imagine it would really hit the spot on a hot day, especially in the humid Malaysian climate! I am hoping that I can track down some fresh pandan leaves soon so I can try this.

Freeze it…

13 Ways with Pandan
Picture Credits: The Food Dept & Dessert First

3. It is great to see Pandan being featured on incredible and popular blogs like The Food Dept. which is one of my new favourites, as the recipe ideas and photography are both amazing. Their Pandan ice cream with toffee pecans looks so good! I have made pandan ice cream before but the toffee pecans would take it to a whole other level of yum.

4. I remember seeing this post on Dessert First a few years ago (when I was still a Daring Baker!) before I had tried pandan for myself. These Pandan Cheesecake Pops are so cute and I can imagine how good they would taste. This post is really interesting for a side by side comparison of using pandan leaves vs pandan extract, and aside from the green colour which comes from the extract, the taste was remarkably similar!

Bake it…

13 Ways with Pandan
Picture Credits: Spicyicecream & Alanabread

5. This Caramelised Pandan Cake with Coconut Sorbet from my archives was my first foray into baking with pandan, inspired by the dessert at Ms G’s in Sydney. I gave it a calorific French-toast-like twist by soaking the chiffon cake in a sweet egg mixture and cooking it in caramel, with a big scoop of coconut sorbet to serve. This is actually one of my favourite desserts that I’ve made on this blog!

6. Another delicious looking recipe is this Jasmine Pandan Macarons from Alanabread. I can only imagine how nicely the pandan flavour goes with the floral jasmine! And as always I love the neon-green colour of the filling.

13 Ways with Pandan
Picture Credits: Raspberri Cupcakes

7. As I mentioned, my friend Steph introduced me to Pandan, and her blog Raspberri Cupcakes is an amazing source for recipes using the ingredient. I love how she combined an Aussie dessert with the Asian ingredient to create these Pandan Lamingtons. And we all know how well pandan goes with coconut!

8. Okay, one recipe wasn’t enough, so here is a beautiful Pandan Cotton Soft Cheesecake with Kaya also from Raspberri Cupcakes. Kaya is a coconut jam cooked with eggs and pandan leaves until caramelised, so you can imagine how delicious it would be slathered generously inside this cheesecake! I’m still looking for a way to use the kaya I brought back from Malaysia and I think this might be it!

13 Ways with Pandan
Picture Credits: Masam Manis & Pickyin

9. I have never tried combining pandan and chocolate together, but the green and chocolate swirls in this Pandan Marble Cake from Masam Manis look so beautiful! This would be a delicious cake for a birthday party.

10. Another beautiful dessert is this Pandan Gula Melaka Cake from Pickyin. I absolutely love the icing roses and detailed tutorial for making layer cakes, but I am most intrigued by the flavour combination. I think the Palm Sugar frosting would be a perfect match for a cake flavoured with pandan!

13 Ways with Pandan
Picture Credits: Ribbon and Circus & We Dare Food

11. It was actually through a waffle that I first experienced pandan, at a little shop in Cabramatta with the girls, and now I always get one whenever I go back! More recently I saw them on the menu at my favourite local Thai place Green Peppercorn. So then I had to include these Pandan Waffles from Ribbon and Circus in this roundup, as I can only imagine how good homemade would be.

12. And after the waffles, try these Pandan Pancakes from We Dare Food! Give your breakfast a green twist by adding pandan to your pancakes and serve them with a delicious coconut syrup. Or some kaya. Yum!

pandan tres leches cake

13. Yes, this cake is very very green. And also delicious. While looking for an interesting turn on the classic South American Tres Leches (three milks) cake, I wondered if an Asian twist would work. When pandan leaves are unavailable, a good quality extract or paste is my weapon of choice, which also gave this cake the most incredible colour. For the three milk soak, I used a combination of milk, sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk. And the Pandan Tres Leches Cake was born.

I’m so happy with how it turned out, the cake is incredibly moist without turning soggy, and actually tastes even better a day or two after making it. The coconut milk was definitely a good move here, as it goes so nicely with pandan. I topped the cake simply with some barely sweetened whipped cream and fresh raspberries for a colour and tart flavour contrast. But I think a palm sugar caramel drizzled over the top would be quite amazing as well!

I hope this roundup inspires you to experiment with some less common ingredients soon, and if you have any other great pandan recipes please share them with me in the comments below!

pandan tres leches cake
Pandan Tres Leches Cake
Adapted from Donna Hay
Serves 6-8

  • 180g butter, softened
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pandan extract
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 375ml milk
  • 250ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 165ml coconut milk
  • 1 cup pouring cream
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • Fresh raspberries or strawberries, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the butter and sugar in an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and panda and beat to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Gradually add the flour and beat until just combined. Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Using a skewer, make holes all over the top of the cake and place in the refrigerator to cool completely. While the cake is cooling, place the milk, condensed milk, coconut milk and remaining vanilla in a jug and mix to combine. Pour the milk mixture over the cake and return to the fridge for a further 2 hours or until mixture is absorbed. If using a cake tin with a removable bottom, place a tray underneath in case it leaks.
Place the cream in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form, gradually adding the 2 tablespoons of caster sugar. Using an offset spatula, top the cake with cream and fresh raspberries, to serve. Keep the leftover cake refrigerated, I think it tastes even better a day or two later.

One Comment on “Pandan Tres Leches Cake + 13 Ways with Pandan”

  1. hi lisa! i can’t wait to try out the tres leches pandas recipe! what size tin do you use to bake the cake?

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