Ah, the humble pandan chiffon cake. The one nobody really spares a second thought for, since it’s so readily available at almost any heartland or franchise bakery across the island. Fluffy and spongey, the aromatic cake can be eaten as an afternoon tea snack or saved for a post-dinner dessert – whatever the case, most Singaporeans would’ve munched on it at least once in their lives.
But in a sea of crazy new trends and experimental creations, the pandan chiffon has been pushed to the back of everyone’s minds in our food-obsessed nation… until CNN shone a spotlight on it, proclaiming it as Singapore’s (and Malaysia’s) best national cake.
In our efforts to find out why it deserves such acclaim, we went looking for places that offer solid, delectable renditions of the underrated classic. So! Here’s a list of bakeries where you can get your pandan fix — we threw in a few pandan butter cakes as well for those who prefer a dash of variety (and fat).
Pretty much everyone associates pandan cakes with Bengawan Solo, and for good reason. The ubiquitous bakery’s best-selling item is so easy to find – and even easier to consume in just a few bites. Confession time: we find it hard to resist a fluffy slice whenever we walk past a Bengawan Solo outlet (our hips don’t lie).
Over 40 outlets, including #B4-38 ION Orchard. $1.50/slice, $15/whole cake.
Fragrant and buttery, this popular favorite at Joe & Dough is simple but done oh-so-well with a sprinkle of desiccated coconut and a generous dose of gula melaka.
Nine outlets, including #01-10 orchardgateway. $5.80/slice, $52/whole cake.
This brand may be known for its chocolate fudge cake, tiramisu and chocolate chip cookies, but don’t underestimate its pandan butter cake. Chew through the exterior crunch to find a soft butter cake brimming with pandan and coconut flavors – the drizzle of gula melaka also adds a tinge of sweetness to keep the cake nice and moist.
44 Amoy St. $4/slice, $50/whole cake.
With outlets scattered across the island, you can easily get a slice of pandan chiffon cake from PrimaDeli anytime you want. Light and airy, each spongy bite offers up a not-too-overpowering balance of pandan with coconut undertones.
Over 40 outlets, including #B1-K09 City Square Mall. $6.90/standard cake, $12.90/large.
Obviously, since the store is called Pure Pandan, you know you gotta try its namesake cake. The affordable baked good uses real pandan juice (no artificial essences or coloring) and cuts back on the sugar and oil — if you’re looking for pandan alternatives, the shop also whips up a soya pandan cake made with pandan juice and soya milk.
Two outlets, including #B2-05 Chinatown Point. $1.70/slice, $15/cake.
For those working in the Tanjong Pagar area, you might’ve come across this tiny little shop at the MRT station selling a selection of mini round cakes that are (supposedly) healthier than usual and made with no artificial coloring or added preservatives. (Sure, we’ll take a slice of guilt-free happiness.) Light on the aroma, the pandan cake throws flecks of dessicated coconut in its batter to add slight texture in each bite. For more not-too-sweet chiffon options, try other cakes like blueberry cheese, cranberry soy and strawberry yogurt.
#B1-04 Tanjong Pagar Xchange. $1.60/cake.