I had a craving for a pandan dessert so I decided to make Vietnamese Honeycomb Cake. My two aunts have both mastered this cake and I think they secretly have honeycomb cake competitions.
This cake is very good but different. It is not as sweet as many western desserts and the texture is a bit chewy. The coconut and the pandan is just heaven. I think the two flavors were made for each other. The cake is also gluten-free. I have a coworker who is on a gluten-free diet. I gave her a piece because she is always searching for baked goods made without gluten. (Unfortunately, I made the cake during Passover and it is leavened. She decided to make a one time exception.)
I prefer eating the cake when fresh out of the oven, when the browned parts are still crispy, but it is still pretty good the next day. Nuke it in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
Vietnamese Pandan Honeycomb Cake
Ingredients: 7 ounces coconut cream (I used Savoy brand. I tend to use Savoy for desserts and Chaokoh or Mae Ploy for curries) 1 cup granulated sugar pinch of salt pandan extract (The amount varies depending on the brand you use and the viscosity and potency of the extract.) 8 ounces tapioca starch 5 large eggs 1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons or 11 grams) single-acting baking powder (I used Alsa brand and it comes prepackaged)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Mix coconut cream, sugar and salt in a microwave safe container. (I really like my glass measuring cups for this.) Microwave about 30 seconds to a minute. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add the pandan extract and mix well. 3. With a wooden spoon, slowly and gently stir together tapioca, eggs and baking powder. (I read that over mixing interferes with the development of the desired honeycomb tunneling.) 4. Put a 9x9 square baking pan in the oven. 5. Add the coconut-sugar mixture to the egg-tapioca mixture and gently fold everything togther. 6. Take the baking pan out of the oven and spray with cooking spray. Spread the mixture in the pan and bake in oven about 30 minutes. (Do not open the oven door.)
Ingredient Note: The recipe calls for single-acting baking powder. Most baking powders sold in the grocery stores are double-acting. What's the difference? Single-acting works once. It starts producing carbon dioxide when it gets wet. Double-acting works twice. It starts producing carbon dioxide once when it gets wet and second when it is heated. You want single-acting for this recipe. Alsa is a French brand (now made by the Unilever Group) and is sometimes called "levure alsacienne." I haven't tried it with double-acting because I'm too afraid to waste ingredients so I do not know if you can sub double-acting for the single-acting. My aunt uses Alsa brand single-acting baking powder so I'm sticking with it. I think there are recipes out there for making your own sinlge-acting baking powder. It is basically baking soda and cream of tartar (sometimes cornstarch is used to help keep the powder dry). I don't think it is worth it to make your own since cream of tartar on its own is pretty pricey. I use it to stabilize my egg whites.