What Does Pandan Cake Taste Like?

In recent years, pandan cake has become a favorite dessert among food enthusiasts, both in its native Southeast Asia and beyond. With its vibrant green hue and captivating aroma, this cake stands out in the culinary world. But what exactly does pandan cake taste like? Let’s dive into its flavorsome journey.

Pandan Cake
Pandan Cake

What is Pandan Cake?


Pandan cake originates from Southeast Asia, where it holds a special place in traditional celebrations and everyday dining.

The cake’s roots can be traced back to countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It was introduced during the colonial era and has since become an iconic treat in these regions.


The main ingredient that gives pandan cake its distinct taste and color is pandan leaves, also known as screwpine leaves.

These leaves are blended with water to extract a fragrant juice, which is then incorporated into the cake batter. Other common ingredients include flour, eggs, sugar, and coconut milk, which add depth and richness to the final product.


To prepare pandan cake, the extracted pandan juice is mixed with the cake batter, creating a vibrant green hue throughout the cake. The batter is then baked, resulting in a light and fluffy texture that is characteristic of pandan cake. The cake is often served plain or with a dusting of powdered sugar on top.

Pandan Cake’s Flavor

Pandan cake offers a unique flavor that is hard to compare to other desserts. It is often described as having a delicate, sweet, and slightly nutty taste with subtle floral notes.

The flavor profile of pandan cake is distinct but not overpowering, making it a popular choice for those seeking a subtly sweet treat.

Aromatic Profile

One of the most remarkable aspects of pandan cake is its alluring aroma. The pandan leaves used in the cake impart a fragrant and enticing scent that fills the room when the cake is being baked.

The aroma is often likened to a combination of vanilla, coconut, and a hint of fresh grass, creating a sensory experience that adds to the enjoyment of the cake.

Texture and Moisture

Pandan cake has a soft and airy texture that melts in your mouth. It is light yet moist, making it a delightful treat for those who prefer cakes with a tender crumb.

The combination of pandan juice and coconut milk in the batter contributes to the cake’s moistness, ensuring a pleasurable and indulgent eating experience.

Sweetness Level

Pandan cake is known for its balanced sweetness. It typically has a moderate level of sweetness that is not overly sugary, allowing the unique flavors of the pandan leaves and other ingredients to shine through.

The cake’s sweetness is often complemented by a subtle hint of coconut, adding a pleasant tropical twist to each bite.


When it comes to comparing pandan cake to other desserts, it stands out for its distinct taste and aroma. While it shares some similarities with other sponge cakes, the infusion of pandan juice sets it apart.

Pandan cake offers a refreshing departure from the more common vanilla or chocolate-flavored cakes, providing a unique and memorable culinary experience.

Serving Suggestions

Pandan cake can be enjoyed in various ways. It is often served as a standalone dessert, accompanied by a cup of tea or coffee. The cake’s delicate flavor pairs well with a wide range of beverages, enhancing the overall enjoyment.

Additionally, some people like to serve pandan cake with a scoop of ice cream or a drizzle of coconut sauce for an extra touch of indulgence.

Popular Variations

While the classic pandan cake recipe remains beloved, there are also several popular variations that have emerged over time.

These variations may include additional ingredients or flavorings to create new and exciting twists on the traditional pandan cake.

Some common variations include pandan-coconut cake, pandan-pineapple upside-down cake, and pandan-gula melaka (palm sugar) cake.

Pandan Cake in Different Cultures

Pandan cake has made its way into various cultures, each adding their own unique touch to the dessert. In Malaysia, it is often enjoyed during festive occasions such as Hari Raya and Chinese New Year.

In the Philippines, it is called “pan de pandan” and is a popular snack or merienda option. Indonesian cuisine showcases “kueh pandan,” which is a steamed version of the cake. The versatility of pandan cake highlights its widespread appeal across different culinary traditions.

Health Benefits

Apart from its delectable taste, pandan cake offers some potential health benefits. Pandan leaves contain antioxidants and essential oils that may have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Additionally, the use of natural ingredients like pandan leaves, coconut milk, and minimal artificial additives can make pandan cake a relatively healthier dessert option compared to heavily processed alternatives.


What gives pandan cake its green color?

The vibrant green color of pandan cake comes from the use of pandan leaves, which are blended to extract their natural green pigment.

Can I use pandan essence instead of pandan leaves?

While pandan essence can be used as a substitute, it may not provide the same authentic flavor and aroma as fresh pandan leaves.

Is pandan cake suitable for vegans?

Traditional pandan cake recipes contain eggs and dairy ingredients, making them unsuitable for vegans. However, vegan-friendly variations using plant-based substitutes are available.

What other desserts can I make with pandan flavor?

Aside from pandan cake, you can explore other desserts like pandan jelly, pandan-infused rice puddings, or pandan-flavored ice cream.

Is pandan cake a healthy dessert option?

While pandan cake can be enjoyed as an occasional treat, it is still a dessert and should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.


In conclusion, pandan cake is a delightful dessert that captivates with its unique taste and aroma. Its delicate sweetness, fragrant pandan flavor, and moist texture make it a beloved treat among many cultures.

Whether enjoyed as a standalone dessert or paired with a beverage or sauce, pandan cake offers a memorable culinary experience that is both comforting and indulgent.

I'm Jennifer Tirrell, a self-taught baker, and founder of CakeRe. As an experienced baker and recipe publisher, I have spent over a decade working in the kitchen and have tried and tested countless baking tools and products. From classic cakes to creative twists, I've got you covered. So grab your apron and let's get baking!

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