Pandan and Coconut Cake

Pandan and Coconut Cake

This tender cake gets its dazzling green color from pandan, a plant grown throughout Southeast Asia, while mascarpone and raspberry jam add tangy sweetness.


  • 12 fresh pandan leaves, very thinly sliced crosswise (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened finely shredded coconut (such as Bob’s Red Mill), divided
  • 2 1/3 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (12 ounces), softened, plus more for greasing
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 13 7/8 ounces)
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages mascarpone cheese (such as BelGioioso), divided
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with butter. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper; line sides with 2 (26- x 2-inch) parchment paper strips.
  2. Process pandan leaves and 1/2 cup water in a food processor until mixture forms a finely chopped pulp, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of processor bowl as needed. Pour pulp through a fine wire-mesh strainer placed over a medium bowl, and press on solids with a rubber spatula to extract 1/3 cup liquid; discard solids and any excess liquid. Set aside.
  3. Heat coconut milk in a medium saucepan over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until steaming. Remove from heat. Stir in 2/3 cup shredded coconut and reserved pandan liquid; let stand at room temperature until flavors infuse and mixture has cooled, about 30 minutes.
  4. Beat sugar and butter in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until light and creamy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. With mixer running on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with coconut milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat until just combined. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans; smooth tops using an offset spatula.
  6. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; let cool completely, parchment side down, on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Remove and discard parchment.
  7. Stir 1 1/4 cups mascarpone in a medium bowl until loosened to a spreadable consistency; swirl in jam. Trim top of 1 cake layer using a serrated knife to create a flat surface; place cake layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread mascarpone mixture evenly over top; cover with remaining cake layer, rounded side up. Stir remaining mascarpone (about 1/2 cup) to loosen; spread evenly over top of cake.
  8. Toast remaining 2 tablespoons shredded coconut in a small skillet over medium, stirring often, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer toasted coconut to a small bowl, and let cool completely, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle toasted coconut evenly over cake.

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