Pandan Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all having a great week so far. I was feeling adventurous, tropical and maybe even a little exotic during the week and decided to make pandan cupcakes. Those that follow me on Twitter and Instagram would have seen these and for those that are interested on how I made them, below is the recipe if you would like to give it a try.

Pandan or pandan leaves is basically a green plant most commonly found in South East Asia. It is used most often as a flavouring on desserts, much like you would use vanilla extract to enhance the flavour on certain desserts. But having said that, it tastes nothing like vanilla. It’s quite unique and rather hard to describe the taste. I would say it’s very fragrant (it smells really nice) and almost coconut-ty in taste.

Anyone who has tried pandan, how would you describe the taste?

Normally pandan cakes/chiffon cakes are soft and light and can sometimes be a little dry but since these are made to be cupcakes, I made mine moist as I don’t like dry cakes (no one likes dry cakes ;) )

Now of course the key ingredient is pandan essence or pandan flavouring. You can also use buko pandan flavour which is what I used in this recipe. It’s a small 20ml bottle and I bought mine from a Filipino grocery. They should also be available in other asian grocers. You may just have to ask around for it.

This recipe was originally an experimental batch therefore will only make 9 cupcakes. Also, you will notice that the cupcakes have a nice shiny golden crust on top and on the sides – this was not intentional, but I’m glad they turned out the way they did because the crusts were nice and sweet and the teaming with vanilla buttercream was unexpectedly delicious.

Pandan Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting – makes about 9 cupcakes

125g butter (slightly softened but cool)
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cups plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
3 Tbsp milk
2 tsp pandan flavouring

75g butter (softened)
1 1/4 cups of icing sugar
1/2 vanilla pod/bean
1 tsp milk

1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. Place butter and sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Set mixer speed to high and mix for about 3-4 minutes or until pale. Because the butter is slightly cool, mixture should be a little grainy.

2. Add eggs one at a time and continue mixing for about a minute then add pandan flavouring. Continue mixing for another minute or until pandan flavouring has been well incorporated. Mixture should look a little lumpy.

3. Slow down mixer to medium speed and add the flour about one spoonful at a time while incorporating a spoonful of milk in between each additions. Speed up mixer and mix for another 2 minutes or until all is well combined. The mixture will be thin but shouldn’t be too runny.

4. Pre-heat oven to 180Β°C and place cupcake cases into a cupcake/muffin tray. Spoon mixture into the cases about 2/3 full. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 mins. Cupcakes will be done once a golden crust forms on top. Cool completely on a wire rack.

5. To make the frosting, place butter and half of the icing sugar in a bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed for about 3-4 minutes. Mixture should look pale, almost white. Slowly add the rest of the icing sugar a little at a time and milk and continue to mix for another 4 minutes. Meanwhile, scrape the vanilla pod/bean and add to buttercream mixture and continue to mix for another minute. Buttercream should be very light and fluffy.

6. Pipe or spread frosting onto each cupcake.

Bottle of Buko Pandan flavouring. Buko or Buco is young coconut. This is what I used, so besides the pandan flavour, my cupcakes also had a little bit of a coconut flavour to it.


  1. These loook AMAZING! I love making cupcakes so much- but I so agree with you, about cakes being dry (cupcakes and also sponge cakes I often am dissappointed with because they always look so pretty but taste terriblee). I am definately going to make these thx <3

  2. That is what I wanted to make for my cell’s leader birthday, she loves pandan cupcakes, I was wondering what frosting should I make. Thanks!πŸ˜‰

  3. what can i substitute for vanilla pod, its not usually avail in the market? if i use vanilla flavor, how much should i put? thanks :)

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