This pandan cheesecake recipe makes the creamiest, most fragrant baked cheesecake with natural pandan flavor. Paired with a coconut based cookie crust, whipped cream and thick homemade gula Melaka syrup topping, this easy cheesecake is truly decadent and makes a lovely variation to a classic cheesecake!
Making this pandan cheesecake is pretty easy. It is naturally flavored with fresh pandan leaves. For maximum pandan flavor, the leaves are cut into small pieces and infused in cream before being processed finely and the juice squeezed out.
The crust for this pandan cheesecake is coconut flavored. Fresh desiccated coconut is added into the cookie crust, giving this pandan cheesecake the lovely tropical aroma of the pandan and coconut. And to top all these, a simple drizzle of gula Melaka syrup completes the pandan cheesecake.
❤️Why you will love this recipe
- The unique and fragrant pandan and decadent gula Melaka flavors add a local-inspired twist to the traditional cheesecake, making it a delightful treat for those who enjoy trying new flavors.
- The smooth and creamy texture of the cheesecake and the combination of gula Melaka and pandan flavor creates a rich taste that makes this cake a true delight for cheesecake lovers. It melts in your mouth, providing a velvety and satisfying experience with each forkful.
- The combination of aromatic pandan flavor, sweet gula Melaka, and creamy cheesecake in this sweet treat is perfect for satisfying any sweet tooth cravings. The cheesecake is easy to make and requires fairly simple ingredients other than the pandan leaves which can be purchased from Asian markets.
- Pandan, with its distinct aroma and vibrant green color, adds visual appeal to the cheesecake, making it perfect choice for special occasions or gatherings.
- Digestive cookies (or Graham Crackers) - makes a lovely crunchy base for the cheesecake.
- Granulated sugar (caster sugar)
- Butter (melted) - I use salted butter. Unsalted butter will also work fine.
- Grated coconut - use fresh grated coconut. It adds a lovely tropical twist to the cheesecake.
- Cream cheese (softened) - use full fat cream cheese that is sold in blocks instead of the spreadable version.
- Granulated sugar (caster sugar) - fine sugar works best as it dissolves more readily compared to coarse sugar.
- All purpose flour + salt - mix and sift these together before adding into the cheese mixture.
- Heavy cream - use full fat cream with at least 35% fat for a lovely creamy cheesecake.
- Pandan leaves - can be fresh or frozen leaves. Wash them clean and pat dry before using.
- Eggs - use large eggs (large sized eggs).
- Gula Melaka syrup - made using water and palm sugar.
*Refer to the recipe card below for full list of ingredients and exact quantities. For best results, use a digital kitchen scale where applicable*
🧾Substitution and variations
- Digestive cookies or Graham Crackers can be replaced with other buttery cookies or even chocolate cookies like Oreos.
- Pandan leaves can be substituted with pandan extract or pandan essence (commercially sold). Use 1 teaspoon of extract in place of the pandan leaves. The extract can be added to the cheesecake batter after adding the eggs. There is also no need to heat up the cream. Using pandan extract will your cheesecake a brighter green color.
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you do try, please let me know in the comments section below!
👩🏻🍳How to make
Preparing the cheesecake crust
- Dry roast the grated coconut in a pan over low heat until it becomes fragrant, light and slightly browned. Stir constantly to avoid the bottom from burning. Set aside to cool down.
- Melt butter over low heat and set it aside to cool down. Crush the cookies until fine. You can do this is a food processor or by placing them in a ziplock bag and crushing them with a rolling pin.
- Transfer the crushed cookies into a bowl. Add the sugar and the coconut and mix well.
- Pour the melted butter and mix thoroughly until all the dry ingredients are well moistened.
- Line a 7 inches round springform pan with a parchment circle. Pour the cookie crust into the pan and press it down into the bottom of the pan firmly.
- You can use the back of a spoon to do this or the back of a drinking glass. Set the crust aside while preparing the cheesecake filling.
Making the pandan infused cream
- Measure the cream into a small pot.
- Wash and pat the pandan leaves dry. Cut them into small 1-cm lengths and add to the cream.
- Turn on the heat to low and let the cream heat up until you see bubbles forming around the sides. Turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Let the leaves remain in the cream as it cools down slightly.
- Pour the warm cream along with the pandan leaves into a blender and blend the leaves until fine.
- Strain the pandan infused cream with a fine mesh sieve or a cheesecloth.
- Measure the pandan cream again and top up with more whipping cream if the quantity is lesser than what was measured before blending the pandan leaves in. Refrigerate the cream until ready to use.
Mixing the batter
- Measure the cream cheese into a medium sized bowl. Beat until it becomes smooth and creamy. If the cheese is at room temperature, this process should not take long. However, if it is still cold, you will need to beat it for a longer period of time. Constantly scrape the sides of your mixing bowl.
- Next, add the sugar, flour and salt and beat again until the ingredients are well incorporated and mixture is smooth.
- Add in both the eggs and continue beating, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl constantly.
- Finally, add the pandan infused cream and mix it into the batter until well incorporated. Scrape the bowl to ensure no parts of the cheese mixture is left unmixed.
- Pour the pandan cheesecake batter into the prepared crust and bake in a water bath in 160 degrees Celsius pre heated oven for 60 minutes.
- Check the pandan cheesecake at 50 minutes baking time. If the sides are already firm but the center is still wobbly, the cake is done. If not, continue baking until the 60 minutes is up and until the sides are firm (but the center should be wobbly or you risk having overbaked your pandan cheesecake). Once baked, turn of the oven and let the cheesecake remain in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, and let it rest in the tin for about 15 minutes before removing it from the tin. Run a spatula around the sides of the cake before releasing it from the springform pan. Refrigerate the pandan cheesecake for at least 4 hours before serving.
- To serve, cut out slices onto serving plates and drizzle the gula Melaka syrup on top.
🍽️Serving & storage
- This baked pandan cheesecake should be kept chilled in the refrigerator. It can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
The following factors will ensure your pandan cheesecake turns out perfect every single time:
- Lower your oven temperature by at least 10 degrees when baking cheesecakes as compared to regular cakes. This will avoid your cakes from overbrowning at the top. The low temperature will also help in avoiding cracked cheesecakes.
- Do not overmix your cheesecake batter. Keep to the suggested time in the recipe. Overbeating or overmixing the batter will cause it to incorporate too many air bubbles. These bubbles have tendency to rise up to the surface of the cheesecake during baking and can leave unsightly bubbly tops for your cheesecakes. It also helps greatly to have the cream cheese at room temperature so that you need not cream it for a long time.
- Adding and processing cold cream in a blender with the pandan leaves will cause it to stiffen like whipped cream. Make sure to heat it up first and process it while it is still warm to avoid it from getting whipped in the blender.
- When baking, position your pandan cheesecake in the lowest rack in the oven. This is another factor that can help avoid your cheesecakes from overbrowning at the top. It also helps in avoid cracked cheesecakes.
- Avoid overbaking the cheesecake. Overbaked cheesecakes tend to have a texture that is leathery and eggy. Overbaking can also cause cracks in cheesecakes. Follow the time indicated in the recipe and bake the cake only to the point that the sides or edges have set but the center is still wobbly when you shake the pan. The cake will continue to bake even after you have turned off the oven, so you will need to turn off the oven before the cake is fully set. Allow the cake to cool gradually by letting it rest in the oven for a few minutes after baking. This will help avoid cracks in the cheesecake due to sudden temperature changes.
Water bath (or bain marie) is a term used to describe the process of baking with a bowl of water in the oven. The heat from the oven cause the water to evaporate into steam and this steam helps to keep the interior of the oven moist.
Such moist interiors, in turn, help to avoid cheesecakes from cracking.
There are 2 ways to do the water bath for your pandan cheesecake:
The first method:
The first method requires aluminum foil and an oven safe dish larger than the cheesecake tin.
Wrap the sides of your springform pan with foil.
The foil should be as high as the sides of the tin. Place the wrapped tin in a large dish filled with water.
Make sure the water is only halfway up the springform pan after placing it into the dish, to avoid the water from getting into the foil wrap and seep into the cheesecake through the bottom of the cheesecake pan.
The second method:
The second method requires 2 oven safe dishes larger than the cheesecake tin, but one of them should be slightly larger than the other.
You fill up the largest dish with water (about one third full).
And place the second tin into it.
You then place the cheesecake tin into the second dish (which is dry) and bake the cake as indicated in the recipe.
Whipping cream in cold temperature will stiffen when beaten. When added cold into the blender to process the pandan leaves, it will stiffen as the blender works and that will make it difficult to squeeze out the pandan juice.
Heating it up will ensure it does not stiffen when being processed in the blender. Squeezing the juice will also be a lot easier.
Often the amount of cream you get after the blending and straining is lesser than the originally weighed amount. The cream tends to loose some volume as it is heated up and as it is mixed with the pandan leaves and strained.
To ensure you still use the same amount of cream as specified in the recipe, measure it again after straining. Top it up with more fresh cream until it reaches the required amount in the recipe.
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Pandan Cheesecake (Perfectly Baked & The Creamiest Ever!)
For best results, use the metrics measurements. US customary measurements have not been tested and are only meant for guide.
- 100 g Digestive Cookies or Graham Crackers
- 15 g granulated sugar
- 30 g butter melted
- 50 g grated coconut unsweetened
- 450 g cream cheese
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 20 g flour
- 100 g whipping cream
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 5 pandan leaves (approximately 30cm length each)
- Preheat oven to 160°Celsius.
Making the crust
- Line a 7 inches round springform tin with a parchment circle.
- Dry roast the desiccated coconut over low heat until light and slightly golden brown in color. Stir constantly to avoid it from burning at the bottom. Turn of the heat and set it aside to cool.
- Crush the digestive cookies to a fine crumb. Add sugar and the coconut. Mix well. Pour in the melted butter and mix until the crumbs are well moistened.
- Pour the crumbs into the lined springform pan. Press it down firmly with the back of a small spoon or the back of a drinking glass. Set aside.
Preparing the pandan infused cream
- Measure the cream into a small pot.
- Wash and pat the pandan leaves. Cut them into small 1cm sizes and add them into the cream.
- Heat the cream over low heat until the sides start to bubble.
- Remove from heat and cover the pot. Let the cream cool down slightly.
- Pour the cream along with the pandan leaves into the food processor and process the leaves until fine.
- Strain the cream with a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Discard the pulp.
- Measure the cream and top up with extra whipping cream if the volume is lesser than required in the recipe. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Making the cheesecake filling
- To make the filling, add cream cheese to a medium-sized bowl and beat until creamy for 30 to 60 seconds. Beat longer if the cheese is cold and appears lumpy. Scrape the sides of the bowl half way through the creaming process.
- Mix the flour and sugar in a small bowl and add into the creamed cheese. Beat until the flour is well incorporated.
- Add the eggs and beat again, scraping the bowl after every 20 seconds.
- Next, add the pandan infused cream into the cream cheese mixture. Beat until well combined.
Baking the pandan cheesecake
- Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
- Bake the pandan cheesecake in the lowest rack in the oven (without the fan function) in a water bath for 20 minutes.
- Once baked, let the pandan cheesecake rest in the oven for about 10 minutes before removing onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Let the cheesecake remain in the tin for another 15 minutes. To release the cake from the tin, run a spatula around its sides and then release the tin. Chill the cheesecake for at least 4 hours before serving.
- To serve, cut the cake into slices and drizzle the gula melaka syrup on top. Serve immediately. Keep leftovers refrigerated. The gula melaka syrup is best drizzled right before serving.
The water bath (Bain Marie)
- Water bath (or bain marie) is a term used to describe the process of baking with a bowl of water in the oven. The heat from the oven cause the water to evaporate into steam and this steam helps to keep the interior of the oven moist.
- Such moist interiors, in turn, help to avoid cheesecakes from cracking.
- There are 2 ways to do the water bath for your pandan cheesecake:
- The first method requires aluminum foil and an oven safe dish larger than the cheesecake tin.
- Wrap the sides of your springform pan with foil.
- The foil should be as high as the sides of the tin. Place the wrapped tin in a large dish filled with water.
- Make sure the water is only halfway up the springform pan after placing it into the dish, to avoid the water from getting into the foil wrap and seep into the cheesecake through the bottom of the cheesecake pan.
- The second method requires 2 oven safe dishes larger than the cheesecake tin, but one of them should be slightly larger than the other.
- You fill up the largest dish with water (about one third full).
- And place the second tin into it.
- You then place the cheesecake tin into the second dish (which is dry) and bake the cake as indicated in the recipe.