Looking for a pandan cheesecake recipe that is rich, creamy and silky smooth? This pandan cheesecake is that and more. We’ve taken the beloved New York style cheesecake and turned it on its head with this asian-inspired flavor combo.
This asian cheesecake is flavored with pandan extract and paired with a toasted coconut crust. More about this recipe and a few other things below:
It’s cheesecake week at Yummyble! This week we’re featuring our best cheesecake recipes with a twist:
Are you ready to level up your cheesecake game with this recipe? Let’s get started with our pandan cheesecake journey by talking about how popular this flavor combination is.
The Flavor Combination
A traditional easy bake cheesecake recipe is almost always flavored with vanilla and has a graham cracker (or neutral flavored cookie) crust.
Our take on this easy new york cheesecake recipe doesn’t deviate from the original in that it is flavored with the “vanilla of Asia” or pandan leaves. And there is a crunchy base but it’s made entirely out of desiccated coconut. You can substitute the desiccated coconut base for coconut cookies or make it a coconut flour cheesecake crust.
We have two cheesecake recipes that never fail us: this basic cheesecake recipe with cream cheese, yogurt, and double cream and the recipe used for our burnt low FODMAP cheesecake with vegan salted caramel sauce (click here for the recipe!). We used the same ingredients for cheesecake but substituted the yogurt with sour cream to make it easily accessible when the grocery store is out of one or the other.
Both recipes work equally well when changing the flavor combination. This recipe is an example of that. Coconut and pandan is a flavor combination that is beloved to many Southeast Asians and is akin to peanut butter and jelly. Pandan and coconut flavored desserts can be found in various forms like:
- Malaysian Mochi (Buah Melaka)
- Coconut Kaya with Pandan (Vegan)
- Kuih Seri Muka (Pandan Coconut Custard Sticky Rice)
- Pandan Sago Pudding With Coconut Cream
And that’s only a few of them! Heck, there’s even pandan leaves and coconut milk in our national dish Nasi Lemak.
It seems we have massively digressed from the main point here! Where were we again? Oh, right! Cheesecakes. Don’t you hate it when cheesecake’s crack? To stop this from happening, let’s discuss the importance of a water bath and how you can possibly avoid using one without risking any cheesecake craters.
Why A Water Bath Is Important
Any easy baked cheesecake recipe can be complicated by adding the step of using a water bath. A few things could happen:
- The water could leak into the cake tin
- The batter could leak into the water
- Walking with a tray filled with hot water and a cake is a disaster waiting to happen
Now, you may be thinking the solution for points one and two is to line the cake tin with an obscene amount of aluminum. And the solution for point 3 is to simply pour the water into the tray once the cheesecake is already in the oven. But that doesn’t always work out, you could spill water into the batter or your boiler is too large to fit into the oven.
Water baths can be annoying but they are important! They insulate the cake and regulate the oven temperature. Meaning that you won’t run the risk of your cake rising, and then falling. This leads to cracks. The water bath never gets hotter than 200f or 93c when you bake the cheesecake in a water bath. And that’s regardless of how hot your oven is.
Baking with a water bath allows your cake to bake gently and in turn will result in a richer, creamier, and smoother texture. If you’re worried about leaks, try wrapping your tin with a layer of cling film and another layer with aluminum. Double duty! And if you have the cash to spend, use baking bands!
Water baths are not the only way to avoid cracks -not that cracks are a bad thing! But if you want a crack free cheesecake, here are some tips that will help teach you how to avoid cracks.
How To Avoid Cracks
We’re all for cracks! They don’t affect the taste of the cheesecake and give the whole thing a rustic aesthetic. But if you are interested in a smooth pandan cheesecake then here are some other things to consider before making this pandan cheesecake recipe:
- Temperature of ingredients
- Too many air bubbles
- Baking temperature
- Using a water bath
- Over baking the cake
- The cooling down process
One of the most important things to consider is technique and temperature. Not just during the baking process but even before you start baking.
Temperature Of Ingredients
Did you know that the temperature of your ingredients can affect your baking results? Colder ingredients can determine the texture of your cheesecake because cold dairy products are firmer. We all know it’s harder to mix a batter when you’ve got a solid cold block of cream cheese or butter.
Cold ingredients equals more effort in beating the batter and more effort equals more mixing. Which leads us to our next point: too many air bubbles.
Too Many Air Bubbles
There will be plenty of air bubbles if you’ve spent a good amount of time whisking your cream cheese mixture. An airy cake is good and necessary for some cakes but remember airy cakes that rise, must fall. The rising and cooling of cakes can cause cracks.
If you bake your pandan cheesecake at a high temperature, it will over cook and crack at the top and remain underbaked at the bottom. If you bake it too low for too long, your cheesecake will dry up and crack. It’s like that one plant you have: too much water, dead. Too little water, dead.
To avoid this problem, you can start the cheesecake off at a higher temperature to help the mixture set and then turn down the heat to let it bake gently all the way through. Regulating the temperature is important and another way to do that is with a water bath.
Using A Water Bath
As mentioned above, a water bath can help insulate (protect) your cheesecake and regulate the temperature in the oven. This is because your cake is partially submerged in water and the water turns into steam as it evaporates. Creating a wonderful environment for a dense, rich, and creamy cheesecake.
Over Baking The Cake
Over baking a cheesecake is a surefire way to get a crack. Make sure to cook your cheesecake just until it’s jiggly in the middle. Cheesecakes need to come to temperature and need to be chilled for them to completely set or firm up. Speaking of cooling, don’t rush your cakes.
The Cooling Down Process
The cooling down process can be the hardest part of the process but it is rewarding. You will give your cheesecake a temperature shock if you take your cheesecake right out of the hot oven into the harsh cold winter air (if you live in Holland like we do).
Open the oven door slightly and let the cheesecake cool down in the oven. This is the safest way to let your cake come to temperature. But it’s honestly no big deal if your cheesecake does crack. You could always slather on a generous helping of caramel sauce:
Now that we’ve gotten all the precautions out of the way, let’s get baking.
How To Make Pandan Cheesecake With A Coconut Crust
This pandan cheesecake is our second cheesecake recipe and is made with cream cheese, yogurt, and double cream. If you don’t like the taste of yogurt or prefer sour cream, click here for another foolproof cheesecake recipe:
We need to start off with the crust to make this pandan coconut cheesecake.
Making The Crust
A New York cheesecake is often made with a biscuit base but we thought we would bring a bit of the tropics to this recipe and make a coconut crust for cheesecake. Simply start with toasting the desiccated coconut in a dry pan for about 3-5 minutes on low heat.
Add in the sugar and butter when the coconut is lightly toasted. Line your cake tin. Click here if you want an easy guide on how to make the perfect circle for your cake tin.
Place your toasted coconut into your lined tin and press down with the back of a spoon or glass. Bake this in the oven for about 5 minutes. Allow the biscuit base to cool before adding in your pandan cheesecake batter.
Making The Pandan Cheesecake Batter
You need to start with room temperature ingredients to make this easy and basic cheesecake recipe. Start by whisking the cream cheese and sugar until combined. Next, sift in the cornstarch, add the eggs, salt, vanilla, pandan extract, lemon juice, and whisk.
Switch to a rubber spatula and add in the cream and yogurt. Stir everything until thoroughly combined. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the coconut base and into a water bath.
Place the cheesecake in the oven and bake at 180c or 356f for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 150c or 302f and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
When the cheesecake is done baking, crack the oven door slightly and allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature for about 30-45 minutes. An hour is recommended if you have the time. You can refrigerate your cake once it’s completely cooled and let it set in the fridge.
And there you have it folks, a coconut crust pandan cheesecake that will impress just about anyone. This Asian inspired pandan cheesecake is a fantastic way to transform our easy cheesecake and play with different flavor combinations. Swap out the coconuts for oreos and pandan extract for cocoa powder and you have a chocolate oreo cheesecake!
If you’re looking for more cheesecake recipes, we’ve got you covered:
Pandan Cheesecake With Coconut Crust
This simple pandan cheesecake recipe is paired with a deliciously nutty coconut crust. It's one of those foolproof recipes that work every single time without fail.
- Perfect for an 18cm or 7-inch cake tin
- Coconut base:
- 100g desiccated coconut
- 60g salted butter
- 10g caster sugar
- All ingredients must be room temperature
- 400g full-fat cream cheese (we used lactose free cream cheese)
- 100g yogurt
- 250ml cream
- 120g fine sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp pandan extract
- a pinch of salt
Pre-heat oven to 180c or 356f.
Line cake tin with baking paper (we show you an easy way to do this using a cartouche in this post).
Melt the butter in the microwave.
In a dry pan on low heat, toast the desiccated coconut until light brown.
Add in the butter and sugar. Mix to combine.
Place the coconut mixture in the cake tin and press down with the back of a spoon or a glass.
Bake the base in the oven for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, remove from the oven to cool.
Whisk the cream cheese and sugar until combined.
Sift in the cornstarch, add the eggs, salt, vanilla, pandan extract, lemon juice, and whisk.
Add in the cream and yogurt and mix everything until combined.
Pour the cheesecake mixture over the coconut base.
Place the cheesecake in the oven and bake with a water bath at 180c or 356f for 30 minutes.
Turn the heat down to 150c or 302f for an additional 30 minutes.
Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven with the door slightly open for 30-45 minutes before refrigerating.