The Vietnamese Pandan Honeycomb Cake, aka banh bo nuong, is a wonderfully sweet and decadent dessert. With a vibrant green color and egg-custard & vanilla-like flavor, this cake can’t be beat, no matter how you slice it!
What Is Vietnamese Honeycomb Cake?
Honeycomb cake gets its name from the “honeycomb” pattern inside the cake.
Another hallmark of this honeycomb cake recipe is the cake’s vibrant green color. Pandan extract is a natural ingredient that gives honeycomb cake its bright green color and sweet, vanilla-like nutty flavor.
The texture of honeycomb cake is also something you might not expect. It’s surprisingly spongy, light, and even a bit chewy.
What Is Pandan Extract?
Pandan is a tropical plant popular in Southeast Asia. Pandan extract is made from pandan leaves. It adds a vibrant green hue and sweet, aromatic flavor to any dish it’s added to.
You can find Pandan Paste on Amazon and in most Asian or world markets.
What You’ll Need
Here is a list of the ingredients you will need to make Honeycomb Cake. I’ve split the ingredients into two categories; wet and dry.
Coconut Milk: Coconut milk adds an important and nuanced flavor that pairs perfectly with the flavor brought by the pandan extract.
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil adds needed fat and some additional, subtle coconut flavor.
Eggs: Eggs are a crucial part of this cake–adding airiness, structure, and flavor. The flavor of the eggs is also very strong, lending the cake a custard-like flavor.
Pandan Extract (Pandan Paste): Pandan extract gives this cake its traditional green color and sweet, nutty, slightly-grassy, vanilla-like flavor.
Tapioca Starch: Tapioca starch is a gluten-free alternative to white flour. It’s used in baking because it creates a soft, chewy texture. It also helps cakes rise and is lower in calories than wheat flour.
Baking Powder: This recipe calls for your regular, everyday baking powder. Make sure you use double-acting baking powder, not single-acting.
Rice Flour: Rice flour is responsible for the delightful bouncy & chewy texture of the cake.
Granulated Sugar: You can use regular white granulated sugar for this recipe.
Shredded Coconut: I sprinkle either shredded coconut or powdered sugar on the top of this cake as a final touch.
Here’s the equipment you’ll need to make this honeycomb cake. A bundt cake form is traditionally what’s used. But I’ve also had success using a bread loaf pan, a round cake pan, or a cake tin.
How to Make Honeycomb Cake
Here are the simple steps needed to make honeycomb cake. It’s important not to overmix the batter. Gently combine the ingredients at every stage, and avoid using a hand mixer or a stand mixer.
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 cup coconut milk – (unsweetened)
- 1 tbsp pandan extract
- 6 large eggs
- 3 tbsp coconut oil – (melted)
- 1 cup tapioca starch
- 1 tbsp rice flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- cooking spray
- shredded coconut (garnish)
- powdered sugar (alternative garnish)
Step 1: Make The Batter
Begin by preheating your oven to 350° degrees Fahrenheit (180° degrees Celsius). Next, crack 6 eggs into a medium bowl. Using your fork, break the egg yolks and then gently whisk the eggs, being careful not to overmix.
Note: Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so you’ll need to heat it up before adding it to the eggs. You can do this in the microwave for 20 seconds or until it becomes liquid.
Add the coconut oil, coconut milk, water, and pandan paste. Hand-mix at a medium speed until everything is combined.
Next, mix together the dry ingredients. These are rice flour, tapioca starch, sugar, and baking soda. Combine these ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a whisk.
Lastly, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture (wet ingredients). Stir until everything is combined, being careful not to overmix.
Step 2: Bake, Garnish & Serve
Spray the inside of the bundt pan with an even coating of cooking spray. If you don’t have cooking spray, rub a stick of butter over the inside of the bundt pan.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350° F for 55 minutes.
After 55 minutes have passed, turn the oven off. But keep the cake in the oven, with the door slightly ajar. Let your cake cool like this for about 20 minutes.
Lastly, flip your bundt cake pan upside down over a wire rack until the cake slides out. The finished cake will be green and golden-brown in color.
Garnish the top of the cake with shredded coconut or powdered sugar, transfer to a cake stand and serve!
You can also place it on a regular plate with parchment paper underneath it for easy cleanup once it’s devoured.
If you love this recipe, then you’ll definitely love my Pandan Waffles recipe!
Pandan Waffle Recipe
My cake doesn’t have the Honeycomb Pattern!
If your cake doesn’t have the honeycomb pattern once cooked, there are a few possible culprits. First, you may have overmixed your batter. When this happens, the batter doesn’t rise fully, and then once it cools, it deflates and compresses.
The second possibility is that your oven was too cool or too hot. If your oven is too hot, the cake will deflate. If it’s not hot enough, the cake will be stodgy and won’t fully rise.
My Cake Deflated…Why?
If you remove your cake from the oven too quickly, it’ll “shock” the cake, causing it to deflate. That’s why it’s crucial to let your cake slowly cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar and the stove off.
If your cake is still deflating after following this method, then start over. But this time, let the cake cool in the oven for 20 minutes with the door ajar. Then, keep the cake in the bundt pan while it cools outside of the oven on the rack.
How do I serve Honeycomb Cake?
I find the best way to serve honeycomb cake is to slice it and serve it immediately after it’s cooled. This cake can be eaten by hand since there’s no sticky frosting.
Honeycomb cake is traditionally served with a cup of hot coffee or tea. I find that a cup of dark roast coffee is the perfect complement to this cake.
How To Store Your Cake:
Honeycomb Cake will last for 1-2 days at room temperature. You can refrigerate it in an airtight container for about a week or freeze it in a vacuum-sealed bag for up to 3 months. We use a FoodSaver in our house, and it’s saved us an incredible amount of money over the years.
Advice for the best cake:
Always use fresh ingredients. This is most important when it comes to Pandan Extract. Make sure to check the expiration date as well as the color. Quality pandan paste will be dark forest green–not light green. Light green pandan paste is an indicator of a cheap, diluted product.
Mix everything lightly. Avoid using an electric mixer at all costs. Overmixing the eggs and the batter will result in a stodgy, un-risen cake.
Let the cake cool slowly after it’s done baking. Prop the oven door open and turn the heat off. Let it cool this way for 20 minutes and then turn the bundt cake over a cooling rack and serve.
Vietnamese Honeycomb Cake
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C)
- Next, crack 6 eggs into a medium mixing bowl. Using your fork, break the egg yolks first and then gently whisk the eggs, being careful not to overmix.
- Add the coconut oil (melted), coconut milk, water, and pandan paste. Stir until everything is combined.
- Add rice flour, sugar, tapioca starch, and baking soda to a large mixing bowl and combine with a whisk.
- Next, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredient mixture. Stir until everything is combined but not overmixed.
- Coat the bundt cake pan with cooking spray.
- Pour the cake batter into the bundt pan and bake at 350 F for 55 minutes.
- Turn the oven off but keep the cake in the oven, with the door slightly ajar for 20 minutes. Once 20 minutes have passed, remove your cake from the oven and release it over a wire cooling rack. Let cool for an additional 20 minutes.
- Garnish with shredded coconut and transfer to a cake stand and serve!
Your Own Notes
The Golden Lamb provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.Love it? Pin it! Share on Facebook
Note: This honeycomb cake recipe doesn’t require you to dissolve the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. I also do not recommend using cream of tartar. Some recipes for Honeycomb Cake ask you to use a large saucepan over low heat to heat up the wet ingredients first, but that’s not necessary.