Onde-Onde Cake

I wasn’t quite sure the origin of the cake but it is derived from this popular Malaysian Nyonya kuih (dessert); onde-onde. It’s a sweet pandan rice ball filled with bursting melted gula melaka (palm sugar) and rolled in freshly grated coconut.

The components of the cake are fairly simple and it can be made as lush or as simple as you want. It consist of a pandan cake; it can be a light sponge cake, or a slightly heavier sponge cake that’s made from butter. The choice to use pandan extract or pandan paste is up to you as well. For the filling, it will be freshly grated coconut that’s cooked in gula melaka or coconut sugar for that contrasting dark amber colour. And for the outside of the cake, it can be whipped dairy or non-dairy cream, or to give it more substance, an italian meringue buttercream. Then to coat the outer cake with desiccated coconut (or fresh if time allows)

For my cake, I chose to use a light pandan sponge cake with pandan extract, a sweet coconut filling similar to what I had made for kuih ketayap (kuih dadar / pandan crepe wrapped with coconut filling) and I had leftover Italian Meringue Buttercream, so I used that as well to balance off the cake. I would have used whipped cream if I didn’t had any extra buttercream.

The cake was really lovely. I was afraid the italian meringue buttercream would weigh the cake down as I’m just using sponge cake but I used only a thin layer in between the cake and the coconut filling, giving it a creamy textural contrast. I believe whipped cream would work as well if you prefer a simpler process.

Onde-onde Cake


Pandan Sponge Cake

  • 4 egg yolk
  • 20 g sugar
  • 50 g oil
  • 2 tbsp homemade pandan extract (see instructions below) If using store bought pandan extract, you may only need 1/2 tbsp. In this case, add another 30ml of milk
  • 30 ml coconut milk or milk
  • 100 g cake / low protein flour
  • 4 egg white
  • 1 tsp lemon juice / white vinegar
  • 60 g caster sugar

Sweet Coconut Filling

  • 120 g freshly grated coconut
  • 60 g gula melaka / javanese coconut sugar
  • 50 ml water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pandan leaf tied to a knot

Italian Meringue Buttercream

  • 2 egg white
  • 85 g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 250 g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • hawaiian dessicated coconut


Pandan Extract

  • Make pandan extract 1-2 days prior to making the cake. Blend 30g pandan leaves with 150ml water. Pass through a sieve into a jug / cup and squeeze juice out as much as you can.
  • Discard pandan leaves. Cover the jug and keep pandan water into the fridge overnight.
  • Once it has seperated you will see a darker green paste at the bottom of the jug, that is the extract that you want. Discard the top part (lighter coloured water) and use only the darker green paste.

Sweet Coconut Filling

  • Melt gula melaka or coconut sugar in a pot with water and pandan leaf. Add in grated coocnut and stir till water is somewhat absorbed. IF you prefer more liquid, you can add in some water or if you prefer more dry, cook till the all water is absorbed. Set aside to cool before using.

Pandan Sponge Cake

  • Line the bottom of a 7" pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 125 C
  • Mix egg yolk, 20g sugar, oil, pandan extract and coconut milk with a whisk.
  • Add sifted cake flour into the mixture and mix till it becomes into a paste.
  • For the egg white, place it in a mixing bowl with lemon juice / vinegar. If you don't have either, it is ok to omit. Whisk at medium speed till it looks foamy
  • Add 60g sugar gradually while increasing whisk speed to high for 3-4 mins.
  • Once it has come to medium peaks, reduce speed to medium high and whisk for another 3-4 minutes till it becomes firm. It doesn't need to be super stiff peak. Just firm and slightly stiff will do.
  • Mix 1/3 of meringue (egg white) into the egg yolk mixture with a whisk.
  • Add another 1/3 meringue and gently fold with a whisk.
  • Add the last 1/3 of meringue and use a spatula to fold it in. Do not overmix
  • Pour into a 7" cake pan and bake at 125C for 40 mins and 150C for 25 mins. Once it is done, remove from oven. Use a knife to scrap the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Turn the cake out and remove the parchment paper at the bottom. Let it cool. There will be slight shrinkage of the cake once its cooled.

Italian Meringue Buttercream

  • Seperate eggs and use only egg whites in the mixing bowl.
  • In a small pot, put sugar, water and salt to boil. Bring it up to 112C on boil slightly for 1 minute if you don't have a thermometer.
  • Whisk egg whites till its foamy and soft peaks. While the mixer is running, pour the sugar syrup from the edge of the bowl. Whisk for 4 minutes till meringue looks glossy and thick
  • Add in cubed cold butter gradually, whisking at medium speed till all butter has added in. Add in vanilla extract.
  • If not using italian meringue buttercream, use whipping cream whipped with some sugar.


  • To assemble, divide sponge cake into 3 layers.
  • Place a layer of sponge cake on a cake board, add in some buttercream, spread sweet coconut filling on top. Add the 2nd piece of sponge cake, buttercream and coconut filling. Lastly, the sponge cake on top
  • Cover the cake with buttercream, top and sides. Coat the cake with Hawaiian desiccated coconut, or decorate as you wish.
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