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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Honeycomb Cake Recipe (Vietnamese Pandan)

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This vibrant green honeycomb cake gets its color from Pandan Extract. This traditional Vietnamese cake is known as Bánh Bò Nướng. This cake has a spongy, soft texture, and is lightly sweetened. The pandan leaf extract is nutty and pairs nicely with the rich coconut milk and coconut shavings on top!

banh bo nuong - Vietnamese honeycomb Cake cut to show green pandan inside, served on a white plate

If you’re looking for a unique dessert recipe to wow your guests, then look no further! This Vietnamese Honeycomb Cake has a bright green hue, thanks to the use of pandan extract!

Most recipes for banh bo nuong may not turn out exactly right on your first attempt, because it can be quite complex to get the right texture, but this easy honeycomb cake recipe turns out great every time!

Latest Recipe Video!

🥮 What Is Honeycomb Cake?

It’s called a honeycomb cake because of the honeycomb structure that it creates in the center when baked. This cake does not actually have any honey in it.

This cake takes a bit of technique to get the right texture. In order to create the beautiful honeycombs pattern, you’ll need to be able to beat the air bubbles into the batter to create the light fluffiness the cake requires.

This homemade honeycomb cake also has a unique texture. It’s not light and fluffy like a typical cake. Instead it has more of a light, spongy, soft texture – with a little chewy bite too. The taste of the cake is slightly sweet and nutty.

🌱 What Is Pandan?

Pandan is a tropical green plant that is used most often in Southeast Asian recipes. It has long blade like leaves. It is most often sold in specialty grocery stores. It has a sweet aromatic flavor with hints of vanilla, coconut, and a grassy undertone. Its extract is used in desserts, and gives this Vietnamese pandan cake a unique look with it’s bright green hue!

Vietnamese honeycomb Cake cut to show green pandan inside, served on a white plate

👩🏽‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Unique Green Hue
  • Spongy
  • Airy and Light
  • Deep Amber Color on the Outside
  • Subtly Sweet
  • Unique Coconut Pandan Flavor
  • Gluten-Free

🥘 Ingredients

This banh bo nuong recipe calls for many simple ingredients that you likely already have on hand, and one special ingredient that gives this pandan honeycomb cake its beautiful color!

  • Coconut Milk: A traditional ingredient used in this recipe it pairs nicely with the grassy flavor of the pandan.
  • Pandan Extract: Made from Pandan leaves (from the Pandan plant), it has a green color, and a sweet, vanilla, coconut flavor, with a hint of earthy grassiness. It is most often found in artificial form, but I recommend getting pure pandan extract. Note: You can make this same cake with a variety of extracts for different flavors. For example, coffee, vanilla, almond, etc would all work!
  • Eggs: The eggs in this dish make it light and airy, and spongy!
  • Tapioca Starch: The tapioca starch combined with the baking soda and coconut milk is what will help you achieve that honeycomb center!
  • Baking Powder: Regular baking powder is double acting. This means it reacts once when combined with the wet ingredients, and again when heated. Be sure that you have a fresh double acting baking powder for this recipe (single acting baking powder will not work!)
  • Rice Flour: This gluten-free flour helps to leaven the cake and along with the tapioca starch, helps to keep this entire cake gluten-free.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar works best.
  • Shredded Coconut or Lemon Zest (optional): Looks and tastes delicious with a sprinkle of shredded coconut and / or lemon zest on top!

🍽 Equipment

🔪 Instructions

Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 350F/180C degrees.

Beat Eggs: Crack eggs in a medium bowl, and beat lightly with a fork. Do not overbeat otherwise your cake won’t have the beautiful honeycomb texture. I don’t recommend an electric whisk or electric mixer for this since you want to avoid overbeating.

eggs beaten in a mixing bowl

Add Wet Ingredients: Add in water, coconut milk and pandan extract and mix until combined. 

green pandan mixed into wet ingredients in mixing bowl

Combine Flour Mixture: In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. 

dry ingredients combined in a bowl

Fold Together: Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix slowly until fully combined.

pandan extract added to wet ingredients

Prepare Cake Tin: Grease the Bundt pan (you can also use loaf tin) with cooking spray and pour the batter into the prepared pan. 

pandan cake batter poured into bundt pan

Bake: Bake for 50-55 minutes until the cake is golden brown. Turn off the oven but keep cake in the oven with the oven door partially open for 20 minutes.

top view of banh bo nuong - Vietnamese honeycomb Cake with coconut shavings on top

Let The Cake Cool: Remove the cake from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack. Add shredded coconut to the top of the cake (optional) and serve on a cake stand or large plate.

top view of banh bo nuong - Vietnamese honeycomb Cake with coconut shavings on top

❓Recipe FAQs

Why doesn’t my cake have a honeycomb look?

If your cake rose too quickly, and then deflated you will lose the honeycomb effect. This will create a dense cake. This could also be related to the temperature of the oven. Be sure to use an oven thermometer before adding the cake to make sure it is the exact temperature needed. Too hot and the cake will deflate. Too low and the cake will be too eggy in texture.

Why did my cake deflate?

Make sure to keep the cake in the oven with the temperature turned off and the door open for 20 minutes. This helps keep the cake from suddenly deflating by gently coming to a cooler state. If you take it out of the oven immediately and allow it to cool on the counter top, the temperature contrast is too great and it will deflate.

If your cake still deflates, then I recommend letting the cake cool upside down on a wire rack while still in the bundt pan (If you choose this option, then don’t grease your bundt pan too heavily to avoid the cake from falling out while it’s cooling)

How do you serve?

Slice, and serve! You can enjoy this Vietnamese honeycomb cake simply with nothing added, or sprinkle some coconut flakes, brown sugar, or lemon zest on top! It’s perfect on its own or with some hot tea or coffee on the side.

🧊 How To Store

Room Temperature: This Vietnamese cake will keep spongy and light for up to 2 days at room temperature.

Refrigerate: If you have not eaten all the cake in 2 days, transfer it to the refrigerator to keep for an additional 3-4 days.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Use a quality Pandan Extract. There are many different varieties out there, some are of low quality with added artificial ingredients. Use an extract that is pure, and bright green in color. Avoid buying anything that looks diluted (a light green vs. dark green color)
  • Break up the yolks of the eggs with a fork, and then beat. This will help keep you from over beating the eggs which can cause the cake to have too much air.
  • Fold the ingredients together gently. You don’t want to over mix the batter and lose the airy quality.
  • Remove the cake from the cake pan to cool right away! This will keep the cake from collapsing on itself in the pan.
slice of banh bo nuong - Vietnamese honeycomb Cake cut to show green pandan inside, served on a white plate

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📋 Recipe Card

banh bo nuong - Vietnamese honeycomb Cake cut to show green pandan inside, served on a white plate
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5 from 5 votes

Honeycomb Cake (Vietnamese Pandan)

This vibrant green honeycomb cake gets its color from Pandan Extract. This traditional Vietnamese cake is known as Bánh Bò Nướng. This cake has a spongy, soft texture, and lightly sweetened. The pandan leaf extract is nutty and pairs nicely with the rich coconut milk and coconut shavings on top!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: vietnamese
Diet: Vegetarian
Servings: 12
Calories: 181kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • cup water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp Pandan Extract
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 tbsp rice flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • tsp baking powder
  • cooking spray to grease the cake pan
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut optional topping

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F/180C degrees.
  • Crack eggs and beat lightly with a fork. Do not overbeat otherwise your cake won’t have the beautiful honeycomb texture. 
  • Add in water, coconut milk and pandan extract and mix until combined. 
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix slowly until fully combined.
  • Grease the Bundt tin (you can also use loaf tin) with cooking spray and pour the prepared batter to the pan. 
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes. Turn off the oven but keep cake in the oven with the oven door partially open for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the form and let it cool. Top with shredded coconut (optional) and serve.

Video

https://youtu.be/DQ3ERpteNNQ

Notes

  • Use a quality Pandan Extract. There are many different varieties out there, some are of low quality with added artificial ingredients. Use an extract that is pure, and bright green in color.
  • Break up the yolks of the eggs with a fork, and then beat. This will help keep you from over beating the eggs which can cause the cake to have too much air.
  • Fold the ingredients together gently. You don’t want to over mix the batter and lose the airy quality.
  • Remove the cake from the cake pan to cool right away! This will keep the cake from collapsing on itself in the pan.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 44mg | Potassium: 169mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g

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Dessert ·

Indulge your sweet tooth with some of my lightened-up treats. From gluten-free brownies to fruity crumbles, there’s something for everyone.

Be sure to check out holiday favorites like my healthy pumpkin pie!

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