Vietnamese Coffee Cake

Moist buttery cake filled with the fragrance of coffee, and a sweet, sticky condensed milk glaze.

I don't know if you've tried vietnamese coffee before- but if you haven't, please do- its delicious! I love the thick, bitter drip coffee, and a sweet swirl of condensed milk which makes a coffee a bittersweet, decadent treat. It reminds of days spent in vietnam on holiday, sipping iced vietnamese coffee in a little coffee shop in ho chi minh, feasting on tumeric and dill monkfish served with plenty of fresh herbs and thin rice noodles, and walking around the lantern lit riverside of Hoi An. Somehow, travelling in Vietnam has become a family favourite, sometimes out of necessity, but also because we love the food, people and culture there.

This cake isn't a local vietnamese dessert- the vietnamese don't actually eat much sweet treats, except some french-influenced creme caramel and sweet soups- filling and comforting especially on a cold day- among others. Its more of vietnamese inspired- how they enjoy thick, bitter coffee with sweet condensed milk- how its just comfort and tradition and something classic-ly vietnamese yet so special. Actually, its kind of like Singapore's kopi or maybe kopi gao- our thinner and looser version of local coffeeshop coffee. While I love the sweet fragrance, almost vanilla-like notes of freshly brewed coffee, I'm much more of a milo and hot chocolate girl :) But in desserts, coffee really adds a depth of flavour and a bitter note to tame sweetness. I really love the moist, fluffiness of this cake, and the frosting which is made less sweet with a shot of thick, brewed coffee. Its so delicious served with a cup of coffee, or milo too, if you're like me!

Vietnamese Coffee Cake
Recipe adapted from Food52 with some modifications

315g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp instant coffee, finely ground
1/2 tsp salt
90g sugar
210g brown sugar
115 butter, room temp
285g yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Condensed milk glaze:
180g condensed milk
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp strongly brewed coffee

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a 10 square baking tray with parchement.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars till light and fluffy. Add in vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, till combined.
In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
In a small bowl, combine yogurt and instant coffee.
Alternate the flour and yogurt mixtures in 3 additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing till smooth.
Pour the batter into the tin and level. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, combine condensed milk, butter and coffee. Cook till the mixture is thick and slightly caramelised, and is coming away from the sides of the pot. Let cool slightly before spreading on the cooled cake.

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