You know how I just said I was going to focus on Austrian specialties? Well, here are some Vietnamese coffee cupcakes. I’m flexible like that. Or contrary, depending on how you see it, I suppose. F. says I have a subversive streak because whenever he asks me to do something I gleefully say no even when I have every intention of doing it. Some delayed childhood trauma at work, clearly.
But really, how mad/bad/disappointed can you be? I mean, Vietnamese coffee is probably the most luxuriant thing known to man – it’s filled with the power of sweetened condensed milk. And then we go one step further and make it into a cupcake. They say the world loves a lover but I’m fairly sure the world would prefer a cupcake if given a choice.
Which reminds of this one time, at band camp…No, that didn’t come out right, it reminds me of this time where I was addicted to sweetened condensed milk. I realise this doesn’t make me sound very hardcore (hey man, wanna go mainline some dairy products?) but at the time, it was a big deal; I was riding the highs and lows of sugar addiction and my teeth were readying themselves to put my dentist’s children through university.
It all started when I lived in Thailand and we didn’t have a fridge. We did have a well for water but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, since milk doesn’t enjoy 35 degrees celsius the way I do and I don’t enjoy powdered milk, sweetened condensed milk was how milk and sugar were added to the coffee at my house. And if you pour sweetened condensed milk out of a hole in a can there’s always a little drip which can conveniently be cleaned off with your tongue (we didn’t want ants, after all). A tidy lick became a little slurp, a little slurp became sucking down half a can a day and the rest is history. I had to go cold turkey and believe me when I say it wasn’t pretty.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Vietnamese Coffee Cupcakes
The actual cupcakes are as light as a feather since they’re mostly whipped egg white. You pour over a coffee glaze when they emerge from the oven and then ice with a creamy coffee icing when cool. I didn’t mess with the recipe that Debra got from Tasting Table much but the icing didn’t thicken for me until it cooled and I skipped the cinnamon sprinkle at the end.
For the cupcakes
3 eggs, separated
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
110 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
56 grams (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
60 grams (1/2 cup) plain flour
For the coffee glaze
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
For the coffee icing
60 ml (1/4 cup) heavy cream
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
60 ml (1/2 cup) sweetened condensed milk
Preheat the oven to 160 celsius (325 fahrenheit) and and grease a 12 cup muffin tin with butter or line with paper muffin cups.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and baking soda on medium-high with a hand-mixer until frothy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Add the salt.
Continue beating at medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.
Add the egg yolks and sugar and continue to beat until pale yellow and thick, about another minute.
Pour the melted butter into the batter and beat until combined.
Sift half the flour over the wet ingredients and fold with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour.
Pour the batter evenly into the lined muffin tins. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Meanwhile, make the glaze and icing.
For the glaze, heat the cream in a saucepan or in the microwave and into it dissolve the espresso powder and condensed milk and set aside.
In the same saucepan over medium-high heat, stir in the second quantities of heavy cream and espresso powder until the powder dissolves. Add the condensed milk and whisk to combine. While whisking, bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook until thickened slightly, whisking often.
When baked, transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack, brush with the coffee glaze and let cool.
Spoon warm icing evenly over the cooled cupcakes.