Vietnamese Coffee Cake

We recently fell in love with Michelle Lopez’s (of the blog Hummingbird High) Vietnamese Iced Coffee Cake, and made a black cocoa version of our own. Coffee has been elevating the flavor of classic chocolate cake for years. The winning pairing continues with this layer cake take on the sweet and strong Vietnamese coffee. Black cocoa cake layers soaked in coffee are wrapped in a silky coat of sweetened condensed milk frosting. Find more ways to bake with black cocoa in our July/August Issue 2018 issue!

Vietnamese Coffee Cake
 
Makes 1 (8-inch) cake
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (110 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375 grams) cake flour
  • ½ cup (43 grams) black cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240 grams) sour cream
  • ½ cup (113 grams) boiling water
  • Vietnamese Coffee (recipe follows)
  • Vanilla Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream (recipe follows)
  • Chocolate Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour 3 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper; butter and flour pans again.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, black cocoa, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Carefully add ½ cup (113 grams) boiling water; beat just until combined. Divide batter among prepared pans.
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
  5. Using a pastry brush, brush each cake layer with Vietnamese Coffee. Reserve ½ cup Vanilla Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream. Spread remaining Vanilla Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream between layers and on sides of cake. Dot sides of cake with ½ cup Chocolate Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream. Using a bench scraper, smear and smooth sides of cake. Decorate top of cake with remaining ½ cup Chocolate Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream and reserved ½ cup Vanilla Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Let come to room temperature before serving.

 
Vietnamese Coffee
 
Makes about 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons (18 grams) ground Vietnamese coffee*
  • ¾ cup (170 grams) boiling water, divided
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) sweetened condensed milk
Instructions
  1. In a drip coffee maker, place coffee grounds in a filter. Bloom coffee grounds by splashing with 1 tablespoon (16 grams) boiling water. Pour remaining boiling water in coffee maker; let coffee drip, about 5 minutes. (Alternatively, use a French press. Bloom coffee grounds by splashing with 1 tablespoon [16 grams] boiling water. Pour remaining boiling water in coffee maker; let stand for about 5 minutes before pressing down.) Once brewed, stir in condensed milk. Let cool before using.
Notes
We used Trung Nguyen Premium Blend, available at specialty food stores or online.
Vietnamese coffee is a particularly strong brew, so not just any cup of joe will work in this recipe. If you can't find a Vietnamese brand, use a dark-roast coffee. The drip and French press method of brewing ensures an extra-strong cup of coffee, so in this case, the way you brew also matters.

Vanilla Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream
 
Makes about 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) Vietnamese Coffee (recipe precedes)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can (396 grams) sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 cup (720 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until light and creamy, 6 to 7 minutes. Beat in Vietnamese Coffee. Add condensed milk, in 4 additions, beating well after each addition. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and salt. Reserve 1 cup for Chocolate Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream. Use immediately.

Chocolate Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream
 
Makes about 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Vanilla Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream (recipe precedes)
  • 3 tablespoons (15 grams) black cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) sweetened condensed milk
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together Vanilla Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream, black cocoa, and sweetened condensed milk. Use immediately.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hello! I’m planning on serving this cake on Sunday. How far ahead can I prepare the condensed milk buttercream? I’m wondering how long it will keep. Thanks for your help.

    • Hey Kate,

      Happy to help! As long as you keep the buttercream refrigerated, it should keep for two days. Just make sure that the frosting returns to room temperature before spreading onto the cake. That way, it’ll be applied smoothly. Happy baking!

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