Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September's Cupcake Of The Month: cà phê đá (Vietnamese Coffee)

I can't believe it's the end of September already! It's crazy how fast time is flying by. Since my last recipe post in August, I've been busier than ever with school, babysitting and trying to keep up a social life so it was nice to finally be able to take some time out this weekend and not think about anything else but the recipe at hand. 

Now, it's been quite a while since I've attended school full time, so this fall was definitely a big change for me. At first, it was a little difficult keeping my dates for appointments and such in order, especially since I have the worst habit of never writing anything down or forgetting to write things down by the time I have a chance. I started mixing up dates or forgetting certain details, which at the end of August, completely threw me for a loop.

Someone had ordered a dozen and a half cupcakes from me for the first weekend of September but somehow when I went back to write it in my calendar, I wrote them down for the last weekend of August! And I didn't realize my mistake until I was standing there in my kitchen, with all the cupcakes ready to be frosted. Needless to say, I was pretty mad at myself. Mad that I had written down the wrong date, mad that I had gone so far into the cupcake-making process before realizing my mistake, and mad that I now had two dozen cupcakes to find homes for (which is actually harder than you'd think). Luckily, I know some of the most awesome people in the world who graciously ate multiple cupcakes just for me. 

Now to find people to eat these...

Overall, these cupcakes weren't bad, but they could have been better. As you could probably tell from the title of this recipe, these cupcakes were inspired by Vietnamese coffee. Unfortunately, they lacked that strong, distinct coffee flavor. That was mostly my fault, though, because I was lazy and used normal coffee instead of espresso or Cafe du Monde coffee. But if you don't have either of those on hand, I'd strongly recommend making some of the coffee syrup from my tiramisu cupcakes and doing the same thing I did in that recipe. The cupcakes also came out really fluffy, which I like, but they were also dry, so I added a tbsp of oil to the recipe below.

And again, I have no process pictures. I have this other bad habit of getting bored very easily. After about the hundredth time of taking pictures of the same thing (i.e. the batter making process), it starts to become repetitive, and not to mention, very time consuming. So I've decided that the only process pictures I will be taking now will be of techniques or steps I've never mentioned before, unless I have extra time and the steps aren't time sensitive.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this recipe and of course, if there are any questions about this or any other recipe, past, present, or future, feel free to email me! I will be more than happy to answer them!

But seriously, the next time you're making Vietnamese coffee (or even just normal coffee) at home, try Cafe du Monde. You won't be disappointed.

The Ingredients (makes about one dozen):
For the cupcakes:
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 1/2 cup flour
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/8 tsp salt

-3 eggs
-1 tbsp vegetable oil
-3/4 tsp vanilla
-3/4 cup espresso or very, very, very strong coffee

For the frosting:
-1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
-1/2 cup vegetable shortening
-1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk, or to taste
-2 tsp vanilla
-pinch of salt

The Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line your muffin pan.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl and set aside.
4. Add eggs, vanilla and oil one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition.
5. Add 1/3 of the dry to the wet, then 1/2 the espresso and alternate until you run out of both. Make sure to mix thoroughly and scrape the bowl, especially after adding the dry ingredients.
6. Once batter is smooth, bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
7. Cream the butter and shortening until well combined.
8. Slowly add in the condensed milk, scraping the bottom of the bowl to make sure nothing settles at the bottom.
9. Once the buttercream is sweet enough to your tastes, stir in the vanilla and salt.
10. Consume and enjoy!