Coffee, cardamom and cake, who does not like that? I had bought sweetened condensed milk with the thought of making the Vietnamese Coffee Cake on food 52, which looks amazing. Rave comments too. We had a brunch coming up with neighbours, so I made this the night before for post-brunch coffee. Really, really good. I did tweak the recipe, as I thought it might be too sweet and wanted less butter, so amended recipe is below. However, you should try the original recipe, the cake there was higher and the sweet sauce far smoother and less lumpy than mine — wonderful flavours, though!
Ghanaian version of Vietnamese Coffee Cake (less butter, less sugar, more yogurt)
- 60 grams white sugar
- 110 grams brown sugar
- 60 grams butter, room temperature
- 200 grams plain wheat flour
- 3 heaping tbs whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 grammes instant coffee +1/2 tsp ground coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 300 grams plain Greek-style yogurt, full fat
- 2 eggs
Cream butter and sugar, toss in eggs and yogurt, add rest and whisk briefly. Butter a 24 cm tin, pour in batter, bake at 180C for 35-40 minutes, until cake is springy and cake tester comes out clean. Yes, slightly brutal in method but I wanted to get this in the oven quickly so we could get back to watching Trapped, the brilliant Icelandic TV series. Snow, a murder, a small town cut off by a storm — highly recommended.
Cake sauce topping (called brigadeiro, interesting, it is a Brazilian chocolate bonbon I think, the original recipe author is Brazilian)
- 385 grams (one 14-ounce tin) sweetened condensed milk
- 5 tablespoons strongly brewed coffee and a pinch of ground coffee
- 25 grammes butter
Heat in a small pan carefully until it thickens. I added more coffee, so it took a while but suddenly came together (and caramelised a but, not intentional but rather nice). Very sweet, so I served it as optional with the cake slices, slightly warm, rather than pouring it over.
Notes: The cake was moist, plenty sweet as it was and with a gorgeous coffee/cardamon flavour. Sometimes when I reduce butter and sugar my husband politely says “Well, it tastes healthy…..” Not the case here. The texture was rather like the Norwegian spice cake my mother makes, with surmelk (like kefir or buttermilk) which I must make soon. I might skip the sweet sauce next time, not really needed.
Lots of yogurt in cake, thick Greek-style yogurt. Store-bought local yoghurt is usually good here but sometimes there is a so-so pot and this was a good use for it. I am learning to make my own yogurt, which is interesting. Like sourdough, the results are slightly different every week but I am learning.
Another reason the cake was quickly/brutally assembled was the discovery of yet another sealed box of flour with happily munching little black bugs. The rice here often has small weevils in it, a bag of local Tema flour had moths exploding out (good hard wheat flour, though), and even the expensive 00 flour we bought for making pasta has been a disappointment. Almost all the 00 bags we bought have had “some extra protein” (as my mother calls unwanted bugs from her years abroad) and I thought I had rotated them all through the freezer to kill them off. Oh no – one bag I forgot…… but I was not going to waste somewhat bug-infested 00 flour, though that may horrify you. So I measured out flour, sieved it VERY carefully, while dumping scurrying small bugs down the sink and trying to avoid escapees. Hopefully none made it into the cake………