Try these Asian-inspired sweet treats when you’re craving coffee in another form…
Hong Kong Cupcakes
Makes: 6 to 8 cupcakes
These soft, spongy cupcakes – here with the addition of a subtle coffee flavour– are a mainstay of Asian bakeries. You’ll need cupcake liners and an electric mixer.
5 eggs, separated
50g corn oil
60ml milk, warmed
1 teaspoon instant coffee
100g plain flour
80g caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line muffin pan with cupcake cases.
2. Mix together the milk and instant coffee; set the mixture aside. Mix the egg yolk, corn oil and coffee-flavoured milk together. Sift the flour into the wet mixture; stir well to combine.
3. In a large, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the electric mixer until frothy. Gradually add the sugar while whisking until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the flour mixture, working carefully so as not to deflate the batter.
4. Spoon the batter into the prepared cases, filling them almost to the edges. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean.
5. Cool for 1-2 minutes in the pan, then remove to cool completely on a wire rack. Note: it is normal for the cupcakes to deflate slightly once removed from the oven.
Layered Cake with Coffee Butter Cream
Inspired by the classic opera cake, this cake is just as delicious and easier to make. You’ll need a 20cm square cake tin, an electric mixer, a digital pocket thermometer and a pastry brush.
For the cake:
120g caster sugar
120g plain flour
50g melted butter (kept warm)
For the butter cream:
100g egg whites
160g caster sugar
400g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and softened
For the coffee syrup:
250ml brewed Vietnamese coffee, cooled (or 1 tablespoon Vietnamese coffee powder with 250ml water)
For the ganache:
100g dark chocolate
100g whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 175°C and grease the cake pan.
Make the cake:
Beat the eggs and sugar with the electric mixer until the mixture becomes pale and thick. Add the melted butter and mix well. Sift the flour into the egg mixture and fold gently until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool the cake completely.
Make the butter cream:
Place the egg whites and sugar in a small saucepan over very low heat. Whisk until the sugar crystals dissolve (when the mixture reaches 70ºC). Remove from the heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the butter, beating until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy. Then add 100ml of coffee.
Make the ganache:
Combine the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a metal spoon until melted and smooth. Keep the ganache warm.
Assemble the cake:
Split the cake into three layers. Place the first layer on a large serving plate. Brush a generous amount of coffee syrup onto the cake and cover with half of the butter cream. Carefully lay the second layer onto the first layer and brush with coffee syrup. Spread a third of the ganache evenly onto the second layer. Place the third cake layer onto the second layer and brush with coffee syrup. Spread the remaining butter cream onto the final layer. Refrigerate for one hour. Remove the cake and cover with the remaining ganache. Refrigerate the cake to set. Decorate with toasted walnuts or coffee beans.
Tip: Cut with a serrated knife to keep the cake layers neat and intact.
These recipes, plus many more, can be found in Our Sweet Kitchen, a cookbook with 50 classic cake and cupcake recipes, all with a touch of Asian flair. Pick up a copy at Kinokuniya for $21.90.