Baking in Jars, part one: Vietnamese Coffee Cake

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I’ve had this idea of making a cake version of Vietnamese Coffee for awhile, since seeing this cake recipe for sweetened condensed milk cake. I was thinking, what better recipe to modify, since Vietnamese coffee is often served with condensed milk. Simply adding Vietnamese instant coffee might be all that is needed.

When I saw 4 ounce Ball canning jars for sale at the local hardware store, I knew I had to try baking in them! I found this handy guide that gives you tips on how to bake in them. Without it, I would never have thought to put the jars in a water bath while baking.

They do rise quite a bit while baking, but shrink down a little after you take it out of the oven. Oh well. You can probably make them as cupcakes, too, and just forget the whole baking in jars thing, which can be a bit gimmicky and a tad precious, plus requires more clean up afterwards. I can see how people might like a cake in a little jar, but, to be honest, I don’t know if there’ll be a “Baking in Jars, II”. But, yeah, we’ll see.

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Vietnamese Coffee Cakelets,  8 individual 4 ounce jar servings 

Ingredients:

1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk (I used Longevity brand)
4 eggs
4.23 ounces All-purpose flour (1 cup)
1 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
2 ounces unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons Vietnamese coffee, instant coffee granules. (Trung Nguyen, preferably)

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I was impressed by the logo of this brand. Plus the top of the tin is embossed with the same guy. That is so cool!

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Method:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously apply melted butter on bottoms and sides of each jar. Dust with cocoa powder and tap out excess. (I dusted with cocoa powder because I was thinking of taking them out of the jars to serve, and if I dusted the jars with flour, it would show and not look as good, imho. You can probably use cooking spray also, but I didn’t want to take the chance of the cake sticking to the sides of each jar).

Sift flour and baking powder into small bowl and whisk until blended thoroughly and set aside. In medium bowl, add condensed milk and beat eggs, one at a time, into condensed milk, until blended thoroughly. Add melted butter slowly while blending with a handheld mixer.

Add coffee granules to batter and mix until granules dissolve. You can pass the batter through a sieve to remove the un-dissolved granules, if any. You should have about thee cups of batter. Add flour mixture to this and blend well.

Divide batter evenly between the jars. I used 8 jars because I wanted a taller cake, but you can probably get away with 10 jars. Plus, if you going to top each cake with frosting or whipped cream, you’ll probably want more space at the top. Bake the jars in a hot water bath using a larger pan, with hot boiling water that goes up to the sides of each jar, about a half inch from the rims. (I heated up water to boiling while preparing the batter and used a 9 X 13 X 2 pan for the water bath). Bake in oven for about 18-22 minutes, until cakes bounce back when you lightly press on the tops, or when toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a cooling rack. They initially rise above rim, but sadly, they will shrink down somewhat after cooling. Dust with confectioner’s sugar on top of each, or pipe whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!

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