Try this Vietnamese-style coffee loaf cake then check out our coffee cake recipe, espresso martini cheesecake and our Vietnamese coffee ice cream. Want more loaf cakes to bake? Try our chocolate loaf cake, mocha loaf cake, banana and walnut loaf cake and plenty more.

To make your strong coffee, you can either use a bean to cup coffee machine, or buy good-quality coffee beans and grind with our pick of the best coffee grinders.

Dairy and coffee go hand in hand, and in Vietnam they use condensed milk to make cà phê sữa dá (iced coffee) – the sweetened, slightly syrupy milk tempers the bitterness of the strong coffee. This cake takes inspiration from this combination and uses it to make a truly delicious loaf cake, loaded up with coffee in the cake itself, as a soak added when assembled, and in the glaze. The condensed milk element comes in the form of the buttercream, in an unusual recipe known as Russian buttercream.

Learn about Vietnamese coffee culture with our expert barista Celeste Wong's guide, including traditional rituals, how to order it and the perfect recipe for at-home brewing.

How to make Russian buttercream

This is an incredibly simple buttercream with a wonderfully rich and smooth consistency. Unsalted butter is beaten until really pale and then condensed milk is slowly beaten in. As the milk is added, the texture becomes silky. The key to perfecting this is simple. Make sure you beat the butter for at least 5 minutes before adding the condensed milk – it needs to be almost white. Any problems are easy to rescue. If, once you’ve added the condensed milk, the buttercream is split, that is a sign the butter was too warm. To rescue, put the bowl with the frosting into the fridge for 10 minutes and then rewhip until light and fluffy. If the butter is too cold to start with, you may find the buttercream is too dense. To correct this, take a third of the buttercream and microwave it for 10 seconds to warm slightly. Beat this back into the main bowl of buttercream.



  • 165g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 200g soft light brown sugar
  • melted to make 80ml, then cooled unsalted butter
  • 150ml soured cream
  • 135ml strong hot black coffee
  • 2 large egg whites


  • 100ml strong hot black coffee


  • 120g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 125g sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt


  • 100g white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Lightly butter a 900g loaf tin and line with a strip of baking paper so the excess hangs over the side.

  • STEP 2

    To make the cake put the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar into a sieve and sift through into a large bowl, whisking together until evenly combined – sifting helps to remove any of the lumps that sometime form in good-quality, higher-fat cocoa powders.

  • STEP 3

    Pour in the butter, cream and coffee into a large jug, and whisk to combine. Add the egg whites and whisk again.

  • STEP 4

    Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the butter mixture. Whisk briefly just until the batter is smooth and combined. Scrape into the prepared tin and level out.

  • STEP 5

    Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes in the tin before using the paper to lift onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  • STEP 6

    For the buttercream, put the butter into a bowl and use an electric mixer to beat for 5 minutes or until light and pale. With the mixer still running, slowly pour in the condensed milk a little at a time, beating until smooth and uniform before adding more. Mix in the vanilla – you should now have a light and fluffy buttercream texture.

  • STEP 7

    To assemble the cake, use a serrated knife to carefully slice the cake into three thin layers. Put the bottom layer on a serving plate and brush liberally with coffee, allowing it to soak in for a minute before spreading over a thin layer of the buttercream. Repeat with the second and third layers, finishing by spreading the remaining buttercream over the top and sides of the cake in a thin, naked-cake-style, layer. Put the cake in the fridge for 1 hour or until the buttercream is firm.

    Vietnamese coffee loaf cake
  • STEP 8

    When the cake is chilled make the glaze. Put the ingredients into a small pan and, over a very low heat, stirring constantly, heat until a smooth sauce-like texture has formed. Making the ganache in the pan like this is fine as long as you are careful to keep the temperature low and stir constantly to avoid the chocolate catching. Otherwise put all the ingredients in a heatproof jug and microwave in short bursts, stirring in between, until the chocolate has melted. Set the ganache aside for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture is no longer hot but still liquid. Remove the cake from the fridge and pour over the ganache, teasing it to the edges so the excess drips down the sides. Set aside for a few minutes for the ganache to firm slightly and then serve. The cake will keep for three days in an airtight container.

    Vietnamese coffee loaf cake


Three photos of Edd Kimber, his One Tin Bakes book and a brownie in a tin
Edd KimberBaking columnist

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