Vietnamese New Year Cupcakes

February 7, 2008 at 10:59 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 22 Comments

Most people are use to hearing “Chinese” New Year around this time of the year but since Vietnam also goes by the lunar calendar and I am Vietnamese… Today is Vietnamese New Year (Viet pride! haha) too, Year of the Rat, and to celebrate I made some cupcakes inspired by my foodie friend, Nina and her recent Asian “cookie” recipe.

Red and gold are important colors in Asian culture. It symbolizes health and prosperity. I am kinda bummed that I could not get the frosting to be more “red”. Instead its like a hot pink! (The picture makes it look orange though. weird lighting?) Oh well… I still think they turned out pretty cute!



(Recipes from 4Obsessions & | photos from me!)


For cupcakes
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 C Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 C water
2 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 C well-shaken buttermilk
2 T vanilla
2 C all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt

For frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
red food coloring


To make cupcakes–
Preheat oven to 350. Put cupcake papers in your muffin tins.

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, then whisk in cocoa.  (I sifted cocoa into the butter to avoid lumps.)  Add water and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in separately sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl. Then sift again into the cocoa mixture and whisk until just combined (it will be a little bit lumpy).

Fill cupcake papers to about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes until a skewer or toothpick comes out clean. It’s a moist cake, so don’t worry if a few crumbs stick to your tester.

To make frosting–
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.

Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Garnish with gold dragees and fortune cookie. See recipe below.

Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Husband rating: A
He loves the chocolate “cake” but not a huge buttercream frosting fan.

Wifey rating: A
I enjoyed the whole cupcake down to the last crumb. LOL.

Other rating: A-
Many of our friends and family liked it alot but most of them thought the buttercream was too sweet and scraped it off. haha. I think its more of a cultural thing though.



(Recipe from | photos from me!)

Makes 12 servings (1 cookie=1 serving)


1 egg white
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a cookie sheet. Write fortunes on strips of paper about 4 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Generously grease 2 cookie sheets.

Mix the egg white and vanilla until foamy but not stiff. Sift the flour, salt, and sugar and blend into the egg white mixture. Place teaspoonfuls of the batter at least 4 inches apart on one of the prepared cookie sheets. Tilt the sheet to move the batter into round shapes about 3 inches in diameter. Be careful to make batter as round and even as possible. Do not make too many, because the cookie have to be really hot to form them and once they cool it is too late. Start with 2 or 3 to a sheet and see how many you can do.

Bake for 5 minutes or until cookie has turned a golden color 1/2 inch wide around the outer edge of the circle. The center will remain pale. While one sheet is baking, prepare the other.

Remove from oven and quickly move cookie with a wide spatula and place upside down on a wooden board. Quickly place the fortune on the cookie, close to the middle and fold the cookie in half. Place the folded edge across the rim of a measuring cup and pull the pointed edges down, one on the inside of the cup and one on the outside. Place folded cookies into the cups of a muffin tin or egg carton to hold their shape until firm.


(You can probably tell from the picture that I got better timing on the “folding” as I made more cookies. haha)

TIPS & TRICKS: I have never made a fortune cookie before but it wasn’t as hard as I thought after I got the hang of it. Here are a couple things that helped me go from cracked cookie mess to fortune cookie success! (wow.  Sometimes my literary genius surprises even me!  ::rubbing knuckles on chest::)

1. Don’t try to make more than 1-3 at a time b/c they have to be hot/warm to be malleable enough to bend without cracking. I was making 2 at a time.
2. Butter/grease the pan each time! It makes the batter easier to get off so that you don’t waste time scraping it off while it looses heat.
3. Recipe says “wide spatula” but I thought my small slanted frosting spatula worked so much better at getting under the batter.
4. Patience! Friends that know me well know that I lack this trait but you have to be patient for this recipe esp if you don’t have any helping hands.
5. HAVE FUN! I admit I squealed after I made every cookie. LOL.

(You have anything to add, Nina?)

Husband rating: A+
Taste just like a chinese takeout fortune cookie.

Wifey rating: A+
ditto hubs!

Other rating: A+
I should have made more fortune cookies b/c thats what everyone wanted to eat! Even the uggos. haha.



  1. Those are soooooo cute!
    Happy New Year!

  2. […] Gilmore Girls News – #1 Community for Gilmore Girls wrote an interesting post today on Vietnamese New Year CupcakesHere’s a quick excerpt…by my foodie friend, Nina and her recent Asian “cookie” recipe. … food coloring along with gold dragees and garnished with a fortune… […]

  3. Gorgeous! I’m hoping to make some fortune cookies for a Valentine’s Day meal I have planned (my partner adores Asian food), so I thought if I made some homemade fortune cookies I might just surprise his socks off. Any tips…?


  4. I guess it is good someone got you two colors of draggees, huh? Red frosting is such a pain! What type of color are you using? I might have a new suggestion for you.

  5. Cute idea! They are adorable.

  6. So stinkin’ cute CB! I’m so glad I inspired you… hmmm, I tend to be inspiring lots these days…. :)

  7. These are adorable!!!! :)

  8. The dreaded red! It really is the running joke in most bakeries. It’s all about the type of coloring you are using. I really heart the fortune cookies on the cupcakes- very very clever idea. If I owned a chi-chi Asian rest. I think I’d want it to be a staple on the dessert menu. How cewl would that be?

  9. BB, thanky love! Here’s wishing the new year brings you and J lots of luck in life, love and golf! ;)

    JUNIPER, I like your partner already! I LOVE Asian foods. Honestly the fortune cookies weren’t hard at all. It just took me a couple tries to get the timing down right so that it was warm enough to fold before it would cool and crack. Check back later and I’ll edit my entry with recipe and tips, k?

    ZEBE, oh its so freaking awesome of that person ;) I used Wilton’s icing gel. I swear I dumped by 2-3 tsps of gel in there and it was still pink. Any thoughts cake queen?

    STEFANI, thanky fellow cupcake-er! :) btw I left you a comment on your latest experiment. Let me know if you want some PNCs, k?

    NINA, seriously! You’ve been my muse lately. Keep it up! haha

    MRSABY, thanky chica! Its too bad someone doesn’t want any goodies mailed to her or I’d send you some. LOL.

    TEMPERED, why is red so hard? I really put alot of gel in and it just went from light pink to hot pink. No sign of red. booo. Your chi-chi rest idea is very fab. If you see a restaurant doing it you know I did it first, k? haha.

  10. I love them! Great idea, CB!!!

  11. ALANNA, thanky chica! They were pretty darn cute I must say ;)

  12. these are amazingly cute! You never cease to amaze me!

  13. Those are the cutest thing ever! You should send those too… no, you should come here and make those! Heck, all of y’all should come here and we can have a big cupcake party. Ten minutes from the beacj y’all, this is where I live. Florida vacation cupcake beach party?

    Happy New Year!

  14. ANDREA, and YOU are always good for my ego! teehee. Have I turned you to the cuppycakes side yet?? ;)

  15. LEMON, honestly I would have totally send you some BUT they are allllll gone! Hmmm… cupcake beach party? I am SO there! ;)

  16. ::cough, cough:: aren’t those MY tips, lol. I had the best luck with my nylon fish turner with getting the cookies of the baking sheet.

  17. NINA, haha. I didn’t say they were “my” tips, just tips that were helpful! ;) Give me credit for 3/5 though. haha. But I was definitely successful b/c of you. Mucho thanks!

  18. I can’t wait to make fortune cookies for hubs on Valentines. I think I’ll give fortunes that he’ll reallllly want to come true. ::wink::

  19. Happy New Year–these are so creative and cute, and I would enjoy them any time of year!

  20. RACHEL, you baaaaaaaaad girl! oooh can I help make up the fortunes? I got some slutty ones. Maybe I’ll have to do that for T too. haha.

    CAKESPY, thanky!! Love reading your comments as always…

  21. What a nerd. You folded them backwards…. ;)

  22. NINA, well crap. suckybuttloving. nft

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