I am a total matcha fiend. I could eat it, drink it, I even tried preparing my bath with it once… bad idea. It was a swampy mess.
Truly though matcha makes some of the most amazing desserts. When I was in Japan I had matcha cake, chocolate, ice cream, mochi, steamed buns, you name it. It is one of, if not the most popular flavour in Japan. Matcha and red bean is a classic pairing.
For those of you wondering what matcha is, it is a premium style of green tea from Japan. The biggest thing that sets it apart is that rather than traditional tea leaves which you soak in water and then remove, matcha is a very fine powder which you consume in its entirety. Not only does it make matcha easy to bake with, make into ice cream, lattes, and other desserts, but it is in fact better for you. Think about it, green tea is healthy just drinking the water the leaves were in, but imagine eating the leaves too. Your body is getting all the nutrients that usually get thrown away. Not that different from eating all the vegetables which you use to make a soup stock, rather than just consuming the broth.
The other thing that makes matcha so great is that premium matcha tea is shade-grown, this means the farmer will cover the plant except for the top bunch of leaves, the plant has to work harder to photosynthesize and thus pumps extra chlorophyll into the top leaves. Those leaves are then hand harvested and ground to a fine dust. That final product is packed with anti-oxidants, chlorophyll, and lots of other good stuff.
It seems like a lot of information just to throw into a cake batter, but knowledge is power my friends, and now you can regale your guests with some fun facts when you serve them this awesome cake.
Onto the recipe:
This is one of those simple recipes you can keep in your back pocket if friends or guests are coming over. It’s perfect to snack on with tea or coffee, not too sweet, but rich enough to satisfy you.
Yield: 1 9x 5 loaf-shaped cake
1/4 Cup butter at room temperature (I like to do half butter, half coconut oil to give it extra complexity and I generally stick to salted butter in all of my baking)
1 Cup sugar
2 Large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 Cup milk (nut milk can be substituted)
1 Cup flour
2 Tbsp Matcha Powder (This is quite dark and rich. You can increase or decrease the quantity to taste)
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 Generous pinch of salt
1. Pre-heat the oven to 325F
2. Cream the butter and sugar with a paddle attachment on your mixer, or use a hand mixer.
3. Beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla together and add it in increments to the butter mixture. Beat together thoroughly. 2-3mins
4. In another bowl mix together flour, matcha, baking powder, and salt.
5. Add this to the egg mixture in 2 batches.
6. Mix till the batter is uniform and silky. Make sure there are no globs of matcha powder or butter.
7. Place into a buttered 9×5 loaf pan
8. Bake for 45mins until the edges are light brown and the top is very slightly crispy.
9. Let it cool before cutting and serving. I mean you don’t have to wait till it is cool… just warm. Itadakimasu!
Itadakimasu- bon appétit in Japanese.
This recipe is a basic pound cake to which you can add a variety of ingredients.
Matcha pairs well with red beans, blueberries, dark chocolate, coconut, and chestnut cream. Just to name a few. If you want to spice things up try adding a 1/2 cup or so of any of the aforementioned ingredients. Fold them in to the batter with a spatula before step 7 and bake as directed.