We’ve all heard about matcha powder and if you haven’t, just have a look through any recent article in the past few months talking about the latest superfood.
But what’s slightly less common in the UK is matcha cake and after being sent in some Bloom matcha in ‘mindpower’ flavour powder I set to work at creating something to incorporate the powder.
While I think staying healthy is important, I am generally not too keen on making cakes which adhere to this as if you’re eating cake, you’re not doing it as a diet food but for a treat and a lot of the ‘bad’ ingredients such as the butter and sugar are the ones that make it taste so good.
However, after a quick search the benefits that appeared about this magical green tea powder were enticing. Among other things, there are more than 1,000 antioxidants per gram, it’s a natural source of caffeine, a high source of fibre and burns 40 per cent more calories (which may slightly balance out the sugar in this recipe…).
Using matcha in baking is well known in Asian countries but at the moment it’s not such a common thing to do over here and there wasn’t an abundance of recipes when I searched. What I wanted was for the cakes to have the taste of the matcha but not to be overblown by it as too much of the strong green tea flavour can make for a bitter, unpleasant taste.
To balance out the matcha I also added lemon which lightened up the whole thing and was a perfect balance for the heavier flavour of the matcha.
While I can’t say too much about the health benefits, the sugar and butter are going to outweigh those, these cakes are a sweet way to enjoy matcha powder and are deliciously light with a hint of green tea and lemon.
225g self raising flour
225g soft unsalted butter
3 eggs, at room temperature
50ml milk (whole is best but semi skimmed will do)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon matcha powder (I used Bloom matcha)
100g unsalted soft butter
500g icing sugar
Dried and/or fresh flowers
Juice of one lemon
Food colouring for the icing
How to make…
Preheat the oven to 190C/180 fan/Gas 4 and line two 24-cup cake trays with fairy cake case.
Blend together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. This takes around three minutes with an electric mixer, double without. If you’re using an electric mixer remember to scrape down the sides regularly with a spatula to make sure everything is mixed in properly.
Once the mixture has doubled and lightened in colour, add in the eggs one at a time. In between each egg pop in a dollop of flour to stop the mixture separating.
Add the matcha powder and milk then sieve in the flour and baking powder slowly.
Carry on mixing everything together until combined – around two minutes with an electric mixer, four without. Spoon the mixture into the cake cases until they are two thirds full. Bang each tin sharply on the table to get rid of the air bubbles and then put in the oven for 20 minutes.
Watch the cakes like a hawk and as soon as they’ve darkened in colour and spring back to your touch they re done.
Transfer to a wire cooling rack and wait until they are stone cold before attempting the icing – do not skip this stage otherwise you’ll end up with a slippy icing mess which soaks into the cakes and does not look pretty.
While you’re waiting for the cakes to cool make your icing. Beat together the butter and sugar until it forms stiff peaks. It should be thick – like soft butter – and the longer you beat it for the smoother it will become. Once it’s thickened add in the lemon juice and then get ready to decorate.
If you want to make different colours, spoon the icing in separate bowls and add the food colouring. I like to use colouring paste rather than the liquid dye because it doesn’t mess with the consistency of the icing but either will work.
Next dollop the icing on top of your cakes – I tend to do this with a spatula to create an elegant swirl but for a more refined look you can pipe on the icing to make a spiral. Carefully place a flower on top – if you’re using fresh add them at the very last minute or they will wilt.