A Sweet Culinary Playground: Green Tea Cake

One thing I regret to this day is not visiting Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki when I was in Paris a few years ago, to experience his famous Matcha Opera Cake, or any of his world-renowned green-tea inspired desserts for that matter. Ever since I read about him about five years ago in a Japanese fashion magazine, I’ve been smitten by his creativity and the ability to incorporate traditional Japanese ingredients such as matcha (green tea) and yuzu (citrus fruit) into authentic French pastries, and I’ve been inspired to include something similar to my own baking repertoire.

The thing that kept me from making any matcha desserts until now, however, was my inability to locate green tea powder, which is the key component of these desserts. I had tried several Japanese grocery stores in the past but all I could find were “green ice tea mix,” which already included sugar. And when I finally did find them, they were too expensive for me to afford. Then, when I was making my regular rounds to Teavana the other day, I ran into one that was reasonably priced at $16 an once so I snatched up a couple for my pantry. Now fully equipped, I was eagerly ready to enter the Franco-Japanese culinary melting pot.

While visiting Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit a few months back, I encountered this amazing recipe for Green Tea, Lavender, and Honey Cupcake Bombe. I had since filed it away in my baking “to do” folder hoping to someday bring it to life, and I was able to finally wipe off the dust and put this recipe to work! I thought about making the full-blown version of the bombe at first, but after contemplating I decided to just try the green tea cake recipe for more simple dessert.

green-tea-cake-011

Would you like a cake to go with my butter?

I recommend this recipe to anyone who is interested in making a dense, moist, oh-so-heavenly matcha cupcake or a sheet cake as I did here. I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of butter and sugar that went into this beautiful pistachio-colored batter but you will realize when you take a first bite that all the fat and calories are worth it.  And because it is rich, a small slice will satisfy your sweet tooth. One mistake I made was mixing the matcha power with the dry ingredients when the recipe called to dissolve the powder with milk and incorporate it into the wet ingredients.  Oops (but the end result still came out perfect, thank goodness).

green-tea-cake-008

Look how beautiful the batter looks!

My initial plan was to sandwich the sweet red bean (azuki) paste between two heart-shaped cake, but the cake was already pretty thick so I settled on placing azuki on the side, and finished off by sprinkling powered sugar on top. I matched the cake with steaming Japanese green tea, of course!

green-tea-cake-006

I really like the simplicity of this dessert. Keeping everything beautiful yet clean and simple allow the flavors to take center stage, which is what makes Japanese and French desserts truly timeless.

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25 thoughts on “A Sweet Culinary Playground: Green Tea Cake

  1. omg… it was the best! i’m drooling just looking at those photos… even the gooey dough looks yummy.
    i must say, it was one of the best/most successful desserts you’ve baked.
    i ate all the nicely wrapped to-go’s and didn’t share it with my roommates…

  2. Hi Saori!

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the dessert! I too think this recipe ranks as one of my favorites. It was exactly what I was hoping to bake! I’ll make it again soon!

    Hirono

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  4. Hi there, experimental_happy! Thanks for stopping by to check out my blog. Please let me know how the green tea cake turns out for you : – )

    Hirono

    • Thank you, Hirono. I finally tried baking green tea cupcakes – 66 mini cupcakes – thanks for the inspiration!

      if i can insert a picture – i will

      • Hi Norma! Oh, that is WONDERFUL to hear! 66 mini cucpakes … WOW! They must have been sooo cute! I wish I could have been there to sample a few … or 50 🙂

        Hirono

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  6. Hi Miya! Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!

    The green tea cake recipe is from Cupcake Bakeshop, a wonderful blog that features anything and everything about cupcakes! It was a part of this really fancy green tea cupcake and lavender ice cream bombe but I just took the green tea recipe for this. I used the heart-shaped cookie cutter for cute presentation!

    Here’s the link that should take you directly to the recipe!

    http://cupcakeblog.com/index.php/2006/08/green-tea-lavender-and-honey-cupcake-bombe/#comments

    Let me know if you have any questions! Happy baking!

    Hirono

  7. I could not find the recipe on the site that you linked in your response. Could you copy and paste the actual recipe for me please?

    IT LOOKS SO GOOD I MUST TRY IT.

    love
    alizadee.

  8. I’ve been trying to find the recipe for this green tea cake from Cupcake Bakeshop but the link is not working anymore. Can you email the recipe to my email? Thanks!

  9. Hi AlizaDee, Xuen, and eveyrone else who are dying to try this delicious green tea dessert!

    If you cannot access the above links, try going to Cupcake Bakeshop’s homepage one more time at http://cupcakeblog.com and click the August 2006 archive. Scroll down the page and the green tea recipe that I used is the second entry you see, titled, “Green Tea, Lavender, and Honey Cupcake Bombe.” It seems like some things have been moved around a bit since I last posted but it’s definitely still available on the site!

    I hope it works! Happy baking!

    Hirono

  10. Hi,

    On the Green Tea Cake recipe, the one provided on the link is a recipe for somewhat of an ice cream cupcake… from the photos you have on your site, the cake you featured looks like… well, a cake. Is there any way you can email the recipe to me?

    Thank You.

  11. Hi Madeleine,

    For the cake, just ignore all the ice cream and other stuff, and just used the cake recipe. Go to the section called, “Green Tea or ‘Matcha” cupcakes” and follow the recipe there. For mine, instead of making them into cupcakes, I just used the heart-shaped mold to shape the cake! Let me know if this clarifies!

    Happy baking!

    Hirono

  12. Hi there Hirono, what a beautiful cake yours is! 😀 My mom loves matcha and I would like to try baking an 8 or 9 inch cake for her upcming birthday. Is this recipe suitable form that, or can I double it? Did you have to increase the baking temperature/time when you baked this in the heart-shaped mould?

    Sorry for my bundle of questions, really look forward to your advice, many, many thanks =)

  13. Hi Dee! Thank you for the comment!

    For the 8-9′ inch pan, you would not need to double the batch. (You might be able to make two cakes if you use the 8″ pan — not 100% sure through). I followed Cupcake Bakeshop’s recipe exactly and I was able to make a cake big enough for Half Sheet Pan (18″ x 13″). I didn’t bake them in individual molds — what I did here was once the cake was cooled, I took one of the heart-shaped cookie cutters to cut the pieces out! I was initially going to sandwich the azuki bean paste in between two hearts but changed my mind after seeing how thick the cake turned out.

    Good luck on your matcha cake endeavors! l would love to know how it turns out! And please send my birthday wishes to your mom!

    Hirono

  14. Hi there Hirono, thank you so much for your reply! And so sorry for my extremely late one! My 8″ cake turned out perfect, I baked them in 2 separate 8″ tins, one layer was thinner though because the batter wasn’t enough to spread. Still the cake turned out lovely!! The matcha has to be of good quality since it’s the essence of the cake. Gonna invest in some premium matcha powder on my next shopping trip! 😀

    Thanks so much again!

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