Sunday, 19 October 2014

Matcha and chocolate cupcakes

When Tombo Tea kindly offered me a sample of their matcha baking mix I was intrigued and also a little wary.  I don’t like green tea as a drink but, when I’ve tried it in bakes, have always enjoyed it. I pondered how best to bake with matcha: it has a fresh, clean, almost grassy taste so figured it would balance well with rich ingredients like chocolate and cream cheese.  These cupcakes were the result of my musings and I am extremely pleased with them!

One of my great joys in baking (I already know I’m overselling this) is when you take a teaspoon of something, tip it out and it holds its shape.  Look at this lovely ball of greenness:

I loved how green the frosting turned out; one of the features of Tombo Tea’s matcha baking mix is that it retains its green colour.  It would be perfect for any Halloween bakes but also all year as it’s a natural rather than garish colour.  I also enjoyed something being green but not minty – it’s always interesting to see everyone’s expectations challenged; we get conditioned that certain colours equal certain flavours so it’s nice to shake things up!

The matcha cut through the very rich frosting; the balance between freshness and richness was perfect and at that moment I became a convert to green tea!  The chocolate cupcakes didn’t benefit from the colour, but again the addition of the matcha elevated these to something lighter and fresher than the usual rich chocolate cake.

Definition of sod’s law: the cupcake you pick to cut in half will always be the one you tested during baking with the skewer.  Notice the little vertical line in the centre at the top?

Now some eagle eyed readers will notice that the recipe makes 12 cupcakes but there are only 11 in the tin.  I have a two word answer for you, my friends: cook’s perks.

Thanks to Tombo Tea for sending me the sample of matcha baking mix - I absolutely loved it.


For the sponges:
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
175g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
145g self raising flour
30g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
2 tablespoons milk, if needed

For the frosting:
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
300g icing sugar
180g cream cheese – I used Philadelphia
1 ½ teaspoon matcha green tea powder


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Line a cupcake tin with 12 paper cases.

Start by making the sponges: beat together the butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy.  Don’t skimp on this stage.

Beat in the vanilla.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding some of the flour if it looks like it might curdle.  Use this as a learning opportunity – if it starts to curdle, you need to beat the butter and sugar for longer next time.

Fold in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, matcha powder.

If necessary, add the milk to loosen the mixture to a dropping consistency (I needed to use it).

Spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the sponges comes out clean.  Probably best to check the cupcakes after 20 minutes in case your oven is quicker than mine.

Leave to cool – out of the tin - on a wire rack.

Now make the frosting: beat the butter until it is pale and whippy looking.

Add the icing sugar and beat again until well incorporated.

Beat in the cream cheese and matcha.

Pipe or spread over the sponges.

Refrigerate until 20 minutes before serving.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Snowy said...

Matcha green tea powder is something which has been on my list to try. These cupcakes look delicious - luscious topping!

Katie said...

They look lovely and I like the idea of using the green tea in the frosting. I've never seen powder quite like that before. Nice flavour combo

Haha its always the way with sods law. Like breaking open a cookie for a photo of melty chocolate chips only to find it broke showing no chips at all!

Catherine said...

I am certain the green tea added a wonderful flavor with the richness of the chocolate and also a healthy benefit. ~ Catherine

Laura Denman said...

Well said! Cooks perks are a must. This look delicious and I can imagine how wonderful the earthy green tea flavour is with the richer chocolate one.

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

I have to admit, I am not a great lover of green tea (although my husband drinks it all the time). But I will take your word for the ability to have a full taste conversion if it is added to baking...... these certainly look amazing little cakes which are worth checking out! The colour of the matcha powder is stunning!

Cakelaw said...

These look marvellous!

Choclette Blogger said...

All the matcha chocolate cakes I've made have proved to be extremely popular with all concerned. I like to use it layered or marbled with the chocolate so it retains its bright green colour, either that or use white chocolate.

Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane said...

Lovely, and very healthy too! If you don't like it in teas, you could try a matcha latte or smoothie? (With vanilla ice cream!)

Gloria Baker said...

Look georgeous CC!! I love matcha! But still I dont find here in chinese stores!
Love the pics!!

Jessica Holmes said...

Oh these cupcakes look lovely. Your beautiful piping looks perfect!

Jason Underwood said...

Wow! That is awesome! Looks like a blockbuster idea. There is really always a food for all occassions and purposes. Thanks for sharing the recipe! All the best to you!

Jason Underwood @ La Patisserie Bakery

Maggie said...

The cupcakes look glorious, loving the piping. I'm not sure if I would like matcha especially as I don't drink tea!

Stuart Vettese said...

Cook's perks rule! Especially with cupcakes as delicious looking as these :)