Matcha Azuki Cake

This recipe was inspired by a Green Tea Matcha Choco cake from a Korean baking youtube channel. Was hoping to create a light and fluffy matcha sponge, filled with light whipped cream similar to a Japanese strawberry shortcake. Something different and much lighter compared to the more western style cakes I’m more used to.

The base is a green tea sponge, leavened by whipping eggs and sugar till tripled in size, pale yellow and fluffy – you’ll need a light hand for this especially when folding in the dry ingredients. You can bake it in one or two 15cm cake tins, and slice into 4 layers. Assemble by layering the matcha white chocolate whipped cream, as well as Red bean paste. I used store bought azuki bean paste but you can definitely make your own as well. I also brushed on a matcha syrup for extra moistness and flavor. Finally, let the matcha sponge, whipped filling and azuki bean blend while it rests in the fridge, and if you’re a fan of moist, light Japanese style cake or if you’re a matcha fan, hopefully you will like this recipe as well.

The part that’s a little tricky about this is making the matcha cream the perfect texture, which I felt I could definitely improve for next time. It melted a bit too much for my liking. If you make this just make sure you turn on the air-con and be in close proximity to your fridge – stay patient and keep returning the cream to the fridge the moment it’s getting watery! Make sure not to overwhip it as well, which turns into butter. So err on the side of underwhipping, and stabilize it with gelatin like the method described here. An extra step that wasn’t in the original recipe but I’d highly recommend it if you’re making it in a hot climate, or planning to transport it a long distance.

And of course, big happy birthday to our Paeds Onco MO Yiling! 🙂 Love the kindness you bring to the patients and to our ward, and it’s been super nice being part of the same team. Best wishes and hope you have an excellent birthday weekend.

Matcha Azuki Cake

Makes one four-layered 18 cm (7 inch) cake
Matcha Azuki Cake adapted from Cooking tree 쿠킹트리

For the Cake:

155g Egg
110g Sugar
10g Honey
2g Vanilla extract
28g Unsalted butter
45g Milk
100g Cake flour
5g Green tea powder 

For Matcha whipped white chocolate filling:

70g white chocolate
10g Green tea powder 
300g whipping cream (whipped to 50%)
10g sugar
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin for stabilized whipped cream
4 teaspoons cold water

For Matcha Swiss Meringue Buttercream

3 large (90 grams) egg whites
170 grams granulated sugar
145 grams unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp matcha powder
Crushed maltesers for crunch (optional)

Additional Decorations

Red bean paste (store-bought)
White sprinkles and purple sugar flower
Matcha green tea sugar syrup (around 120 mls)

To make Matcha Sponge cake

Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees. Place eggs, sugar, honey and vanilla extract in a bowl, and set over a pot of hot water. Gently whip until temperature is around 40 degrees Celcius. Remove from heat. With a hand mixer, whip until you get a rich light cream-colored foam, around 5 minutes. Sift the flour and green tea powder, and fold in gently. 

Meanwhile, melt the butter and milk to a temperature of 50-60 degrees C. Scoop out a bit of the cake batter into the melted butter and mix to lighten it. Pour back into the main batter and fold in gently.

Pour batter into 18cm mold (or two cake pans). Bang the pan on the work surface to get rid of big bubbles, and use a chopstick to swirl around the batter as well. Bake for 40 minutes in the oven. Remove the cakes from the pans and cool to room temperature. Lay aside in the freezer or fridge while you make the whipped filling.

To make Matcha Whipped White Chocolate filling

Melt green tea chocolate (or white chocolate) in a double boiler and add green tea powder. In a separate bowl, whip up whipping cream to soft peaks. At this point, remember to stream in the gelatin mixture while whipping (method described below). Whip in the green tea chocolate mixture.

Tip: Remember not to let water touch the mixture! It will cause the white chocolate to seize and become unusable – a mistake that I made with this recipe! I had tried to lighten it up with milk. I ended up still using it, but it was just more chunky and difficult to mix in. 

To make stabilized whipped cream (optional – but highly recommend!): Stablize the cream by making a gelatin mixture (optional if you are serving straightaway, but I wanted extra stability). The ratio is 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin: 4 teaspoons cold water: 1 cup heavy cream. Place cold water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it, and let sit for 5 minutes. Once gelatin is set, place bowl in microwave (or double boiler which I use) and heat until gelatin turns to liquid, about 10 seconds. Whip cream for 1 minute and, stream in the melted gelatin in a small steady stream. Continue beating cream until medium-stiff peaks is reached.

To make Matcha Swiss Meringue Buttercream

In a large saucepan, place mixing bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Add egg whites and cups sugar and whisk together until frothy. Whisk constantly until mixture reaches 160˚F (takes about 3 min). Sugar should be fully dissolved (no granules when rubbing mixture between finger tips). Mixture will feel hot to the touch (or like the temperature of warm milk).

Once bowl is at room temperature, switch to paddle attachment, reduce to medium speed and add butter 1 Tbsp at a time, adding it just as fast as it is absorbed by meringue. Once all butter is in, scrape down the bowl and continue beating until it reaches a thick whipped consistency (3 min on med-high speed). If it looks lumpy or liquidy at all, keep beating until smooth, thick and whipped. Add 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp salt and mix on med-high until incorporated.

Fix mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium high speed until smooth and creamy. Begin adding room temperature butter, a few slices at a time. Add the salt and continue to whip until all the butter has been incorporated. Switch the paddle attachment and beat for a few more minutes, until the frosting is silky. Flavor buttercream by adding matcha powder to taste, and maltesers for crunch (optional)

To Assemble

Remove cooked cakes from the fridge. Slice horizontally into 4 layers, and trim out the edges with a knife. I also removed the browned tops and bottoms, but mainly for aesthetic purposes.

Place one sheet on your cake stand. Brush on matcha syrup for extra moistness (made by melting some white sugar with water, and brew some matcha into it). Spread on matcha whipped cream, and place another sheet. After the second layer, spread on the azuki paste thickly. It may help to pipe on a ring of matcha whipped cream to “contain” the center fillings! Apply cream to top and sides of cake, and smooth it out. Return to the fridge to chill. This is almost like a crumb coat as well.

After it’s set, frost the cake with Matcha Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and decorate accordingly. Serve it by placing in the fridge, and take it out around 5 minutes before – so that the filling stays nice and cold but allowing the buttercream to soften a bit as well!

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