Fluffy, Light as a Cloud Matcha Cake.
It's February and the world just seems to be in deep hibernation. We're all just trying to beat the last cold snap of the seemingly never-ending winter, every second person I speak to seems to be on a diet (freeletics seems to be the app of choice right now), fashion week in Milan is approaching and there are all these tall lanky-looking guys and girls everywhere in the city (only just extra motivation for us common people to work out), and honestly I'm just looking forward to the day I can put away my heavy coats and scarves.
Thank god it's a short month.
I've always considered myself a healthy eater, but abstaining from delicious food just makes me miserable and misery makes me overeat. I'm a terrible emotional eater.
So that's where this matcha cake takes place in one's life. It's literally the lightest cake recipe I know, whilst not being just a boring breakfast sponge.
Matcha makes all the difference.
I made this thinking of my dear friends who are counting calories on their food diary apps - I actually brought over extra slices to my girls and they gobbled them up without second thoughts.
The recipe is fairly simple. You will just have to have the basic knowledge (I say basic, and I can already hear my mates saying, yeh, basic to you that is!) of whipping up egg whites to a fluffy meringue, and 'folding' the mix, which prevents losing the volume you have so painstakingly whipped up.
I didn't take photos of the actual whipping or folding process because I'm too chaotic and there's no way my process photos will be any decent to show to the world. But if you need a little tutorial, check out Martha Stewart's tutorial for beating egg whites.
This is a recipe from a Japanese website I had earmarked years ago, and have made many many many times, without fail. For birthday cakes I would divide the sponge into three layers and frost with a whipped fresh cream white chocolate frosting. The cake is so delicately light that a buttercream frosting will just overpower it too much, so keep it fresh if you choose to transform the sponge into something special.
So here is. No more secret matcha cake recipe, I'm putting it all out there for you. 👀
Japanese Matcha (Green Tea) Sponge Cake
for 18 cm cake
3 eggs, separated, room temperature
120 g caster sugar
100 g flour
9 g matcha
50 ml milk
30 g butter
Line your 18 cm cake tin with butter, the baking paper. Set oven to 170C.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour and matcha powder together. Set aside.
In a microwave bowl, or a small pot over a low heat, melt the butter with the milk. Let cool whilst you work on the rest.
In a large bowl (make sure it is super clean) take your egg whites and start beating on low, and gradually increase to med-high speed. You want to beat them to soft peaks, this may take a few minutes.
When the egg whites reach soft peaks, start adding the sugar in a stream - i.e. don't dump it all in, you will make your egg whites collapse! Keep beating on med-high until you get a glossy meringue with stiff peaks. Be patient, you're going to make it.
Now add the egg yolks, beat until combined.
Shift in all the flour and matcha mix to the egg whites, and fold gently to combine well.
Add a third of the melted butter and milk mixture and fold in. Follow with another third, fold, and repeat. Adding the liquid in one go will make it all sink to the bottom of the bowl - that's trouble! So take your time, but be confident.
Pour the cake mix into the prepared tin and drop the entire thing from about 30 cm above your work surface - or floor, a couple of times, to get rid of any large air bubbles hiding inside. They're the things that look like big holes when you cut open your cake later on - no good, we don't want these.
Place tin on the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Now - there are a few tricks after you take the cake out of the oven to maintain it's moisture and to flatten off the domed top, if it happens.
1. As soon as the cake is out, place a clean, damp tea towel on your work surface, flip the tin over, placing the top of the cake on the towel. Remove the tin and the parchment paper, then replace the tin again to cover. Leave for about 3 minutes.
2. Remove the tin, flip cake over again so that the cake is upright, place on a wire rack. Cover with a damp towel and set to cool completely.
Using a fine mesh or sifter, sprinkle over with a mix of icing sugar and matcha powder, or, if you are feeling fancy, cut the cake into three layers and frost as you please.
I like to eat my simple slice with a glass of milk, and so does 🐸, but of course, it's all yours now so go get her! 😎