Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tea-scented tea cake

I had a lovely invitation to visit a friend for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres yesterday. Rosemary is a longtime friend of my aunt’s and is now a friend of ours. She lives in a wonderful apartment on the Upper East Side and wanted to show us her great kitchen and the specialty cookbook store up the block (very dangerous: I bought two!).

I didn’t want to go empty handed, and brought along some truffle salt, which I am now in love with, and particularly like in the baked risotto dish I shared recently (coincidentally, Rosemary is making it for company this week so the timing was perfect!). I also decided to concoct a matcha tea cake, which was inspired by the different versions I’ve seen around the blogosphere lately, namely on Tartelette and 80 breakfasts. The versions I’ve seen include white chocolate, which I’m not terribly fond of, and it occurred to me that I could easily adapt the moist and marbled coffee cake that I love to create a matcha-marbled version. I love that cake for its moistness and perfect balance of sweetness: it’s a phenomenal base for any flavoring. I last used matcha to make green tea ice cream. Next, I'd like to try cookies.

The little cake, which I made in a loaf pan, was a hit. It’s not only delicious but the green marbling is quite beautiful: how perfect to perfume a tea cake with tea?

Matcha tea marbled tea cake

1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1.5 teaspoons matcha powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Butter a loaf pan. Line with a piece of parchment paper that covers bottom and long sides (leave some poking up from the pan to facilitate lifting the loaf out later). Butter the parchment paper.

3. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with sour cream. Add vanilla, and mix 1 minute.

4. Portion out 1/3 of the batter into a small bowl. Mix in matcha powder, stirring well to combine.

5. Spread one-third of the plain batter into prepared pan. Use a small offset spatchula to ensure an even, flat layer. Dollop with 1/3 of matcha batter and use a spatchula to gently spread the matcha layer on the top of the other. Spread another third of the plain batter on top, followed by another third of the matcha batter. Repeat one more time so that the final layer is the rest of the matcha batter. Run a thin knife through batter to marbleize. Run spatchula over top to ensure the batter is flat in the end.

6. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire cooking rack for a few minutes. Lift cake out by the parchment handles and allow to cool completely on rack.

Ah! Almost forgot: I'm submitting this to this month's "click" event, the theme of which is "au naturel." I know this image is a tad random here, but it needs to be posted to my blog!


Cannelle Et Vanille said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

bee said...

thanks for yet another beautiful CLICK entry.

Anonymous said...

Great recipe Sabra. I love how the green matcha creates the swirl in the cake. Very appealing!

Anonymous said...

Wow, your photos are just breath-taking! The lighting is perfect and the colors are so vibrant.. incredible!

Pille said...

It's beautiful! I've made a matcha loaf cakes few times, but never a marbled version!

Anonymous said...

Really beautiful cake photo - love the carrots too.

Katy said...

lovely! I've never tried matcha, where do you buy it? Do you have to go to specialty stores, or is it available in grocery stores?

Sabra said...

Thanks for your comments everyone!
Katy: you can buy it at specialty tea stores (often loose, by weight) or at a Japanese grocery store. I have not seen it in a typical grocery store - you usually see green tea (leaves) but not matcha (powder). You might get lucky though - some of the more available tea companies, like Harney and Sons, sell a matcha. There are certainly many on-line resources as well (including the prior link).

Helene said...

Yep,did mine without the white chocolate eiter, not something I keep in the pantry. It seemed it would be too sweet with it. Your rendition turned out perfect! The swirls are beautiful!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

first - that cake is following me around and each time it looks better LOL! love it!
second those carrots are lovely. I love the lighting in the shot. Perfect!

Gigi said...

The greens swirls are just beautiful. I swear the swirls are hypnotizing me to bake own of own! ...must bake green tea cake. :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

I have seen this cake around and your version looks amazing!

Sabra said...

I know - this cake is everywhere - at least the idea of a matcha swirl is everywhere. I saw yours, Helen, with cream cheese and rice flour but the rice flour scared me since I've never used it before and I didn't know what to expect! I did buy it and then chickened out! There are other versions with white chocolate - there are polka dots and swirls. It's so great to see everyone's interpretation - same idea - very different executions. The next time I make this (and there definitely will be a next time!) I'm going to try stripes instead of swirls - I just won't run my knife through in the end. I think that would be fun too!

Rachelle S said...

Those are some beautiful swirls there!

Anonymous said...

this is beautiful! i am so getting matcha powder just for this! :D Thanks for sharing! :)


tara said...

My mother has a specific fondness for marble cakes, and I just happen to have a tin of matcha in the cupboard. I do believe I will have to make this for her; it is so pretty in its colours and looks a lovely texture. Thanks for sharing!

Brilynn said...

I love the marble cakes I've been seeing lately! I made a chocolate and orange version this weekend, but I'd like to try it with matcha.

Kana said...

I know what you mean, there are matcha treats everywhere!!! I finally broke down and bought my own supply of matcha powder, yet to make anything out of it. Your cake looks beautiful!

Coffee and Vanilla said...


Just a short note to let you know that you are the winner of IFP in April:

Have a nice day!


test it comm said...

That looks amazing! I like baking with matcha.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful! I can almost smell it! Would you mind if I shared your recipe and photo on my tea blog? I will link back to you. Thanks!

Sabra said...

Thanks again everyone for the comments, the IFP award and everything! I really appreciate it!

Denise: I love links so that's great - thanks for your interest. I just ask that you attribute the recipe and photo clearly to me, Sabra from Cookbook Catchall with a clear link. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Hi Sabra. The cake looks so amazing. Really can’t wait to try it out. Just wondering, what size of loaf pan did you use? Also, could you please specify other shapes of baking pans that suit this recipe? Thank you!

Sabra said...

I used a standard-sized loaf pan. I think you could also do this with a bundt pan. Let me know how it goes.

Unknown said...

hi, i just baked this! recipe produced a med + small loaf pan match cake. i used yogurt instead of s.c.

i cant wait to slice it!

Nat said...

Hi Sabra. I’ve tried this as cupcakes (I added red-bean paste as topping), they were really great. Thanks a lot for the recipe. I want to make this again soon in a loaf pan. But I want to try using self-raising flour. Could you or anyone please tell me how to make this recipe with self-raising flour? Which ingredients I have to omit & by how much? Any changes to baking time & temperature? I’d greatly appreciate the feedback.

Sabra said...

Hi Nat!
So glad you liked the recipe. Cute adaptation! Self-rising flour has salt and a leavening agent added. If you google it, you will see what it contains and you can adjust recipe accordingly. But to be safe, I would stick to the recipe. That way you have control of the leavening agents. I almost never use self-rising flour. Hope that helps.

Jill said...

This is beautiful!

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