Today, my diet once again includes all the food groups outlined in Canada’s Food Guide, but with more plant-based foods than before. This also means that I’ve returned to baking more traditional desserts, much to the relief of my friends, coworkers and family.
As a nod to my vegan adventures and to the beverage that got me through my deep cravings for Starbucks’ flat white latte, I want to share possibly the most heavenly cake I’ve ever made and tasted. This matcha almond layer cake is inspired by the soy latte that I would often order at Starbucks and Aroma Espresso Bar to get me through my milk cravings. If you’re not familiar with matcha, it’s a green tea powder, which I find to be softer on the palate than plain green tea – learn more about matcha here.
My mom, who joined me on my vegan adventure without any hesitation, also inspired this dessert. For her last birthday, I pulled this creation together, which includes one layer of almond cake sandwiched by delectable layers of matcha cake. Matcha Swiss buttercream icing (who ever would have thought of this?) fills the layers and covers the cake, which is then topped with white chocolate matcha ganache. The cake definitely tasted of tea, but it was fragrant, not overbearing and, to my surprise, it had universal appeal. A warning though: matcha is quite costly. I used the grand cru matcha from David’s Tea at $19.98 (CAD) for just 50g (which is sufficient for this recipe).
Matcha cake layers
Adapted from a recipe posted by TIRAMISUKI on AllRecipes.com.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons matcha
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup plain yogurt at room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Butter two 9” round cake pans and line with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, salt and matcha.
- In a stand mixer, beat together sugar, oil and eggs until smooth.
- Stir in 1½ teaspoons vanilla.
- Mix in the flour mixture alternately with the yogurt, starting and ending with the flour mixture, until just incorporated (i.e. 3 additions flour mixture, 2 additions yogurt).
- Pour batter into prepared pans.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let sit for 30 minutes before releasing from the pans.
Almond cake layer
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ cups cake flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup homogenized milk
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 3 egg whites minus 1 teaspoon
- Butter a 9″ round cake pan and line with parchment paper.
- Combine the milk and almond extract in a measuring cup and set aside.
- In a stand mixture, beat the egg whites until they are stiff (but still moist) and form peaks. Set aside.
- Cream the butter in a stand mixer until it is white (2-3 minutes).
- Add the sugar and beat until fluffy (5-7 minutes).
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.
- Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture alternately with the milk mixture, ending with the flour mixture (i.e. 3 additions of flour mixture, 2 additions of milk mixture). Do not over beat!
- Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter and then pour the batter into the cake pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 27-30 minutes or until the top bounces back when you touch it.
- Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then release it to a wire rack to cool completely.
Matcha buttercream icing
- 6 large egg whites
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1¼ pounds unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons matcha powder dissolved in 1 ½ tablespoons hot water
- Combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water (at medium-high heat, but make sure it doesn’t boil. The bowl should not touch the water).
- Heat the egg white mixture until it reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, whisking continuously but gently. This process takes quite a while (15 minutes or so).
- Remove the bowl from the heat and place it back on the base of the stand mixer. Immediately start whipping the egg whites on medium-high using the whisk attachment.
- Whip the egg whites until they become fluffy and double in volume. This usually takes a while (10-15 minutes) and even then it isn’t cool. I tend to stop whipping after 15 minutes and let the bowl cool for a few minutes longer.
- Switch to the paddle attachment. With the speed on medium-low, add the butter chunks one at a time, making sure the butter is blended after each addition.
- Once all the butter is blended in, beat the mixture on high speed for several minutes longer, until the mixture is thick and smooth.
- Add the vanilla extract and matcha mixture and beat until incorporated and the colour is consistent.
White chocolate matcha ganache
Adapted from the my name is yeh blog.
- 8 oz/240g white chocolate, cut into small pieces
- 2 teaspoons matcha
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
- Place the matcha in a small saucepan and incorporate the cream slowly, with a whisk, until there are no lumps.
- Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it starts to boil.
- Immediately pour the hot mixture over the chocolate chips. Let stand for a couple of minutes until the chocolate has softened, and then mix it together until the colour is consistent.
Some assembly required …
You will have two green matcha tiers and one white almond tier. Make sure the tiers are level. Place a matcha tier on your serving plate and ice it with the buttercream. Place the almond layer on top and ice it with the buttercream. Top it with the second matcha tier and cover the entire cake with the remaining buttercream. Then drizzle the ganache over it and enjoy.