July 10, 2014

Green Tea Cake

Green tea latte and Green tea cake

All-you-can-eat sushi was something I only experienced when I got to university. Before that, if you can believe it, I had never tried sushi. At my first sushi dinner, my friends explained what all the different names were and I thought it was unbelievable that you ticked things off a list and all these delicious things suddenly piled up on your table. By the end of all the sushi, tempura, rolls and sashimi I was stuffed. Then someone suggested dessert. "Dessert? What kind of dessert do you get with sushi?" I asked. "Green tea ice cream!" That smooth, refreshing ice cream was unlike any tea creation I had tasted before. It was also a few years later, after many, many sushi meals, that I learned that the ice cream is actually made from matcha.

Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder

Matcha green tea powder is made from tea leaves that have been grown in the shade, which slows down the process. Matcha green tea is a little different than regular green tea, as it doesn't have that bitter tea taste. Matcha powder can be used in cooking, baking and drink making; however, it is not cheap. Luckily I received a bag for review from Kiss Me Organics and I did not pay the hefty $29 a bag price for 4oz (113g). I mean, I understand that gourmet, culinary grade ingredients, such as saffron, pine nuts and truffles, come at a high cost. You pay for the high quality and you don't use a lot, so in theory, it's that price for almost a lifetime supply.

The health benefits are like anything; you have to take them with a grain of salt. You won't get healthier or skinnier by eating green tea chocolate or milkshakes. The powder claims to give you more energy, smoother skin and helps to burn calories. Health hoopla aside (true or not) it is neat if, like me, you want to experiment with green tea desserts. And adding it to your morning smoothie will save you from buying all those expensive matcha Starbucks drinks. You can buy this Matcha Green Tea Powder on Amazon. (Learn more about Kiss Me Organics products).

Homemade Green Tea Latte

Along with the package I also received a free recipe booklet that included recipes for drinks, smoothies, sweets, dips and main courses. Did you know you can cook matcha with meats and even put it on pizza? My eyes have been opened to the possibilities of this ingredient as something that is not just trendy. The book suggests enjoying a few cups of hot matcha tea (matcha powder and hot water) to get to know the flavours and get a sense for how much to use. After a few tests, I am still working on perfecting my green tea lattes. 

For a birthday cake back in May, I decided to be adventurous--although it's more adventurous for the recipient of the cake--and make a green tea custard cake. The last time I made a green coloured dessert, it was made with avocados and I never heard the end of it. "Hey look, I made you a green cake for your birthday" could go either way. Luckily, it was a hit and I was eating it cold out of the fridge in my hands for the next few days. 

Matcha Custard Cake

Matcha Cake (recipe from raspberri cupcakes)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1-2 tbsp matcha powder (you can adjust for taste)
1/2 cup butter
2 cups milk
4 eggs, separated at room temperature
4 drops of white vinegar
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tbsp water

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease or line a square 8 inch baking pan.
2. Sift flour and matcha powder together in a bowl.
3. Melt the butter in the microwave and set aside. Warm the milk to lukewarm and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites and vinegar to stiff peaks. Set aside.
5. In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light. Mix in the butter and tablespoon of water for about 2 minutes.
6. Mix in the flour until evenly incorporated. Whisk in the milk until everything is mixed.
7. Fold in the egg whites, 1/3 at a time. Repeat until all the egg whites are folded. Keep mixing until the egg whites are incorporated.
8. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the top is golden. Allow the cake to completely cool before cutting and dusting with icing sugar. 

Green Tea Matcha Cake

The cake had a creamy, firm custard inside with a strong, refreshing green tea taste. I would suggest adding a few drops of green food colouring to get the colour right. A little dusting of icing sugar and a sprinkling more of the matcha powder covers up any inconsistencies. If I were to buy this myself, I would have started with a much smaller and cheaper bag of powder; however, I like that it's a new "gourmet" addition to my pantry that I can use to add interesting flavours and colours to my food. 

Disclosure: I received a sample of Organic Matcha Green Tea powder for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my own experiences.

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