Matcha Chocolate Cake + GIVEAWAY!

Alternating layers of matcha 'green tea' and chocolate cake with creamy matcha white chocolate ganache filling from "Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes."

Matcha Chocolate Cake from "Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes."

Nine year ago exactly, I traveled to Tokyo for the first time.  It was November and we spent American Thanksgiving dining at the New York Grill up on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel (you know – the restaurant from Lost in Translation).  Besides this seemingly American meal (although absent of stuffing and canned cranberry sauce), I’ll remember that trip mostly for all the amazing and new foods I got to try.  In fact, it was this trip that first introduced me to the wonderful world of matcha!

Matcha Chocolate Cake from "Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes."
Matcha Chocolate Cake from "Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes."

Prior to my first trip to Asia, I had the privilege of traveling internationally to various parts of Europe, North America, and even Australia.  I’ve always loved exploring new cities, trying out new foods, seeking out cool desserts, and absorbing the different cultures.  Thousands of miles away from home, I was able to navigate around these other cities easily since most people still spoke English and I could sometimes even figure out dinner menus on my own.  But landing in Tokyo was much different.  The lights!  The crowds!  I could not make out not one word on the signs and it took us about 45 minutes just to leave the train station, but stepping out into Shibayu Crossing was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever experienced!

After a few days, afternoon tea in London and even grabbing a pint at a beer garden in Munich feels some-what familiar, but nothing compares to eating ramen in a tiny restaurant off of a random side-street of one of the busiest intersections in the world or being totally fascinated by the noodle-like substances that topped nearly all of the desserts in Tokyo.  As a first-time visitor, I found the city very hard to navigate.  It is not set up as a grid like a lot of other large cities and I could barely translate any street signs.  Around each corner held a new surprise!

I still have dreams about the best gyozo I ever ate in Harajuko.  I’ve been trying to find a taiyaki fish cake that tastes better than red bean paste-filled ones from the street cart near Shinjuku, but I haven’t yet.  And those noodle-like things on desserts?  Those were sweet chestnut-paste noodles!  Strangely enough, I even had my first Donut Plant donut in Tokyo.  But it was probably the tin of matcha powder that I took home to try out that made the biggest contribution to my culinary journey.

Matcha Chocolate Cake from "Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes."
Matcha Chocolate Cake from "Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes."
I went to Tokyo right around the time I seriously got into pastry as a full-time profession. I was continuously on the lookout for inspiration and new recipe ideas. Japanese dessert are in a category of their own, and I was excited to incorporate some of the concepts I saw into my own baking. Up until this point, I was fairly familiar with green teas. But matcha – that was new. Even though I could not make out one singe bit of the instructions, I bough a tin of matcha powder to take home and experiment with. A couple years later, I created this Matcha Chocolate Cake and the most delicious, creamy Matcha Ganache.
— Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes
Matcha Chocolate Cake from "Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes."
Matcha Chocolate Cake from "Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes."
Matcha Chocolate Cake from "Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes."

I can't jet back to Tokyo every time I need a matcha refill, and I expect that you can either.  Thankfully, I've teamed up with Aiya America for an awesome giveaway!  Enter to win some of their premium matcha tea powder AND a signed copy of my book, Layered.  Entry form below recipe.

 

Matcha Chocolate Cake
From Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes 

Matcha Cake
1 ½ cups cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons matcha powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
¾ cup whole milk

 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 6-inch cake pans and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium until smooth.  Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the oil and mix until combined.

With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla, almond, eggs, and egg yolk – one at a time.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

With the mixer on low, add in half of the dry ingredients.  Stream in the milk and mix until combined.  Add in the rest of the dry ingredients and mix on medium-low for no more than 30 seconds or until everything in incorporated.

Evenly distribute the batter between the two pans.  Bake for 24 to 27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

Recipe may be doubled and baked in three 8-inch pans.  Bake time may vary.

 

Classic Chocolate Cake
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup canola or grapeseed oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
¾ cup whole milk
½ cup hot coffee or hot water

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 6-inch cake pans and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the oil and sugar together until combined

With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla, almond, egg, and egg yolk – one at a time.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

With the mixer on low, add in half of the dry ingredients.  Stream in the milk and mix until combined.  Add in the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Stream in the hot coffee and mix until the batter is smooth.

Evenly distribute the batter between the two pans.  Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

Recipe may be doubled and baked in three 8-inch pans.  Bake time may vary.



Matcha Ganache
12 ounces white chocolate, chopped (by weight)
½ cup (120ml) heavy cream
1 teaspoon matcha powder

Place the chocolate in a heat-safe container and set aside.

Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Slowly bring the cream to a simmer.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the matcha.

Pour the cream mixture over the chopped chocolate.  Let sit 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth and the chocolate has melted.

Allow to completely cool and thicken until ready to use.  When done, the ganache should be spreadable. 

To speed things up, the ganache may be refrigerated, but remember to stir often or it will harden.  If made in advanced, gently reheat in the microwave until a spreadable consistency.

 

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
3 large eggs whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
gel food (optional)

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the egg whites and sugar.  Whisk briefly by hand until combined.

Fill a saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler.  Stirring intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it reaches 150 to 160 on a candy thermometer.

Once hot, carefully return the mixer bowl to the stand mixer.  Fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg white mixture on high until stiff peaks, about 8 minutes.  When done, the outside of the mixer bowl should return to room temperature.

Stop the mixer and swap the paddle for the whisk.  With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla and butter, a couple tablespoons at a time.  Once all of the butter has been added, turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix until smooth.  If the mixture looks curdled, just keep mixing until it is smooth (this could take up to about 5 minutes).  If it appears soupy, place the mixer bowl in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes, then mix until smooth.  Tint with gel food coloring, if desired.

 

Recipe may be doubled to frost and decorate a larger cake.

 

Assembly
Once the cakes are completely cooled, trim the tops so that they are level.  Alternating between matcha and chocolate cakes, spread on 1/3 of the ganache between each layer.

For the star pattern, simply pipe rows of stars using a #21 tip all over a thinly frosted cake.

This giveaway is now closed.  Congrats to Maria Crystalia! 

This post has been sponsored by Aiya America.  Thank you for supporting the brands that make Style Sweet CA possible!