Sunday, 25 July 2010

Chocrhutea - Matcha, Chocolate and Rhubarb Marble Cake

For once, I am ignoring the queue of posts I have waiting to be written and am aiming to post this on the actual day I made the cake.  This is because time is running out.  Catty is running a Matcha Madness competition to win some Teapigs matcha powder and the closing date is fast approaching.

Using matcha in cakes is something of a new and rather strange concept to me.  Green tea is something I drink very readily and I was more than pleased when CT brought home several packets of matcha, in both leaf and powder form, from a visit to Japan a couple of years ago.  I had no thoughts of doing anything with it except to steep it in hot water, until I came across a post on matcha cupcakes at Kitchen Butterfly.  As soon as I saw this, it went straight onto my list of things to bake, but my list is rather a long one and it didn't quite make it to the top - until now.

I have been pondering over the last couple of weeks what, exactly, I was going to make.  Cupcakes seemed like the obvious choice, but a combination of seeing so many wonderful marble cakes on Mainly Baking and then coming across this cake at Scandilicious made me think again.  I of course needed to get chocolate into the equation somehow and a marble cake seemed like a good way of including it.  Then my mother came along with some rhubarb from her garden - well I had to include that somehow.  Hey, why not really push the boat out and go for three flavours rather than two!  I'm calling this marble cake for want of a better name, but I wanted solid blocks of cake so they could be tasted as an entity in their own right, rather than swirled in true marble cake style.  This seemed like an ideal opportunity to use one of the Japanese sugar decorations that I received as a gift from one of CT's Japanese contacts.

This is what I did:

  • Creamed 125g unsalted butter with 175g vanilla sugar.
  • Beat in two duck eggs (large hens eggs can be substituted).
  • Sifted in 200g flour (half wholemeal and half white) with 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp bicarb of soda and 1/4 tsp salt (Pink Himalayan).
  • Stirred in 100g ground almonds, 125g Greek yogurt and 2 tbsp water.
  • Divided mixture between 3 bowls.
  • Stirred 1 stick finely chopped rhubarb into one bowl.
  • Added 1 tbsp matcha powder to another bowl.
  • Sifted in 2 tbsp cocoa to the last bowl and stirred.
  • Dolloped out the mixture alternately around a 23cm cake thingie - 3x3 dollops to ensure the different flavours wouldn't get too mixed up.
  • Baked for 40 mins at 180C.
  • Left to cool for 10 mins then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Creamed 30g unsalted butter with 100g sifted icing sugar.
  • Stirred in 100g cream cheese.
  • Beat in 1 tbsp of matcha powder - except I didn't!  This is where things started to go a bit pear shaped.  I'd just finished off a packet of matcha powder in the cake so went to open my last remaining packet BUT it wasn't powder, it was leaves.  I ground it up as best I could in the coffee grinder, but the resulting "powder" was somewhat on the coarse side - hey ho, no choice but to use it.
  • Placed a Japanese sugar four leafed clover on the top.

Well what a revelation - I am now sold on matcha cake.  I have to admit I was, beforehand, rather dubious about how this would turn out, thinking it was just a gimmick.  Now I've tasted it, I realise why so many have been raving about it for so long: it's really delicious.  In an act of heresy, I have to admit that I preferred the matcha element of the cake to the chocolate one.  I love the colour too, it's an amazing shade of green - colour that is natural and very good for you as well.  Overall, the texture of the cake was moist and substantial without being heavy.  It cut really well, holding its shape and leaving few crumbs. It's like having three cakes in one - all would have been great cakes in their own right, but I loved having the combination of all those different flavours together - sometimes just a forkful of pure matcha, or rhubarb or chocolate and other times a combination of any of those three or all three - wonderful!  Chocolate and matcha maybe a bit old hat as a flavour combination now, but I reckon I am amongst a very select few who have tried it with rhubarb. Although the matcha and chocolate worked really well together, my favourite combination was the rhubarb and matcha, the sharp fruitiness of the rhubarb piercing the savoury undertones of the matcha tea.  Although the matcha cheese topping was not quite the uniform bright green I'd wanted, it didn't take me long to get used to the speckled look.  It was also a great flavour combination complementing every element of the cake most successfully.  When CT tried it, he compared it to a game of paper, scissors, stone, with each flavour trumping the other in succession depending on the proportions in each mouthful.  In my humble opinion, this is a roaring success and would make a great birthday cake for someone.

Now I've used up all of my matcha powder, I need some more.  All being well, I'm hoping to have another bash at entering this competition by making some more matcha cake next week - in time for CT's birthday.

31 comments:

  1. WOW! I've never seen or heard of Matcha. That was a REALLY interesting post. Good idea to put moderate cup fulls of each kind of cake so as to not mix the flavors too much.

    I'll have to try this. I can't believe you said the Chocolate was your least favorite! WHAT!!!

    Just kidding!

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  2. I've never seen matcha powder anywhere so not tried it before. The cake looks really good though, and a great colour!

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  3. i'm the same... never heard of it but it looks so good... love love love marble cake x

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  4. best marble cake ever - love the combo - never used matcha but it always intrigues me - matcha macarons with ganache centres is what I think I would love to see made with it (of course I can't make macarons so just need to admire others)

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  5. Is macha more pronounced than say tea in a cake, Choclette?

    I've put "early grey" in teacakes and enjoyed the taste, but it's not that obvious unless you know it's in there.

    Excellent looking cake there too. It looks stunning!

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  6. Shall we be reading the MatchaLogBlog next then? I have never tried matcha, so I am gutted to hear that it is already old hat - I am sooo behind the times it seems. I love marble cake and yours looks delicious. Happy Birthday to CT.

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  7. Never heard of marble cake, lovely and innovative combination...Last pic of cake-lip smacking :) And thanks Chocolate, for good wishes on me completing my thesis :D

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  8. Matcha is a new one on me.... this looks a wonderful bake - very unusual. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. WOW! Interesting combo! I have seen so many food bloggers use matcha, I simply must get on this!

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  10. I adore rhubarb - just used the last of the garden rhubarb in a liqueur...which should be ready February 2011! Hope I am that patient!

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  11. Love the patchwork of colours - so much prettier than marbling!

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  12. Love the colours in your cake. Very pretty. I'm not sure of I should admit to you that I have never tried matcha ... either as a drink or in food. I feel like I am missing out now though so I may just have to be brave and pluck up the courage to try some.

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  13. Gotchocolate - Well to be fair, the only reason I'd heard of matcha was because of a recent Japanese connection. Thanks for your interest - I don't think chocolate taking a back seat is likely to be a permanent thing!

    Thanks Nicisme - I loved the colours in this cake too. Not actually sure where you can buy matcha powder here, apart from Teapigs of course.

    Thanks Dominic - I have to say, I am rather proud of this one.

    Johanna - yes I've seen an amazing picture of matcha macarons somewhere, but like you they sound far to scary to actually make (at least I assume that's your reason).

    Thanks Gill - yes, it's definitely more pronounced than a tea loaf type of cake (which are the only ones I've had until now, although earl grey has been on my list of things to try at some point). Putting in the actual ground up leaves as opposed to making a tea and just using the liquid is quite a difference in strength. This was about right for me, I've noticed some people put a lot more in and although you'd get a stronger green, it would be too strong for my taste I think.

    Oh Kath, don't tempt me. It would be such fun to have loads of differently themed blogs. It's the librarian in me which just wants to collect and categorise. Matcha cake might be a bit passe now, but matcha and rhubarb is a brand new kid on the block. Will pass on good wishes to CT - thank you.

    Ananda - you must indeed try a marble cake. Normally, you have two different flavours and colours and sort of swirl them through each other. At least it seems like you have lots of cake to keep you going through these trying times.

    Thanks Lucie - this blog has just been great at getting me to try all sorts of things I would never have done otherwise.

    Hazel - I'm very pleased I finally managed it.

    Mrs Portions - rhubarb certainly makes a lovely drink.

    CC - glad you are with me on the patchwork effect.

    Chele - this is why we need to get our challenge going, give us a chance to try a few new things. Though, to be fair, you are always trying new things and all of them look to be delicious.

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  14. Wow! This looks somehow traditional- like a patchwork quilt handed down over generations! And it is sooo impressive!

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  15. Oh yum thats looks amazing. The green colour is such a great contrast. Looks lovely and moist too. I like the crushed leaves icing look- much more organic looking than say a bright pink icing! Goes with the rest of the cake perfectly.

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  16. Your cake looks beautiful. Do you know Squint, who upholster sofas and chairs? I dream of having one of their sofas and to be able to sit on it and eat your cake would be Heaven indeed! Absolutely brilliant! I hesitate to say the ritual I want to put this on my list, but I do!

    squintlimited.com in case you/re curious

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  17. What a lovely cake. I never would have though to combine those ingredients, but they obviously work. I imagine this is delicious. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  18. Emmalene - thank you, I'm very happy with the patchwork theme

    CityHippy - thank you. You are all so good at being supportive. Actually the speckled effect has been growing on me. Just had a piece and it's just getting better.

    Joanna - I hadn't heard of Squint, but I've just been over and had a look. Had to laugh, I now understand what you mean. Thanks.

    Thank you Mary

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  19. Wow - this is the first time i've heard of Matcha - Now i've seen it used im really intrigued, that cake looks and sounds delicious!

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  20. I've heard of matcha, but actually have never seen it for real. And to be honest, I don't think i've ever tasted it either.

    You cake is very interesting to look at, a different look from every angle. I really wish I could see it for real and even more, wish i could taste it.

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  21. Wow what a pretty and delicious sounding cake. i haven't been able to find matcha where I live so have never tasted it. Looks yummy

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  22. Look at those colours, Choclette! I hope you win.. :)

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  23. LOL... I was sitting with my first cup of green tea of the day when I opened up your blog! This is something I have GOT to do! I just have green tea leaf buds, so I will have to look for matcha...wonedr if I pulversise some buds? Would that work do you think?

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  24. Freerangegirl - Thank you, I've certainly found it an exciting ingredient to use.

    MangoCheeks - Thank you. It's just green tea (a particular type of Japanese tea) ground down into very fine bright green powder. So if drinking, you dissolve it in hot water as you would instant coffee.

    Katie - I haven't tried to buy it over here, but suspect it's not that easy to get hold of.

    Thank you Celia - I hope so too, I need more matcha.

    Wendy - As you know I tried to make powder for my icing as I'd run out of matcha and it didn't work very well. I think you'd have to grind it for an awful long time to make it into a fine powder - but worth a go. Let me know.

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  25. that is some very creative baking

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  26. That looks really tasty and really interesting too with a lovely texture! I have to confess that I've never had matcha, let alone baked with it, so I must rectify that situation! I love anything chocolate and rhubarb is so underused! Really glad the combo worked out well.

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  27. Thank you Justin

    C- Thank you. The texture is a really good one and the cake is keeping well too, but that could be down to the almonds and I know you don't eat those.

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  28. Beautiful cake! Love the different colours there. Looks very moist. The cream must be so delicious...mmm. I have not seen matcha powder here. Hope to get some one day.

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  29. Thank you MaryMoh. Matcha powder isn't that easy to get here either and now I've run out!

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  30. What an unusual cake. Love the marbling as well.

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  31. Thank you Margaret - unusual but tasty.

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