Find out what is matcha tea, how it will boost your health and some delicious matcha green tea recipes for decadent cake, delicious cream and dashing syrup.
Matcha is the top of the crop green powder made from finely milling specially grown green tea. Apart from being the most popular green tea in Japan, it is also used to flavour and dye foods like my favorite dessert in Japanese restaurants: green tea ice cream, as well as noodles and Japanese confectionary.
The matcha tea plants are grown under shade. This causes the growth of the plants to slow down to ensure:
- tender tea leaves and most importantly
- maximum amount of amino acids and sunlight catching chlorophyll, which causes the deep green color in the final green tea powder.
The finest top bud leaves are plucked, dried and then slowly stone-milled (in order not to burn the leaves) into a very fine green powder.
Matcha green tea recipes
First and foremost, the easiest way to consume matcha is drinking it: put a bit of powder in a cup, add hot but not boiling water (158 to 185 °F or 70 to 85 °C) and whisk with the special wooden in the picture above till no more lumbs are in the drink and no more powder stick on to the cup:
- To make a thin, light bitter tea: use 1.75 gram (about half a western teaspoon or 1.5 Japanese chashaku spoons (see picture)) green tea powder with (2.5 oz) 75 ml water: whisk and make foam if desired.
- To make a thick tea for Japanese tea ceremonies, use 3.75 gram (about 1 teaspoon or 3 Japanese chashaku spoons) green tea powder from old tea trees with (1 1/3 oz) 40 ml water: slowly blend without making foam.
Apart from age old traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, green tea in modern day Japan has found its way an anything you can think of, including Nestle’s Kitkat Green Tea:
KitKat Matcha (green tea) is a limited seasonal edition of Nestle’s Kit Kat bars which was introduced in the Japanese market in may 2007. Except for wafers, the ingredients should consist out of white chocolate and obviously some green tea.
Since we don’t like to by wafers from the supermarket, I added the opera cake in the recipe below which uses equal ingredients (matcha, white chocolate and pastry) without any unknown additives.
The first opera cake was created by a French known as Louis Clichy, who called it in the true spirit of French chauvinism… "Clichy". It was a very refined and decadent layer cake prepared with:
- delicate almond biscuit or joconde,
- chocolate ganache,
- coffee buttercream, and
- chocolate glaze.
The cake got popularized by the Parisian pâtisserie Dalloyau as "Opera Cake", as it is known today. in stead of coffee and dark chocolate, we will use white chocolate and green tea powder.
Green tea opera cake
Enjoy this delicious green tea opera recipe. A moist, light and creamy cake where the slight bitterness of green tea tempers the sweetness of white chocolate.
Do know that we are using a lot of sugar and some wheat flour in this recipe,
so it’s surely not at all paleo. There are easier ways to use green tea
in recipes, but since you wont be going to Japan soon and when you want an idea
about the KitKat taste, here goes…
The opera cake ingredients
- 1 cup (120 g) ground almonds
- 1 cup (100 g) sifted organic icing sugar
- 1/4 cup (30 g) all-purpose organic wheat flour
- whites of 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon matcha
- 1 tablespoon organic brown sugar
- 1 1/2 oz (22.5g) tablespoon unsalted butter
How to make opera cake:
- Line a 12 1/2 inch by 15 1/2 inch (about 30 x 40 cm) jelly roll pan with parchment and grease with butter.
- Beat the egg whites in a bowl until they form soft peaks. Add sugar and beat again until the peaks are stiff and glossy.
- Beat icing sugar, matcha, almonds and eggs in another bowl until light and voluminous. Add the flour and beat until the flour is just combined.
- Fold the egg white mixture into the almond mixture.
- Fold in the butter.
- Pour the batter into the pan.
- Bake the pastry in a preheated 425F – 220C oven until lightly browned and just springy to the touch, about 5-9 minutes. As always, don’t use hot air for baking cakes.
- Run a knife along the edges to loosen the cake form the jelly roll pan.
- Cover the cake with parchment paper, flip and un-mold.
- Peel of the parchments paper, flip and cover the cake while it cools.
The secret to make any good buttercream is beating and beating more. The green color comes of course from green tea matcha powder.
- 2 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup (180g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 (100g) cup organic fine sugar
- 1 tablespoon matcha
- Mix the sugar with the green tea matcha powder in a small bowl
- Whisk the sugar and matcha into the egg whites in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until the mixture is hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Make sure the sugar gets dissolved and the mixture looks like shiny marshmallow cream.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and beat until the cream is cool, about 5 minutes.
- Beat in the butter.
- Beat the mixture until it thickens and becomes smooth, about 5-20 minutes.
Green Tea Syrup, to moisten your cake
This is a simple syrup with some added flavour from green tea liquor. Green tea liqueur has a nice dark green color and adds a nice aroma to the syrup and the opera cake.
- 1/4 cup (62.5ml) water
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated organic sugar
- 1 tablespoon green tea liqueur (it must be a challenge to find this in an organic shop…)
- Making the green tea syrup is easy: bring all ingredients to a boil in a small sauce pan stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
Making White Chocolate Ganache
When too liquid to keep the ganache from streaming out of your cake: put this ganache in the fridge before use.
- 7 ounces (200g) chopped white chocolate
- 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (60g) butter
- 2 tablespoon heavy cream
- Melt the chocolate into the butter and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream in a double boiler.
- Set the ganache aside and let cool completely.
- Whip the 1/4 cup heavy cream in a large bowl.
- Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate ganache.
- Refrigerate until used.
Topping: prepare white chocolate glaze
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
- 3 ounces (90g) chopped white chocolate
- Simply melt the chocolate into the heavy cream in a double boiler (au bain marie or on your lowest fire in a saucepan with thick bottom).
- Let cool (for 10 minutes) and pour over the top of your green tea opera cake.
Assembling your opera cake on a baking sheet lined with parchment:
- Cut the cake into 4 pieces (6×7 inch or 15x20cm)
- Place 1 sheet of the cake onto the baking sheet and moisten with your green tea syrup.
- Spread 1/2 of the buttercream over the cake.
- Place 1 sheet of the cake on top of the buttercream and moisten again with syrup.
- Spread the white chocolate ganache over the cake.
- Place 1 sheet of the cake on top of the ganache and moisten with syrup.
- Spread the remaining buttercream over the cake.
- Place 1 sheet of the cake on top of the buttercream and moisten with syrup.
- Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth it out.
Refrigerate until it sets, about 30 minutes. Trim the sides to get a smooth finished green tea opera cake… Job well done!