Remember that matcha frosting I posted about a while back?? Well.. it took me a few weeks of research, plus a bank holiday weekend of baking to find the right cake & filling recipes to match – but all the blood, sweat and tears were worth it in the end!! (and no blood really, that would’ve been gross + unhygienic)
This post comes a bit late – it’s been waiting in the wings because I’m stupidly superstitious and I figured I should hold off until the fantastic Caked Crusader posted the results..just to be sure.. I came away with some lovely prizes and a massive (sugar/win/champagne) high on the night, but you never want to jinx things.. We can all breathe a sigh of relief now though, because I’m happy to report that my little bakes are in fact listed as the champs. woohoo!
1st place champs
The challenge was ‘World’, so I chose to go with a Japanese theme (which seems less than original in retrospect, as there were at least 3 other beautiful Japanese-themed entries..doh). Mine consisted of a two-tone matcha chocolate cupcake (marbling just seemed like too much effort) filled with sweet adzuki bean paste and tofu chocolate mousse, topped off with matcha cream-cheese frosting. Er, ignore the wonky shape of the cake please.. frosting hides many sins.. Unfortunately, not flower paste sins – I bought little cherry blossom cutters but it was my first go at sugarpaste work and things didn’t work out so I had to improvise..
pretend they look like cherry blossoms...go on..
I used my favourite chocolate cake recipe and adapted another recipe found here for the matcha layer.
Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake
From Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman & Peter Wynne
Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake; or about 30 cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.
4. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes before turning out of pans.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.
*I’ve made the layer-cake version before with peanut butter frosting, as recommended in the book, and the combination is PHENOMENAL. try it. seriously.
Moist Matcha Cake adapted (slightly) from this recipe
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablesoons matcha powder
1 ¼ cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 inch round pans, or line two 12-cup muffin pans.
2. Sift together flours, baking soda, salt and matcha powder. Set aside.
3. In large bowl, beat together sugar, oil and eggs until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream, mixing until just combined.
4. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes before turning out of pans.
After the cupcakes were cool, I used the cone method to fill them with Chockylit’s sweet bean paste (below) and a tofu chocolate mousse from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The double filling was down to indecisiveness to be honest. When I was testing combos out, my boyfriend swore the bean paste tasted better, but I preferred the mousse filling – so I just went with both in the end.
Sweet Bean Paste adopted from Cupcake Bakeshop
1-1/4 cups red adzuki beans
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1. Cover beans in cold water and soak uncovered, overnight.
2. Drain, transfer back to the pot and cover in 5 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
3. Drain and puree with a hand blender or in a food processor.
4. Press through a metal sieve. Note: This is time consuming work. The pureed beans become a thick paste and it takes some time to press through the sieve, clean off the underside, continue pressing until most of the bean puree passes through and the skins are left behind.
5. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pureed beans and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon for about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to cool.
6. After the paste has cooled, scoop out 1/2″ balls. Cover loosely with plastic wrap so they won’t dry out.
Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting inspired by Cupcake Bakeshop and adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman & Peter Wynne
(I doubled the recipe and ended up with tons – enough to cover 30 for ICL and about a dozen more since…)
4 ounces (1 stick) of butter
8 ounces (1 package) of full-fat cream cheese
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange extract
~3 tablespoons matcha powder
Blend cream cheese and butter in a blender, pulsing until combined. Add half the powdered sugar and again pulse until combined. Add the remaining powdered sugar, along with the vanilla, orange extract and matcha powder. You may want to add more sugar if you’re like me and prefer a firmer consistency that holds up to piping..and car journeys across London during rush hour. Decrease the amount of sugar if you have any sense and hope to live a long, healthy life.
I also entered these coconut cupcakes with mango frosting and guava jam filling as my ode to Mexican paletas, but I’ll save the recipes for another day.