Matcha! If you don’t know what matcha is, allow me to explain, because it’s awesome. To put it simply, matcha is finely ground green tea that is made from shade grown tea leaves. This means that it takes a bit longer to grow the tea, resulting in a more refined taste and, in turn, final product. Matcha is taken very seriously in Japan, and the flavor can be found everywhere from mochi treats (a rice cake dessert) to ice cream to even noodles! I recently had green tea noodles at Mission Chinese, for example, and they were freaking delicious. Either way, if you’ve never had a matcha latte, do yourself a favor and head to Farm to People, use the code CoW25 and get 25% off your order of matcha. When I first got my tin of the good stuff, I wasn’t really sure how to use it. I started with making myself a matcha latte to get inspired. It was delicious and surprisingly easy to do at home, though of course I don’t have a foamer and there’s nothing like the real frothy lattes you can get in a shop. The next day, I perused a few blogs for more inspiration, specifically Molly’s because she is the Matcha Queen, then got to work. Sadly, that work was a total waste of time! Figures. I tried making matcha scones and they failed miserably. They tasted sort of okay, but they were less scones and more ugly brownish-greenish blobs with little pieces of marshmallow in them, because I thought that would work. The whole pan went into the trash, along with two hours of my life. Oh well – you can’t be good at everything, right? Or at least that’s what I told myself as I scraped the last bits of burned marshmallow and green tea crumbs off of my baking sheet.
Never give up, though! There is always a light at the end of your matcha tunnel. I decided to stick with something a bit easier than scones, but I wanted my final result to be GREEN, because that is way more fun. Why not marble cake? It fit all of my criteria: it’s easy, it can be made after work, and it would allow me to color something bright green. Perfect. I was sort of worried that the cake would be bitter from the tea (like the scones were, ahem) but I think the balance was just right alongside the chocolate and vanilla. This is something simple you can whip up to get you started on your matcha obsession, but it’s still approachable enough to not scare people away when you explain that it’s a cake made with green tea. My coworkers seemed to enjoy it well enough, so if their discerning palates thought it was good, I think that you will, too.
Fancy matcha powder from Farm to People (use code CoW25 for 25% off and try some for yourself!).
There’s also a store in Williamsburg where you can get all kinds of matcha drinks and treats (because of course there is).
Mix up your batter.
Then whisk in your matcha!
Add alternating dollops of batter to your prepared pan.
Then bake for 30-40 minutes until set.
Allow your cake to cool completely before slicing.
And feel free to sprinkle the whole thing with a little powdered sugar.
- 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- 2-3 tablespoons matcha powder
- powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease and line an 8x8-inch cake pan. Set aside. Whisk together your flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Beat together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until each is fully incorporated. Add in the vanilla and mix again, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Combine the milk and sour cream, then add it alternating with the flour mixture, starting and ending with the flour (so add ⅓ of the flour, ½ of the milk + sour cream mixture, ⅓ of the flour, the rest of the milk mixture, then the rest of the flour), but don't overmix.
- Place half of your batter into another bowl (I just used the same bowl I mixed and milk and sour cream in together). In one bowl of batter, add in your ⅓ cup of cocoa powder. In the other bowl, add in 2-3 tablespoons of matcha powder (depending on how strong you want your cake to taste - you can taste a bit of the batter and decide from there).
- Mix each bowl of batter well, then place dollops of the batter alternating in your prepared pan (see the photos above). Use a spatula to swirl the batters together for a marbled effect, then bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake is set. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing and serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like.