Green Tea Matcha Cake

On account of the Zen River – Japan connection, there is occasionally some spare green tea flying around the kitchen. The other day Ranka had found some matcha (green tea powder) and Shuho-san – who is here from Ottawara, Japan, to train and practice koan study – explained if it’s too old to drink, you could always use it in baking! Cool thought. And so I went ahead and made a green tea Matcha Cake with a nice thick layer of matcha icing. Yummy! The first time we baked it, Robert said “lovely cake!” A week later, it was his birthday when a little birdy whispered in my ear and said why not bake a “Matcha Cake!”



125 g (½ cup) butter
125 g (½ cup) sugar
240 ml (1 cup) warm water
1 tablespoon matcha (powdered green tea)
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
315 g (2 cups) flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt


½ teaspoon matcha (powdered green tea)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup confectioners powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 190 °C (375 °F).
  • Grease a square 25 cm (10”) cake tin.
  • Melt the butter,  pour into a mixing bowl and whisk in the sugar.
  • In a soup-sized bowl, sift the matcha through a fine-mesh tea sieve to break any lumps. Add 2 tablespoons  of the warm water and whisk back and forth until the matcha is frothy and well blended. (Using a Japanese tea whisk for this step will give good results.) Whisk in the remaining warm water.
  • Next, whisk the matcha into the sugar and melted butter, then beat in the eggs. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • In a clean bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Using a large, shallow metal spoon or firm spatula, reach into the bottom of the mixing bowl and cut and fold the flour into the wet ingredients until just combined. Turn the bowl after each fold so that the ingredients are evenly distributed. Alternatively, beat for a few seconds with an electric beater on low-speed, and finish with a few folds using a spatula, reaching to the bottom of the bowl. Scoop the batter into the cake tin and spread out evenly.
  • Bake for 35–45 minutes, depending on your oven, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven. Wait four minutes, then remove from the tin, and cool on a wire rack.
  • To make the icing, first sift the matcha through a fine mesh tea sieve, whisk it with the lemon juice and vanilla extract until it dissolves, then work in the powdered sugar. It should have a spreadable consistency. If it still feels too dry, add a few drops of water at a time until it feels right. Spread evenly on top of the cake while it is still warm. Brush with a little water to smooth the glaze if desired.

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