In celebration of Chinese New Year I made some Green Tea Cupcakes. Having tried using green tea in baking a couple of times before, I always thought it made drier and heavier sponges. Until I came across this recipe in the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, where you use tea infused milk and capture the light and moistness expected from a cupcake.
I have quoted the recipe exactly here, but I actually used a plain cream cheese frosting, with a dusting of matcha instead of the suggested buttercream and matcha mixture.
Green Tea Cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery
For the cake
120ml whole milk
3 green tea bags
100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
For the green tea frosting
250g icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter at room temperature
20g Matcha green tea powder, plus extra to decorate (you can buy this from tea shops and specialist Asian supermarkets)
25ml whole milk
a 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases
1. Put the milk and green tea bags in a jug, cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or over night if possible.
2. Preheat the oven to 170C (325F) Gas 3
3. Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
4. Remove the green tea bags from the infused milk and combine with the egg and vanilla extract. Slowly pour half into the flour mixture, beating well until all the ingredients are well mixed. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat well to make sure there are no lumps. Turn the speed back down to medium-slow and slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth.
5. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
6. For the green tea frosting: Beat together the icing sugar, butter and Matcha powder in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on a medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to a slower speed. Slowly pour in the milk, then when it is all incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
7. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the frosting on top and decorate with a light sprinkling of Matcha powder
... and while we're on the subject of cupcakes, some fortune cookies, made from paper cases. Write your fortune on the inside, or scrawl them on strips of paper and pray noone judges you on your handrwriting!