Matcha Kasutera/Castella

(Green Tea Sponge Cake)

Matcha Kasutera

August 23: National Sponge Cake Day

Happy birthday to Islander! Just as Highlander’s birth date on April 20 is National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day, today also marks National Sponge Cake Day. Islander wanted to commemorate the date with a snack cake like the ones sold at some Asian grocery stores. Typically, they are unfrosted and feature flavors that reflect the region. She likes the vibrant colors seen through the slices, such as purple for taro/ube/purple yam and green for pandan and matcha/green tea flavors. For this particular post, we prepared a Japanese-style sponge cake called kasutera (or castella in Portuguese, who were among the first European traders and explorers in the Far East). We flavored our kasutera with Japan’s traditional tea to give it a green hue. Make this moist sponge cake for snacktime, birthdays and National Sponge Cake Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from A World of Cake by Krystina Castella)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • ¼ cup honey (we used Big Island Bees brand Hawaiian honey) 
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar (plus 2 teaspoons for preparing the cake pan)
  • 2 tablespoons green tea powder (we used Teavana brand matcha)
  • butter (for greasing the baking pan)

Directions

Grease an 8×8-inch square cake pan with butter. Line it with parchment paper with a slight overhang on the pan edges. Grease over the parchment paper. Sprinkle two teaspoons of sugar in the pan. Sift the cake flour until light and airy.  In a small saucepan, melt the honey in the milk but do not boil. Alternatively, mix the honey and milk in a microwave-safe cup or bowl and heat until well-incorporated. Stir until smooth and set aside.

Matcha Kasutera

In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until slightly thickened and the color turns to a pale yellow. Mix in the milk and honey. Gradually add the flour to make a thick batter.

Matcha Kasutera

Stir in the green tea powder until well blended and the color is evenly distributed. Pour the batter into the buttered pan, filling no more than ¾ of the way. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes on the top rack. Lower the heat to 325 degrees F and transfer the pan to the bottom rack of the oven. Continue to bake for 45 minutes, testing the cake with a toothpick for doneness.

Matcha Kasutera

Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Lift the cake from the pan using the edges of the parchment paper and continue to cool the cake completely on the wire rack. Remove the parchment paper. Slice off the edges of the cake to reveal the inside green color to contrast with the brown top. Slice into portions, brushing off the crumbs from the cake, and serve.

Matcha Kasutera

Notes

Matcha (Green Tea) Macarons

Matcha Macarons

January: National Tea Month

East meets West when finely milled green tea powder mixes with ground almonds to make matcha macarons. Japanese green tea adds color and flavor to the famous French cookie in this unique recipe combination. Fusion foods like this are frequently featured in our home since we are a mixed married couple. Often our mealtime menus include items reflecting Highlander and Islander’s cultures, giving us a taste of the best of both worlds!

We made these matcha macarons by adapting a recipe from a Japanese author’s cookbook and using the French meringue method. They are perfect as a tea time treat, especially during National Tea Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita)

For the matcha green tea macarons

 

  • 1 cup almond flour/meal
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (we used C&H brand)
  • 2 tablespoons matcha green tea (we used Teavana brand)
  • 3 egg whites (aged overnight at room temperature)
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup sugar (we used C&H brand, granulated white)

Directions

Sift together the almond flour/meal with the powdered sugar and matcha. Whip the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually add the granulated white sugar while continuing to whip the eggs whites until peaks form. Stir in the green almond flour/meal-sugar mix until the consistency “flows like magma.”

Matcha Macarons

Fill a pastry bag with a large round tip. Pipe one-inch discs on a parchment paper on top of an insulated baking sheet. Let the discs air dry to develop a thin skin for at least 30 minutes. Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees F for about 15 minutes. Watch the “feet” develop, but be careful not to brown or burn the macarons. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Peel off the macarons from the parchment paper. Sort by size and match pairs. Make the filling.

Matcha Macarons

For the matcha (green tea) and white chocolate ganache filling

(Adapted from Matcha Source)

  • 2 ounces (2 squares) of white chocolate (we used Baker’s brand)
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream, divided use
  • 1 teaspoon matcha green tea (we used Teavana brand)

Directions

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the white chocolate as directed on the package. Stir in 2 tablespoons of cream until smooth. Cool completely. In another bowl, beat the remaining cream with the matcha green tea until well blended. Add the white chocolate-cream mixture and continue beating until soft peaks form. Refrigerate to thicken the ganache. Re-whip again until it is a filling consistency. 

Matcha Macarons

Fill a piping bag with a large round tip. Pipe in the filling and sandwich the macarons together. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the filling set. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Matcha Macarons

Notes

  • Click on our Mac Attack page to see more macarons.
  • January is also known as National Hot Tea Month while June is known as National Iced Tea Month.
  • Learn more about the health benefits of green tea from the Green Tea Library—AFTER consuming calories from sugary-sweet macarons!
  • Thanks to Lisa L. for sending us ground almonds from Germany. Our dear friend is also in a mixed marriage—she is German-American and her husband, John, is Welsh.
  • We have corrected/updated the original matcha-white chocolate ganache recipe. This yields enough filling for the matcha macarons. If our recipes have errors, please refer to the source from where we adapted them. We apologize for any inconvenience.