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Matcha Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Updated on February 26, 2014

My Search for Matcha Cupcakes

Did you know that it took me at least half a dozen times to perfect these matcha cupcakes? Yep, that's right and I'm not even kidding. I have an incredible sweet tooth and it's a finicky one. If I'm going to indulge in something sugary with more calories than I care to think about, it has to be worth every single bite.

Living in Tokyo, it's not always easy finding a good cupcake. Cakes, pies and tarts are excellent but when it comes to cupcakes, good ones are nearly impossible to find and if they do exit, I don't know about them yet. So I made it my mission to make my own.

I wanted good cupcakes and I was craving specifically for a matcha flavored one, mostly because I've never seen them anywhere. So whenever the weather was too rainy, too snowy or just unpleasant, I stayed indoors and baked until I came up with the best matcha cupcakes that ever existed.

*Photos taken by myself unless otherwise noted.

So Tell Me...

Are you a fan of matcha or green tea?

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Why Matcha?

My love for cupcakes started sometime around the summer of 2009. I had the most delectable experience of biting into the perfect red velvet cupcake while visiting Los Angeles. Ever since, I've been in search of legendary cupcakes all over the world and it's sort of become my passion.

In the fall of 2013, I decided to bake a batch of cupcakes on my own. Besides how hard could it be? To my surprise, it wasn't as easy as I had thought. On the other hand, I loved how creative you could get with these miniature cakes and started to just have fun with them. I started out by mastering the basic vanilla cupcake and continued on to chocolate ones. I also made my own version of red velvet cupcakes, which I think rival the one I had back in 2009.

My Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Since quitting my soda habit years ago, I've switched to drinking teas. I also enjoy a cup of green tea or matcha at least once a day, not only for the refreshing taste, but also for its amazing nutritional benefits. Leading a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle has always been a top priority in my life. Since I had already accepted the fact that I would never stop eating cupcakes anytime soon, I decided that matcha cupcakes would be the perfect way to get those nutritional benefits in cupcake form.

Not only is matcha incredibly good for you, but is has a pleasant fragrance with a slightly bitter flavor that enhances other flavors. Use the best matcha you can afford as they will impart the best flavor to your food. Additionally, a little goes a long way if you stick to good-quality matcha powder.

Benefits of Matcha and Green Tea

Matcha from Uji, Kyoto

Tealyra - 2oz (56g) - Japanese Premium Matcha Green Tea Powder - Organic - Izu peninsula, Tokyo - Best Healthy Drink
Tealyra - 2oz (56g) - Japanese Premium Matcha Green Tea Powder - Organic - Izu peninsula, Tokyo - Best Healthy Drink

The best green tea comes from the Uji region in Kyoto, Japan, using only the best parts of the tea leaf. Superior flavor and highly nutritious.


Mission Accomplished

As I mentioned earlier, I had to make these cupcakes half a dozen times to get them perfect. I searched for the perfect matcha cupcake recipe day and night looking through cookbooks as well as recipes online. I baked, tasted and tweaked recipes and went through three different batches of matcha powder before I was satisfied.

For the frosting, I wanted something that would complement the flavors of the matcha cupcake. The obvious choice would be to go with a matcha flavored-frosting, but thought that would be too predictable. For many Japanese food lovers, azuki beans might work, but even that was predictable. I started thinking about how lemon is used to flavor black teas and how that might work with green tea. A couple of attempts and many tweaks later, I finally created a lemon frosting that paired perfectly with the green tea cake base.

For the garnish, I kept it simple with fresh lemon zest. A final sprinkling of unsweetened matcha powder brought all the flavor components together. The result is a cupcake with deep flavors, balanced with a refreshing lemon frosting that explodes with flavor.

The Big Book of Cupcakes

It's always good to have a solid knowledge of what you're going to make, especially when it comes to baking and The Big Book of Cupcakes is a great one, especially for beginners. Alternate recipes using cake mix is also included for those that prefer a little more convenience.

The Betty Crocker The Big Book of Cupcakes (Betty Crocker Big Book)
The Betty Crocker The Big Book of Cupcakes (Betty Crocker Big Book)

I have the Kindle version of this cookbook and love how easy it is to navigate and read on my ipad mini. The book is helpfully divided into clear sections such as basic cupcake and frosting recipes to creative cupcakes for special occasions, so inspiration comes easy. Using the basic cupcake recipe in this book as a base for my creative creations, always yields in moist cupcakes. Especially recommended for beginners like me.

Matcha Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Matcha Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hour 10 min
Ready in: 1 hour 30 min
Yields: 24 standard size cupcakes


  • Matcha Cupcakes:
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons matcha powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 -3 tablespoons milk if needed
  • Garnish:
  • lemon zest
  • matcha powder


  1. Heat oven to 350F. Put paper baking cups into muffin pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and matcha powder. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time. Beat 2 more minutes.
  4. Add eggs into the butter mixture and mix until smooth.
  5. Alternatively add flour mixture and milk 1/3 at a time, beating just until blended.
  6. Fill each baking cup to 2/3 full.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Completely cool cupcakes before frosting.
  9. To make the frosting, mix powdered sugar and butter with electric mixer or spoon in a large bowl.
  10. Stir in lemon juice and lemon zest.
  11. If needed, gradually beat in just enough milk to make frosting spreadable.
  12. Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool before frosting.
  13. Garnish with a light dusting of matcha powder and lemon zest.
Cast your vote for Matcha Cupcakes with Dreamy Lemon Buttermilk Frosting

Designer Cupcake Lines

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What Did You Think About My Recipe?

Do you think you would enjoy these cupcakes?

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Do you have an insatiable love of cupcakes like I do? What are some of your favorite flavor combinations? All comments are appreciated. Thanks for visiting!

What Did You Think Of My Cupcakes?

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    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Beautiful recipe lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • Maggie42 profile image

      Maggie42 4 years ago

      i'd never heard of matcha and hadn't thought of using green tea for cupcakes but these look very yummy I might give it a go Thanks

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      These sound positively intriguing! I'm not into cupcakes, but would be interested in some ice cream that had these types of flavors.

    • CamelliaPenny profile image

      Perrin 4 years ago from South Carolina

      I love green tea, so I bet I would love these. I would have to make a gluten free version of them, though.

    • TalkingFreebies profile image

      Reshel 4 years ago from Sierra Nevada ~ Reno

      Great creativity! Will have to give them a try soon!

    • Zola Mars profile image

      Lydia Workman 4 years ago from Canada

      They look fabulous!

    • profile image

      Ruthi 4 years ago

      Your match cupcakes look and sound wonderful!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      This is the first I've heard of these. They look really good.

    • profile image

      katiesnow 4 years ago

      learn something new everyday...I never heard of Matcha but they sound inviting!

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 4 years ago from Virginia

      Cool recipe! It's been featured on our "What's Cooking at Squidoo" Google+ page. Come and check it out!

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 4 years ago from Texas USA

      delish. 'nuff said. oh, and great lens.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 4 years ago from Perth UK

      I had no idea green tea is called Matcha. These cupcakes look delicious, thanks for the recipe.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 4 years ago from Lakewood New York

      How amazing, This lens is my 900th Squidlike and I got 100 points for it Thanks :)

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 4 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Another great recipe from you and amazing pictures. Thanks for sharing this as I do love cupcakes, actually I like anything sweet!!!!! Thanks Again :)

    • profile image

      sybil watson 4 years ago

      I love anything with matcha - even Starbucks has a matcha frappuccino. These cupcakes look delectable and your pictures are gorgeous.

    • VioletteRose LM profile image

      VioletteRose LM 4 years ago

      Looks delicious :), thanks for sharing the recipe. I have made cakes, but never tried cupcakes yet.

    • Craftymarie profile image

      Marie 4 years ago

      Oh gosh, your recipes and photos are just perfection on a page. I adore lemon cupcakes and these look like they're just to die for. Have you made a recipe book yet e.g. using Kindle publishing - if not, you should. What a talent!

    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 4 years ago from California

      These are great looking cupcakes! Makes me want to take a bite.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Sounds interesting - pinned to my cupcakes board :)

    • Jerzimom profile image

      Cheryl Fay Mikesell 4 years ago from Ladysmith, WI

      Different. I've never heard of at Matcha Powder. The look yummy!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      These are very pretty, you take good pictures of your recipes. I'm sure you've got another purple star winner here. Great work.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      These look heavenly! I'm building up quite a stockpile of your recipes I have to try, Shinichi. They look well worth the repeated tries to get them just right too! Yum.

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 4 years ago from France

      Intriguing. I'd never heard of matcha so there you go - learn something new every day. The cupcakes (we called them 'buns' when I was a child in the UK) look super - perhaps I'll try making them with my son - we could all do with an end of winter treat.