Matcha Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting
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?
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.
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.
Matcha from Uji, Kyoto
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.
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.
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:
- 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
- lemon zest
- matcha powder
- Heat oven to 350F. Put paper baking cups into muffin pan.
- In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and matcha powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time. Beat 2 more minutes.
- Add eggs into the butter mixture and mix until smooth.
- Alternatively add flour mixture and milk 1/3 at a time, beating just until blended.
- Fill each baking cup to 2/3 full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Completely cool cupcakes before frosting.
- To make the frosting, mix powdered sugar and butter with electric mixer or spoon in a large bowl.
- Stir in lemon juice and lemon zest.
- If needed, gradually beat in just enough milk to make frosting spreadable.
- Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool before frosting.
- Garnish with a light dusting of matcha powder and lemon zest.
Designer Cupcake Lines
Cupcake liners instantly bring style to your creations.
What Did You Think About My Recipe?
Do you think you would enjoy these cupcakes?
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!