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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Matcha red bean cupcake

Red bean eyes !

It seems like matcha isn't of Japanese origin after all, or so I heard. Chinese Buddhists  were the original  drinkers during the Song dynasty, at religious ceremonies. This drink was later introduced to Japan by the monk, Eisai  ( of the Zen Buddhism fame ), and from thence forth, its popularity took off.

High grade quality Matcha is cultivated in Japan's oldest tea gardens of Uji, located between the two ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto. 20 days into the harvesting of the tea leaves, the tea plant is forced to grow in shade causing a growth change due to the reduction of light. The result ? Tea leaves of exquisite taste and hue due to the increased chlorophyll in the last growth spurt before they are handpicked, steamed, dried and ground to talc grade powder.

And lucky me has just got myself a little container of matcha powder, from Uji. It has a multi layered taste, of  peas and asparagus, finishing off with a grassy taste.  The matcha paints a picture of freshly mowed lawn with a background of azure  skies and wispy  clouds, making the experience  quite surreal, actually.

This powdered tea can be pretty addictive, which I gladly succumb to, in the form of a cupcake. This recipe is a variation of the frappe cupcake, an encore performance due to its immense popularity. I paired off matcha with what else, but red beans, of course.  A predictable recipe no doubt, but this is nonetheless my little girl's favorite.
I may look ugly but I am tasty !
Makes 8 cupcakes in  small muffin cases.

180g plain flour
1 t baking powder
1/8t salt

116 g softened butter
100g dark sugar
3t good quality matcha powder
2 eggs, room temp, 45g each
1/4 cup light sour cream

2 cups red beans, parboiled in sugar and drained.

The night before, microwave 2 cups of red beans in boiling water. Leave it to cool and soaking in the water, overnight. The next day, parboil the beans again for another 10-15 minutes, with 1 cup of sugar. The beans should be yield to the bite but not completely broken up and disintegrated. Drain the sugared water and leave beans to cool.

Meanwhile, mix these ingredients in a big bowl : flour, baking powder, salt. Sift and set aside.

Cream butter, matcha, brown sugar until creamy.
Whisk in eggs, one at a time.

Add flour and sour cream alternatively, in small batches until well incorporated. Stir in 1.5 cups of red beans, leaving a handful to garnish just before baking.

Preheat oven to 170C.

Scoop batter to 8 small muffin cups, filling cup to 3/4 full, about 90g each. Top each cup with 5 red beans, pushing the beans halfway into the batter.

Bake for  25-26 minutes, until you can smell the fragrance of matcha and a skewer pierced in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Enjoy it with what else, but a cup of hot matcha!
All hail the green tea cupcake king !


  1. hahah the surrounding cupcakes look like pilgrams of the holy green tea cupcake in the middle. they look delicious!