Matcha Latte Strawberry Popsicles

Summer is in full swing in my home state of Indiana this week – in fact, the high there today is supposed to be 102!  Here I am in Sydney complaining that it’s too cold, but my family in Indiana is complaining that it’s too hot!  Well, my fellow Hoosiers, this recipe will cool you down a real treat.  The flavors of matcha and strawberry (one of my all-time most favorite flavor combinations) combine into one amazing, refreshing and cooling popsicle…. 

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Illustration: Matcha Strawberry Cupcakes

Recently I was emailed by Lisa Orgler of  The Lunch Box Project; she is a wonderful artist that I am very fond of and she is drawing green tea foods for the month of March.  I was delighted that she contacted me and asked if she could draw my matcha strawberry cupcake, which is one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever made (in my opinion). I told her she could most definitely draw my cupcake and I was looking forward to seeing it in her illustration.

Around a week later, Lisa emailed me again to tell me she had finished drawing my cupcake.  I hurried over to The Lunch Box Project and saw her amazing drawing:

Absolutely beautiful!  Thank you, Lisa!

If you’re as interested in Lisa’s work as I am, you can find her at The Lunch Box Project, EtsyFacebook and Twitter.

Matcha; Not Only For Lattes

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m really keen on matcha.  My love for green tea started in 1999 when I visited Australia to see my then-boyfriend (now husband!).  He took me to a lovely Japanese restaurant where he convinced me to try a bowl of green tea ice cream.  It tasted beautiful and from then, I was hooked!

In the past, I’ve made my own green tea ice cream, hot cocoa with matcha whipped cream, and various matcha cupcakes (one of which was the winner of December 2008′s Iron Cupcake: Earth challenge).  Just have a look at all my matcha recipes!

When I was contacted by Matcha Source and asked if I’d like to sample their matcha, there was no way I’d refuse!  I haven’t placed an order from Matcha Source before, but they totally won me over with the package they sent me.

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I had to photograph the box.  It’s very pretty!  But of course, what is most exciting is what is inside the box…

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I received a 10g sample of high quality bright green matcha powder, a Bodum milk frother, various matcha recipes, a discount on my first order, and a lovely handwritten and personalized card from Alissa; she even congratulated me on the birth of my baby!  It was really nice that the package was so personalized, this definitely made my day!

That very day, I made a warm, frothy matcha latte to test out their matcha.  There really is nothing like the smell and appearance of fresh, bright green matcha; I love opening new packages of matcha.

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The recipe for this is so simple, you could make your own with your eyes closed.

Hot Matcha Green Tea Latte
from Matcha Source

The trick to this classic style beverage is to make the tea first, then add the hot milk and foam.

  • Sift 1 tsp Gotcha Matcha into a cup.
  • Melt matcha by adding 2 oz hot water and stirring until matcha becomes a smooth paste.
  • Pour 6 oz steamed milk into your favorite matcha bowl or teacup.
  • Add matcha tea to the milk.
  • Scoop foamy milk on top.
  • Sprinkle with matcha dust or cocoa powder.

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And enjoy!

Matcha not only tastes great, but has various health benefits as well.  It is rich in antioxidants, naturally enhances your mood, promotes weight loss and is rich is nutrients, fiber and chlorophyll.  Since matcha is sugar-free, it’s a great choice for diabetics and those who are interested in reducing their sugar intake.

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So it’s great for afternoon tea.  Instead of coffee, try a hot matcha latte instead!

But wait, you’ll need a sweet snack to go with that matcha latte.  I’ve seen a few different ways to make matcha truffles, but I haven’t yet seen a matcha cake truffle.  Surely you’ve seen the cake truffles, sometimes known as cake balls, around the internet; Bakerella did a great job in making them famous!  I decided to do the same thing, but use matcha powder in the cake and frosting.

caketruffles

The process of making these is exactly the same as you’ll find on Bakerella’s website.  I made my own vanilla cake and cream cheese frosting, but you can use a box cake mix and frosting if you wish; just sift about one tablespoon matcha to a vanilla cake mix, and optionally, sift 1-2 teaspoons matcha to vanilla or cream cheese frosting for a super matcha taste.  The amount of matcha you add to your cake and frosting is totally up to you – add more or less depending on your taste.

Just for reference, I used Billy’s vanilla vanilla cupcakes recipe, which is my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe (I sifted about one tablespoon – a little less – matcha into the dry ingredients), and Chokylit’s green tea cream cheese frosting recipe.  I added a bit of shortening to the chocolate as it was melting to make it smoother and easier to work with – the general rule is to add a level 1/2 teaspoon per one ounce of chocolate, or one tablespoon per six ounces of chocolate and melt them together.

I have written up the full recipe at the end of this post to make the matcha cake truffles using a box cake mix and a tub of frosting.

The truffles have an immense matcha taste, with just a hint of dark chocolate.

Keep the finished cake truffles stored in the refrigerator, otherwise they melt and turn gooey really quickly!  The truffles taste best after allowing them to completely set in the refrigerator; I thought they tasted better the next day.

In conclusion, if you haven’t yet tried matcha, give it a go!  Matcha Source is a great place to start for information on matcha and many different recipes to test out.  Just have a read over their Matcha Buyer’s Guide to find out which matcha is right for you.

Matcha Cake Truffles
makes 45-50

Ingredients
1 box white cake mix (plus ingredients called for on box)
1 16 oz. tub cream cheese frosting
2 tablespoons matcha powder, divided (see note)
1 12 oz. package dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Directions
Sift 1 tablespoon matcha powder into dry ingredients of cake mix, then prepare and bake the cake as directed on the box.

After cake has completely cooled, crumble into a large bowl by using your fingers or a food processor.

Sift 1 tablespoon matcha powder into frosting and stir thoroughly – you can do this in a separate bowl if you prefer, as it might be too difficult to stir in the tub! Pour frosting into crumbled cake and mix thoroughly.

Roll mixture into quarter-sized balls and lay on a cookie sheet. If the mixture is too soft, place into the refrigerator to firm up (30-60 minutes) before rolling into balls. Tip – keep your hands cold and slightly wet to keep the cake mixture from sticking to your hands.

Refrigerate the cake balls for several hours, or place them in the freezer to make them firm up faster. You’ll need them to be very firm to dip into the chocolate.

Melt chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening over a double boiler, stirring often.

Dip each ball into the melted chocolate to completely coat; using a fork, remove the balls and place on a cookie sheet that is covered with wax paper. Place in refrigerator for several hours, or until chocolate is completely set.

Note: You can use as much or as little matcha powder as you like, however I find that you do need quite a bit for the matcha taste to be prominent.

Matcha Strawberry Cupcakes

This is my third and final entry into Iron Cupcake: Earth this month.  This is also my favorite entry, matcha strawberry cupcakes.

I loved this cupcake!  It is one of the best I’ve made in ages.  The cake is a basic vanilla cake, borrowed from Billy’s Bakery, flavored with matcha, or green tea, powder.  Inside the cupcake is a filling of strawberry preserves, for a big strawberry taste.  Swirled on top is fresh strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream, which is really lovely.  It also does actually taste like strawberries, unlike my first strawberry cupcake entry, which used heaps of strawberry puree but did not taste like strawberry.

This cupcake, however, did taste like strawberries and matcha.  With one bite you will first taste the strawberry.  After that bite is swallowed, the flavor of the matcha hits.  I really really love this cupcake, but I think I’ve already said that!

I used Billy’s vanilla cupcake recipe because this is my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe.  They always come out moist and soft and were perfect for the addition of matcha – I just added the powder to the dry ingredients.

The buttercream comes from Martha Stewart.  It takes a lot of mixing to make this particular buttercream, so a stand mixer is a necessity.  The buttercream came out perfectly and the softness of it matched well with the moist cake.

I divided both of these recipes in half, which is why some of the ingredient amounts in the recipe may look a bit funny.

Our June ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS; HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson; JESSIE STEELE APRONS ; TASTE OF HOME books; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers.

Here are the recipes I used to make these cupcakes…

Matcha Cupcakes
Adapted from Billy’s Bakery & Martha Stewart
Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour, not self-rising
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh matcha powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Strawberry jam or preserves

Method
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and matcha powder; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until the cubes of butter are peanut-sized or a little smaller.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cupcakes have cooled completely, using the cone method, fill cupcakes with strawberry jam or preserves.

Strawberry Buttercream
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup fresh strawberries, pureed

Method
Place whites and sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Remove from heat, and attach bowl to a mixer. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking well after each addition.

Switch to a paddle attachment. With mixer on low, add strawberry puree, and beat until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Use immediately, or cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.  Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth before using.

Because of the egg whites and jam in these cupcakes, it is best to store them in the refrigerator.  Let them return to room temperature again before enjoying.

Hot Cocoa With Matcha Whipped Cream

I’ve been wanting a good cup of hot cocoa with a big dollop of whipped cream for a while now.  So to remedy that, I came up with a variation of this delicious matcha cocoa recipe.

First, I made up half a batch of this hot cocoa mix recipe from Martha Stewart.

Second, I whipped up some matcha whipped cream (recipe courtesy of Boulder Tea):

Matcha Whipped Cream
View printable PDF recipe

5 ounces heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon matcha powder

In a large bowl beat heavy cream and sugar with an electric mixer with the whisk attachment until it is stiff. Then add the matcha and mix well.

Now, my matcha powder ended up mostly in little round balls in my whipped cream, even despite the fact that I sifted it into the whipped cream.  No matter though, it was just as tasty.

Homemade Afternoon Snack

The matcha whipped cream melted into a foamy layer on top of the hot cocoa.  It was pure perfection!

The recipe for the shortbread cookies in the above photo can be found here.

Matcha Cocoa Cupcakes

I made this cupcake intending to enter it into December’s Iron Cupcake Earth challenge Chocolate With A Twist. Then after I made it I thought it wasn’t good enough. It tasted great, but I didn’t think it was the worthiest contender. Then as I keep looking at them sitting there in the kitchen I thought, what the hay, I’ll enter them! Here is the matcha cocoa cupcake.

Yes, I need to work on my piping skills, I know! :)

I call it the matcha cocoa cupcake, because it does taste similar to the matcha hot cocoa recipe I enjoy. The chocolate cake in these cupcakes are very chocolatey, and the matcha is very matcha-y. The cake is dense and heavy and quite filling.

The dark chocolate ganache is a nice touch, and the matcha Swiss meringue buttercream is to die for. This is my second attempt at making SMBC (my first attempt failed) and it went really well. The texture is amazing, almost mousse-like. It pipes really well. The matcha taste in the SMBC is not overpowering and adds an extra light matcha flavor.

Thank you to Cupcakes Take The Cake for posting my matcha cocoa cupcakes on your blog!

Our December ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:
* BETTY TURBO
* as well as a pair of cupcake earrings from LOTS OF SPRINKLES
* PLUS, IronCupcake:Earth can not forget our good friend, CAKESPY, who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice -sweet!

As an added bonus for December we have adorable cupcake pincushions complements of SWEET CUPPIN CAKES BAKERY AND CUPCAKERY SUPPLY.

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: FIESTA PRODUCTS; HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, JESSIE STEELE APRONS; the CUPCAKE COURIER; TASTE OF HOME books. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers.com.

Recipes:

Chocolate & Matcha Marbled Cupcakes
(adapted from La Tartine Gourmande)
makes 10-12 regular sized cupcakes

Ingredients
8 Tbsp butter, melted (1 stick)
3 oz dark chocolate, melted
3 eggs, large
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 + 2/3 cups flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1.5 tsp sifted unsweetened cocoa, diluted with 2 Tbsp whole milk
1.5 tsp Matcha powder

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter and set aside. Melt the chocolate using a double-boiler.
Beat the eggs with the sugar until blended. Add the melted the butter and vanill extract and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the butter/egg mixture. Beat until blended, but do not overbeat.

Divide the batter in two halves. In the first half, add the Matcha tea, in the second the chocolate and cocoa diluted in milk. Stir each half until thorougly incorporated.

Spoon chocolate mixture into cupcake liners, and spoon matcha mixture on top of the chocolate. Fill liners about 1/2 – 2/3 full. You can use a toothpick or knife to gently stir the colors together for a marbled effect, or you can leave as is.

Bake in a preheated oven for 20-22 minutes. Test with a toothpick to make sure they are done.

Chocolate ganache

Ingredients
3oz dark chocolate
3oz heavy whipping cream

Method
Heat the whipping cream and chocolate in a small pan over low heat unti melted. Do not boil. Remove from heat and sit aside until cooler. Dip tops of cupcakes into the ganache and sit aside to let ganache harden, or put into the refrigerator to harden it quicker.

Matcha Swiss Meringue Buttercream
(method adapted from How To Eat A Cupcake)

2.4oz egg whites
4.8oz sugar
5.3oz unsalted butter, room temperature
1.5 tablespoons matcha (use more or less to suit your taste)

Method
Put egg whites and sugar into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees).

Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add matcha powder and continue beating 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles.

Iron Cupcake Earth: Cranberry

I’m going to admit first thing that I do not like the taste of cranberries, so I was a bit apprehensive about creating a cupcake for this particular Iron Cupcake: Earth challenge. It didn’t deter me, however, from my first entry into the cranberry challenge (I will submitting another entry this month); my green tea cupcakes, filled with cranberry cream cheese filling and frosted with cranberry buttercream with a drizzle of white chocolate.

Iron Cupcake Earth: Cranberry

I think the green tea and cranberry is a nice pairing. The overall taste of the cupcake is very sweet; the cranberry taste of the frosting is very subtle, while the strongest cranberry taste comes from the filling. I will also note that I used a small amount of red food coloring in the cranberry parts of the cupcake.

Iron Cupcake Earth: Cranberry

The Iron Cupcake: Earth prizes this month are from Etsy artists Lollipop Workshop, Cookie Sunshine, Lots of Sprinkles and Cakespy. Corporate prizes are from Fiesta Products, Hello, Cupcake, Jessie Steele, Cupcake Courier, and Taste of Home. For this month only we have an added bonus from Sweet Cuppin Cakes Bakery and Cupcakery Supply.

Iron Cupcake: Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers.

Recipes:

Green Tea Cupcakes
based on Magnolia Bakery’s vanilla cupcake, and the same cupcake recipe I used for my my green tea cupcakes. What I did differently was divide the recipe by thirds; I ended up with eight cupcakes. For the green tea, add 1.5 teaspoons of green tea (matcha) powder to the flour mix.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Filling

Ingredients
* 1.5 ounces cream cheese
* 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
* pinch of salt
* 6 ounces confectioners’ sugar

Method
Soften cream cheese and cranberry sauce together in medium sized bowl. Add salt. Gradually add sugar, beating with electric mixer until creamy. Add red food coloring, if desired, for a brighter color.

Cranberry Buttercream

Ingredients
* 1/2 cup cranberry juice
* 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
* 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, more if desired for firmer texture
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method
In a small saucepan, combine the juice and cranberries. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until softened. Let cool and either strain cranberry juice, pressing the berries until most of the juice is gone, or chop the cranberries finley.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Beat in the cranberries. Add more confectioners’ sugar for a firmer texture, if desired. Add red food coloring, if desired, for a brighter color.

White Chocolate Drizzle

Ingredients
* 2-3 squares Ghirardelli White Chocolate

Method
Melt white chocolate in small microwave safe bowl, microwaving in short bursts of 15 seconds, stirring after each 15 seconds. Shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds total. Spoon into sturdy sandwich bag, or piping bag, cut off a small tip of one corner and squeeze white chocolate in a quick sweeping motion on top of frosted cupcakes. Top each cupcake with a fresh cranberry, if desired.