This matcha (green tea) cake with red bean and buttercream filling was my birthday cake this year. The sweetness of the red bean filling, buttercream and cake itself is offset by the slight bitterness of the matcha flavor.
My sister has been visiting us for the last two weeks here in Thailand. It was so much fun and exciting to show her the way we live and travel in SE Asia.
For her time here we tried to give her a well-rounded experience by showing her Asian city life with crazy, bustling, colourful, smelly markets balanced off with relaxing, lazy times at the beaches.
We rented scooters to maneuver through the wild traffic (actually quite tame in South Thailand compared to Bangkok etc.) with its own rules and climbed 1300 steps up a limestone karst mountain to a temple and giant golden Buddha statue on top.
I wasn’t quite sure how my sister would take two weeks of intense Asia travel, but she has always been a tomboy and even more adventurous than me. At some caves we visited she walked off the path and climbed through small crevices to second levels with my husband while I just watched them from the bottom…and took pictures.
At one of the beaches we stopped at during a boat trip there was a spot for cliff jumping. Neither I nor my husband were up for it but my dare-devil little sister swam across the bay to the cliff, climbed it and jumped off it all by herself…while I was taking pictures again.
During the time of my sister’s visit my husband and I were celebrating our second wedding anniversary. It was the second one away from family, so it was extra special having her here that day.
We could also celebrate my 25th birthday with her here (yeah, December is one big party for us). Of course I had to have cake. Even if I couldn’t bake one myself. But we went to our favorite cafe and all had a slice of cake.
I felt adventurous that day to try something new and went with this Green Tea Red Bean Cake. It combines two traditional Japanese flavors in one colourful cake. I really like how the sweetness of the red bean filling and buttercream is so nicely balanced by a slight bitterness of the matcha (green tea powder) flavour.
Today my sister left for Canada again, but we still got to spend Christmas Eve Day with her. And despite the long traveling time she will be in Canada to spend part of Christmas Day with the rest of the family. Yay, for time differences.
My husband and I are by ourselves again and will celebrate a merry little Christmas with just each other. I hope you are also having a wonderful, blessed Christmas time spend in peace and harmony with family and loved ones.
And of course I’ll leave you with a recipe for Green Tea Red Bean Cake that fits the season quite well with its red and green colour scheme. The recipe is adapted from Basic Cakes.
Green Tea Red Bean Cake
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 120 g 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 120 g 1 1/8 c flour
- 2 tsp matcha green tea powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup yoghurt
Red Bean Filling: use ready-made red bean paste or make your own from following (makes more than needed for this cake)
- 200 g dried red beans
- 2 cups water
- Icing sugar to taste
- 170 g 3/4 c unsalted butter, softened
- 320 g 3 c icing sugar
- 1 tbsp matcha powder optional
- 2 tbsp milk
Red Bean Filling
- Prepare red bean filling, if making yourself. In essence, boil the beans until soft, then drain and blend or press through a sieve. Nami wrote much more detailed instructions for red bean paste in this blog post.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and line two 7" round cake pans. (For a 3-layered cake as pictured, you can also bake 3 thinner layers in 3 pans.)
- With your mixer combine oil, sugar and eggs until light and creamy. Add and mix in other cake ingredients.
- Pour batter into cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes. Cool cake layers for 10 min. in pans, then invert onto wire racks and let cool fully.
- Whip softened butter with whisk attachment of your mixer until creamy and lighter in colour. Sift in icing sugar and optional matcha powder and combine. Add milk and whip for another 5 minutes on high speed.
- Place first cake layer onto a serving plate. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on top and pipe a dam of buttercream around the edge. Spoon red bean paste on the inside of the dam to the thickness of your liking. Place other cake layer on top. (Repeat previous steps if making 3-layered cake).
- Ice top and sides of the cake with remaining buttercream. You can dust a little more matcha powder onto the top as decoration.