I've mentioned my friends Jeremy and Aubrey a few times now in recent posts. They own an organic tea company called Arbor Teas. I was highly flattered when Jeremy and Aubrey recently asked me to start contributing recipes using their organic loose leaf teas to their blog SustainabiliTEA. Jeremy and Aubrey are as passionate about tea as I am for food and our values in regards to protecting the environment are well-aligned. They source only the highest quality USDA certified organic and fair trade teas from around the world and are committed to lessening environmental impact through various means such as using recyclable packaging. One rainy summer afternoon over a bottle of Moscato d'Asti, my tea education began and a collaboration was born. I'll be contributing recipes regularly to their blog (and cross-posting here), showcasing the various organic fair trade loose leaf teas that Arbor Teas carries. This will be a fun challenge for me, inviting lots of creativity and of course a great learning experience, sampling a wide variety of high quality organic loose leaf teas.
So in the celebratory spirit of this inaugural venture and the joy brought through collaboration among friends, let’s have organic matcha tea cakes and ice cream! Matcha, traditionally consumed during the Japanese tea ceremony, has a thick, rich green taste with a discernable bitter quality. Its flavor is strong enough to be retained when combined with butter, eggs, milk and sugar in this delectably moist cake. Plus, the green powder lends such a lovely vibrant-hued crumb with an ever so slightly grainy texture. On a whim (and with a nod to the end of the summer season), I paired this cake with sweet corn ice cream, which is NOT for the faint of vegetables! Lavender, agave, honey, buttermilk or tea-infused ice creams or gelatos (perhaps a future post) would all be wonderful substitutions. The cake is topped with an organic kukicha green tea-infused whipped cream. One of my favorite Arbor Teas, kukicha is made of a gorgeous variegated combination of leaves and stems, which yield a delicate green tea flavor. It imparted just the subtle flavor I was after for this whipped cream so as not to compete with the matcha cake.
The verdant color and melt-in-your-mouth goodness of the matcha cake further enthused me to make petit fours with some of the extra cake layers. These adorable little gems are enveloped in marzipan and topped with crystallized lilacs and just perhaps may be a welcome accompaniment to a warm cup of your favorite organic tea from Arbor Teas.
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 TBS organic matcha
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare a ½ sheet pan by rubbing with butter, covering with parchment, rubbing with more butter, and dusting with flour.
2. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
3. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Add eggs/egg yolks one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
5. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to batter and mix to combine.
6. Mix matcha in with the milk. Add to the batter and mix until combine.
7. Pour into prepared sheet pan and smooth flat.
8. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
Green Tea- Infused Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream, very cold
1 TBS loose green tea leaves, such as Arbor Teas' organic kukicha
1 tsp agave nectar (optional)
Steep tea in cold cream for 20-30 minutes, keep refrigerated. Strain tea into mixing bowl and add agave nectar if desired. Whip cream until soft, pillowy peaks form.
1. Cut rounds of cake using a biscuit cutter.
2. Place a scoop of ice cream on top of each round and smooth with an offset spatula dipped in hot water.
3. Place another cake round on top. Store in the freezer.
4. Pipe whipped cream on top when ready to serve.