Recipe: chocolate matcha earl grey cake
The date sort of snuck up on us. We are both bad about remembering dates, but my MIL called on Friday to say there was something special to look for in the post – something for our anniversary. Our what?! Oh that’s right… We celebrated 11 years of marital dorkiness on Saturday. Marriage was never something either of us really wanted. It was what our mothers kept asking about since we were living in sin for many years. We finally caved in since we realized our car insurance would go down – way down. Bargain! I think we would feel better about marriage if some of our dear friends could marry and enjoy the same rights we do.
We didn’t do anything special, just ran a ton of errands. We discovered that Chinese food on the flats is neither Chinese nor food really… The day was incredibly warm – 70 Effingham degrees? It was a cruel joke as far as I was concerned. March is when the weather flirts with spring then winter then spring then winter. You get those hoochie mama crop top days when you have to shield your eyes from the exposed white limbs of undergraduates on campus, chased down by those gorgeous spring upslope events that dump a ton of powder and send the ski whores rejoicing back on the mountains. Anyway, I promised Jeremy I would make a nice something or other in celebration of our day since this is my good week before the next treatment. He likes chocolate and I had matcha on the brain.
one caffeinated cake
But it had to wait until today because we were finishing up season 2.5 of Battlestar Galactica last night. The cake almost didn’t happen as the pendulum swung from spring back to winter and I had a hard time not heading out for the local hill!
Jeremy had a lot of work to do though, so we kept one another company at the kitchen table. I settled on a chocolate chiffon cake with Earl Grey soaking syrup, matcha buttercream frosting and Earl Grey-infused dark chocolate ganache. Deciding is the hardest part. Making is the fun part!
the flavor trio: Earl Grey, dark chocolate, matcha
The chocolate chiffon cake recipe I use isn’t terribly sweet, which I prefer. It is also flavored with hazelnut paste and almond extract, adding an extra dimension to the flavor profile.
folding egg whites into the chocolate base
Last time I made matcha buttercream frosting, the green tea flavor was pretty subtle. So I doubled the amount of matcha powder and I like the more dominant presence. You need something pretty strong to sing along with chocolate.
heavenly matcha swiss meringue buttercream frosting
My experience with Earl Grey anything is that it is always too weak, particularly when paired with chocolate. This time I made an Earl Grey soaking syrup, which tasted strong on its own, but again, disappeared within the chocolate chiffon. However, the addition of Earl Grey to the chocolate ganache helped to bring it out in the cake somewhat. Still need to work on that.
earl grey soaking syrup
I did my standard cake assembly here: four layers of cake, each soaked in syrup and layered with buttercream, then frosted and garnished. I rather love the look of the colors – the hint of green against the dark chocolate layers. It’s perfect for March, no?
brush in the syrup
spread the buttercream
topped with ganache
The crumb of the cake is wonderfully tender and as long as you serve it at room temperature the buttercream is creamy and smooth – quite complimentary. All of it melts in your mouth in a burst of caffeinated elation. The matcha flavor is strong and up front, then an understated Earl Grey emerges, and finally a subtle almond accent to the chocolate. I think I would prefer a stronger chocolate presence, perhaps adding a thin layer of ganache between the buttercream and the cake next time? Always a learning experience.
Chocolate Matcha Earl Grey Cake
2 9-inch round chocolate chiffon cakes
16 oz. Earl Grey simple syrup
1 batch matcha Swiss meringue buttercream
Earl Grey chocolate ganache for decoration
chocolate chiffon cake
makes 2 9×3 rounds
this recipe originally intended for baking at 5300 ft.
10.5 oz. cake flour
3 oz. cocoa powder
8.75 oz. confectioners sugar
0.5 oz. baking powder (omitted at 8500 ft.)
7 oz. whole milk
6 oz. canola oil
3 eggs (4 eggs if small)
1 tsp almond extract
2 oz. praline paste (or hazelnut paste)
13 oz. egg whites
9 oz. granulated sugar
Oven 375°F. Prep pans by buttering bottom and sides. Place parchment in pan and butter the parchment. Sift dry ingredients (except granulated sugar) into a large bowl. Mix all ingredients (except the 13 ounces of egg whites and granulated sugar) in the large bowl until combined. Whip whites and granulated sugar to medium peaks. Fold into batter gently. Bake until set, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and remove from pan. Let cool completely on a rack.
1/2 oz. Earl Grey loose tea
2 cups water, boiling
12 oz. sugar
Steep the tea leaves in the boiled water for 6 minutes. Strain the tea into a pot and add sugar. Over high heat, stir the sugar until dissolved and bring to boil. Remove from heat. Let cool.
matcha swiss meringue buttercream
makes about 1.5 quarts
8 oz. egg whites
16 oz. sugar
1 lb. butter, room temperature
4 tbsps matcha powder (you can reduce this if it’s too strong)
Combine egg whites and sugar in a Kitchenaid mixing bowl. Whisk constantly over a bain marie until 140°F is reached. Place on mixer with whisk and whip until stiff. Turn down whip speed to 3rd and whip until cool to the touch (this takes a while – should be cooler than your hand). Change to a paddle and gradually add soft butter by tablespoon pieces. Mix to emulsify. Once desired consistency has been reached, add matcha powder to taste.
earl grey chocolate ganache
1/4 oz. Earl Grey loose tea leaves
6 oz. heavy cream
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
Place chocolate in a medium size bowl. Heat the cream in a pot over medium flame until just simmering. Turn off the heat and stir the tea leaves into the cream. Cover the pot tightly and let steep for an hour. Strain the tea leaves out of the cream (you should have about 4 ounces of cream). Return the cream to the pot and reheat to steaming. Remove from heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. Let sit for a minute then stir until blended. Set aside to cool.
To assemble the cake: Trim the dome tops off of the cakes. Cut four even layers of cake. Place a base piece down on serving plate. Using a pastry brush, apply soaking syrup to the cake layer (I apply twice – the chiffon can hold a lot of liquid). Spread a layer of buttercream on the layer. Set second layer of cake on the buttercream. Repeat soaking syrup and buttercream layers. Before setting the fourth cake layer (should be a base piece, inverted), soak the cut side of the layer with soaking syrup then place it cut-side down on the buttercream. Crumb coat the assemblage, then apply final buttercream frosting to sides and top of cake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large tip with the ganache. Pipe decorations onto the cake. Serve at room temperature. Serves 12-16.