Thursday, July 23, 2009

Green Tea and Chocolate Swirl Cake: A treat in green and black

For KS's birthday I wanted to bake something fun, and it seemed like that "something" should be less wholesome than banana blueberry bread or lemon-blueberry yogurt cake. So of course chocolate came to mind…and when I looked through my list of bookmarked recipes, I found Bakerella's chocolate matcha bundt cake.
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Which was perfect, because the last time I'd gone home to NYC I'd spotted this packet of green tea powder in my parents' pantry. My mom had made a face when I'd asked her about it, saying she had tried to brew a cup but had found the tea way too bitter. I was happy to take the powder off her hands, knowing that once back in Colorado I'd be using it to bake green tea cakes and green tea cookies.
Bakerella's recipe seemed a bit rich to me: there were three cups of sugar and a full cup of butter for only three cups of flour (looks like I've become my dad, after all). So I decided to make some adjustments, both to work with what ingredients I had (no milk, for instance) and to make it a bit healthier. I cut the sugar by a third, cut the butter by a quarter, and substituted 1 cup of plain nonfat yogurt and 1 1/4 cups of water for the 1 3/4 cups of milk her recipe called for.
The cake still ended up tasting rich, sweet, and moist, though with what seemed like a slightly coarser crumb from Bakerella's (maybe from the yogurt? I've noticed that all the yogurt cakes I've baked have shared a similar texture). I had planned only to make some cupcakes, but there was so much batter in the recipe that I had enough for a loaf cake too.
I really loved this cake—not only was it beautiful with its swirls of light and dark batter, but the slight, grassy bitterness of the tea played nicely against the sweet dark chocolate. I'll have to try this one again!

Green Tea and Chocolate Swirl Cake
by Soopling, adapted from Bakerella

Chocolate mixture
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Green tea mixture

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2–3 tbsp matcha powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Wet mixture
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup salted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch loaf pan and prepare 12 cupcake liners in a tin (there will be enough batter for both). You can also bake the full amount of batter in a 12-cup bundt pan.

Whisk the dry ingredients for the chocolate mixture in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, do the same for the green tea mixture.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until white and fluffy. Add the eggs, yogurt, water, and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Evenly divide the wet mixture in two separate bowls. Slowly add the chocolate mixture to one half of the wet mixture and mix thoroughly to make a chocolate batter. Add the green tea mixture to the other half of the wet mixture and mix thoroughly to make a green tea batter.

Drop alternating spoonfuls of each batter into cupcake liners, loaf pan, or bundt pan until they are about 3/4 full. You can use a knife to marble the two batters; just run it through the batters a few times after you've poured them both in.

Bake cupcakes for 20–25 minutes, loaf cake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or bundt cake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cake/cakes will be done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

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