Well, it looks like we just had our first blizzard of 2016. Hopefully this will be the only one of this winter because walking to work for the next few days will neither be fun nor fast. Hopefully it doesn’t turn too icy either. I once fell on my butt twice within minutes of each fall and it left a huge bruise on my right side. Perhaps I’m just complaining about walking.
Anyway, I hope you guys are staying warm out there with plenty of layers and hot chocolates. January is almost over and spring is hopefully not too far away. I will be going to New York this weekend and I’m crossing my fingers for clear skies and mild temperatures. If not, then I’ll just whine some more.
With all this down time from the cold winds and snow, I’ve been getting my creative juices going in the kitchen. For this particular post, I played around with matcha again. This time I tried baking with it, and it was not as easy as I thought it would be. It turns out that this healthy green tea powder is riddled with delicate science. Baking, am I right?
So the initial thought was to make a vegan matcha loaf – something I could have for breakfast so I could break away from the daily granola and milk. At first, I used the Raspberry Lemon Loaf for reference in measurements and substituted a lot of the basics with vegan ingredients. And it didn’t work. It came out super dark brown, like a brownie, and I knew something was wrong. I’ve never baked with matcha before but I’ve seen and tasted matcha pastries and they always have that distinct minty green color.
My first batch didn’t taste bad at all, but it definitely lacked that beautiful, delicate, and earthy flavor. I started doing some research, came across Vegan Baking, and the science behind matcha and baking. This is not an uncommon problem after all. To put it neatly in a nutshell, matcha oxidizes when it interacts with the heat from the oven, not unlike the beloved avocado, so it needs something acidic to slow down that process. So that brings me to my next point: I used a little lemon juice to counter the browning of the tea powder and I used baking powder instead of baking soda. The differences between those two still confuse me at times so I’ll let the pro explain it.
Back to the real deal – once I managed to figure it out and make the perfect batch, it was glorious. The final product was something light, moist, and subtly matcha. The texture is crumbly and soft and smells wonderfully nutty. Did I also mention it’s beautiful? It is the most gorgeous pastel green color – something suited for a fancy tea party.
I hope I didn’t bore you guys too much with all this blizzard and tea talk. I hope you all get a chance to try this, even when you’re not snowed in.
Vegan Matcha Cake
Adapted from The Vintage Mixer
Makes 2 mini loaves
1½ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon matcha powder
2/3 cup coconut oil
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cane sugar
½ cup almond milk, room temp (I used vanilla flavored)
½ Meyer lemon juiced, about 2 tablespoons (regular lemon is fine)
1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat the oven to 325F. Prep loaf pans with oil or parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and matcha powder together – you’ll start to see the dry ingredients turn to a milky green. This will be a good visual to see how well the flour is mixed.
In another bowl, mix coconut oil with the sugars as best you can – it will separate a bit once you stop mixing. Add almond milk – if the almond milk is too cold, it will turn the coconut oil solid and separate some of the mixture. Pour in lemon juice and almond extract and combine everything together.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and start to fold the mixture gently. It will start slightly brown, but if done correctly, the end result should resemble a light forest green color. Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and there should be about 1” room left on top.
Put the loaf pans on a small baking tray and place in the oven. Let them bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Test by sticking a toothpick in the center – if it comes out clean, then the cake is done. Let them cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the pan and serving. Top off with powdered sugar and extra matcha if you like.
Once they have completely cooled, you can wrap them up and they will keep for up to a week.