Truth be told, my sweet tooth is not very sweet. When we go to Georgetown, I proudly march pass the acclaimed Georgetown Cupcake and head straight to Pie Sisters. Spare me the mountain of frosting! I want mixed berries in my tummy! Plus, the miniature pies are freaking adorable and perfectly portioned. It's just the right fix.
Now that's not to say that I don't enjoy a good slice of cake. I am known for having a profound weakness towards German Chocolate Cake, anything with chai, coffee, or Kahlua in it. What's your kryptonite? It's a hardline to walk- it shouldn't be too sugary but still needs that to be that slice of good ol' fashioned cake.
That's why the Little Green Tea Cake is so gosh darn great! It was made for a joint birthday celebration. Luckily, the birthday boys have a similar preference in terms of food and neither like super sugary desserts. I was straining to think of a flavor that would translate well and recalled a conversation about the Korean bakeries in Annandale, VA. The shops are not filled with sinful donuts or on-contact-diabetic cupcakes. Instead, the selection is much more mellow with fruits, red bean, and gelato. Matcha, ground green tea leaves, is a common ingredient because of its signature light flavor that does not tip the scale into savory. Perfect!
After searching the internet and some cook books at home, I selected this version by Tiramisuki's from All Recipes. It is a subtle, green tea cake with a cream cheese based frosting. Don't let the cream cheese fool you; it's easy to work with and keeps that subtle tea profile in tact. I could see this with an almond based frosting as an alternative.... yum. The cake itself is very moist because of the use of yogurt as well as vegetable oil in the batter. All the components came together into a lovely confection. It was an instant success! Feel free to use sugar pearls to add some texture.
Note: some folks have a hard time finding matcha tea powder. I used "Tea's Tea" Matcha Powder which can be found at Wegmans. An alternative is to buy green tea bags with loose leaves (i.e. Stash Green Chai or, what I drink at work, The Republic of Tea Double Green Matcha Tea) and grind them into powder form in a coffee grinder.
This version is ideal for a small group because I halved the original recipe and used two, 6-inch round pans. For the recipe, check out Tiramisuki's post on All Recipes!