I am looking forward to berry season as the weather warms. It’s not time, but we can still lighten our party menus by adding fresh flavors. The kind of food and desserts that are perfect for a Mother’s Day or bridal brunch but less indulgent than those we love in the fall and winter. Matcha Strawberry Cake is the ideal cake to transition from winter into spring. It has a light sponge cake, sweetened berry filling, and whipped cream frosting.
You might wonder, “what is matcha?” or “why does that cake have a green color inside?” Matcha, a Japanese green tea powder, differs from most teas that remain in their leaf form. Matcha can be drunk by blending it with hot water rather than steeping it. It is added directly to the batter in recipes like this one for a vibrant green tea color and a delicate flavor. It’s cherry blossom season (or sakura in Japan) right now. I’ve not been there, but it sounds magical. Pink petals are dancing in the air everywhere.
This creation starts with a genoise. The genoise cake is a sponge made with whole eggs, which are whipped and slightly heated instead of using chemical leaveners like baking powder or soda. Imagine it as a fancy sponge cake made with butter instead of oil. As I have done in this recipe, genoise cakes are baked as layers. They can also be used as the base for many French patisseries. Genoise is a delicate cake and can be tricky to mix.
The flavor of a génoise cake is mild, but it’s very versatile. Even the delicate matcha powder added can shine in this case. These sponges can dry out but are great for simple syrups or other flavoring agents. Before I added the cream cheese whipped topping and strawberry jam, I generously brushed each layer with vanilla bean syrup. This gave it extra flavor and moisture. If you thought that the matcha genoise was the star of this cake, let me introduce this cream cheese-whipped cream to you. I wanted something to frost the sponge cake without weighing it down or overpowering the subtle matcha flavor. But plain whipped cream can be a little too light. The solution was to mix some sweetened whipped creme with softened cream cheese. The cream cheese adds a tangy, delicious flavor and “bulks” up the whipped cream, stabilizing it to frost the cakes without headache. Try it; it’s incredible! You can top it with berries. You could probably use fresh raspberries and raspberry jam if you prefer.
Matcha powder two teaspoons 1 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons of cake flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
6 Whole Eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated Sugar
Cream of Tartar, 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 cup unsalted, melted butter-cooled
One teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside three 6-inch pans lined with parchment paper.
Mix the matcha and flour. Set aside.
Mix the Sugar and whole eggs in the bowl. Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water about a couple of inches deep. Bring to a simmer. Double-boiler is created by placing the mixing bowl over the top.
Heat the egg mixture, whisking it intermittently until you reach 100 degrees F using a candy thermometer.
Transfer the bowl to the mixer once it has been warmed. Beat the egg mixture at medium speed using the whisk attachment.
Increase the speed to high and add the cream of tartar. Continue whipping until the mixture is pale and has tripled in volume. This should take about 8 minutes.
Remove the bowl of the stand mixer. Over the whipped egg, sift in the dry ingredients.
Use a large rubber spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients into the batter, taking care not to deflate it.
Mix about one cup of batter in a separate dish with melted butter, vanilla, and Sugar.
Again, take care not to deflate your batter.
Distribute the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until the cake springs to touch (or when a toothpick is inserted into the center, it comes out clean).
Cool the cakes on a wire rack (see note) before removing them from their pans.
For Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup,
Half a cup of granulated Sugar
Half a cup of water
One vanilla bean, seeds scraped.
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. This includes the vanilla bean pod that has been ground. Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Continue simmering for 8-10 minutes or until the sauce slightly thickens.
For the Cream Cheese Whipped cream:
6 ounces of cream cheese, softened
Half a cup of granulated Sugar
2 cups of heavy whipping cream, chilled
Instant milk powder, two tablespoons
Mix the cream cheese with sugar using an electric mixer or by hand.
Whip the cream using the whisk attachment until it reaches medium-soft peaks. ).
Work in batches and add whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture. This will lighten the mix.
Add the remaining whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture. Fold in the instant milk powder. The mixture should be thick enough to use as frosting but light and fluffy. If necessary, chill the mixture before use.