Sunday, 29 September 2013

Vanilla Sponge with Matcha Buttercream

Growing up, I was always interested in Japan and Japanese culture, and after living with a host family and attending a university in Japan, I fell in love with Japanese food too.

Recently, I've been inspired to make a few Japanese inspired recipes. I love Japanese green tea - it's bitter flavour contrasts brilliantly with sweet things!

Sweets are always served with green tea in traditional tea ceremonies, so I was inspired to balance the bitter flavour of the tea with the sweetness of a vanilla sponge.
There are many types of Japanese green tea available - I'll be using Matcha powder for this recipe. Matcha powder is made by grinding the best quality tea leaves. It is the special occasion tea, used in tea ceremonies.

I get my Matcha from Japan Centre - there are many different types of Matcha, but I usually go for Japan Centre's store ground Matcha - it's a lot cheaper as it's available in smaller quantities.

To make the vanilla sponge, you will need:

3 eggs; weighed (room temp)
Same weight butter (room temp)
Same weight S.R Flour; sifted
Same weight caster sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla extract
~1 Tbsp milk (optional)

Grease and line two 7" sandwich tins. Preheat the oven to 160ºC fan, 180ºC conventional.

Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between each addition. Add the vanilla and 1 Tbsp of the flour with the last egg to prevent the mix from curdling.

Fold in the flour, a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Add a little milk if needed.

Spoon the mixture into the greased and lined tins and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until well risen and golden, and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out, remove the paper and cool on a wire rack.

To make the buttercream, you will need:

100g slightly salted butter (room temp)
250g icing sugar
1 Tbsp Matcha powder.

Beat the butter until soft and creamy.

Gradually sift in the flour and Matcha powder, beating well in between each addition.

If the mixture is too thick, add a little water (1 Tsp at a time) to reach the desired consistency.

I decided to pipe the filling between the cakes as it achieves a nicer finish.

I used a large rosette nozzle, but you could use a star nozzle too.

Put your chosen nozzle into the piping bag and fill with the buttercream.

Starting at the outer edge, pipe a medium sized star or flower.

Hold the bag at a 90º angle to the cake while piping, and push down gently before lifting the tip of the icing bag.

Work around the outer edge into the middle.

Put the second sponge on top of the buttercream and press down gently.

To decorate, I sifted some icing sugar over the top of the cake. I also stencilled some Matcha powder over the top.

I'm really pleased with the contrast between the slightly bitter buttercream and sweet vanilla sponge - this cake is so moreish! I'm working on a few more Japanese inspired recipes which will be up soon!


  1. Really love the look of this cake and it sounds really interesting. Would love to try this.


    1. Thanks Stacey,

      I really like the contrast of the bitter matcha and the vanilla sponge - I hope you enjoy it too!


  2. I love the sound of this, I too have been to Japan and their sweets are a far cry from ours but lovely non the less. I'm glad I am not the only one to make a sponge cake this way, it was the way my mother taught me, weigh the eggs and go from there. But I have had a lot of people tell me this is wrong, but I must admit when making a sponge I always use this method.

    1. Hi Emma,

      I find this way the easiest when making sponge. I've tried other ways in the past, but this one always gives the best result!


  3. Looks yummy, love the stencil design on the top :)

    Heather | Of Beauty & Nothingness

    1. Thanks Heather!

      I was looking for a simple way to finish it off and the stencil does the trick nicely!



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