Let’s talk about Matcha.
Matcha is the finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea.
It is special because the green tea plants for Matcha are shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest, this is how it produces more theanine and caffeine. This combination of chemicals is considered to account for the calm energy people might feel from drinking Matcha. The powdered form of Matcha is consumed dissolved in water or milk.
I love Matcha dissolved in almond milk sweetened with a little honey. Known as the “Matcha Latte”. And the calm energy part is the perfect description of the energy you feel after a cup of Matcha, it’s not like when you drink too much coffee, where you might feel uncomfortable with a raced feeling. Matcha just gives you tons of energy due to the high levels of Theanine. Theanine makes the brain produce alpha waves, which induce a state of relaxation and focused attention, similar to meditation. Matcha has a high amount of EGCG, a plant chemical that stimulates cell suicide in unhealthy cells, and stimulates metabolism as well.
It also has one of the highest ORAC values and is therefore a potent antioxidant. The ORAC value for Matcha is 1348 units per gram, compared to 24 units for blueberries.
The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) unit, ORAC value, or “ORAC score” is a method of measuring (in vitrio) the antioxidant capacity of different foods and supplements. The higher the food on the ORAC scale the more effective it will be at neutralizing free radicals.
Since I love Matcha so much I have come up with many ways to incorporate it into baking. Today I’m sharing one of my favourite recipes for Matcha Cupcakes, with a delicious white chocolate buttercream.
Makes: 12 Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes;
- 1 1/2 Cup all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. Matcha green tea powder, culinary grade
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 Cup sugar
- 1/2 Cup butter or margarine
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 Cup Buttermilk + 1/4 cup milk, mixed in a jug
For the Buttercream;
- 5 oz. white chocolate
- 1 Cup butter at room temperature, cut into cubes
- 1/4 Cup confectionary sugar
- 2 tsp. Matcha powder
- Sift flour, Matcha, salt and baking powder together into a bowl.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Make sure to scrape down the bowl.
- Meanwhile line a cupcake tin with liners and pre heat the oven to 180° C. / 350° F.
- Mix the flour mixture into the egg mixture alternating with the buttermilk, mix with a spatula and do not over mix.
- Fill the cupcake liners half way.
- Place on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for about 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out dry.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely on a rack before frosting.
To make the buttercream;
- Melt the white chocolate au bain-marie by bringing a pot of water to a simmer, suspend a bowl in the pot without touching the water, break up the chocolate into smaller pieces and place in the bowl, leave to melt stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula .
- Meanwhile beat the butter with your mixer until fluffy, slowly add the confectionary sugar and the Matcha powder, mix until well incorporated.
- Once cooled, slowly add the melted chocolate and beat quickly to incorporate.
- You may have to put the butter cream in the fridge for half an hour if it is too soft before piping onto the cupcakes.
- Simply place the buttercream in a piping bag and put on your favourite tip. Squeeze the buttercream gently in a circular motion over the cupcake until you have a nice peak. Decorate with flowers and/or sprinkles.