Matcha, that Japanese tea powder screaming its lush greenness, after a short break has once again found its way into my kitchen. I use matcha every now and then, and I’m convinced of its health benefits. Many health enthusiast swear by its name and have found various ways of including it in their diet, and you might have heard of matcha lattes, bulletproof matcha, or matcha cakes – this beautiful green antioxidant treasure is versatile in the kitchen. What matcha is is finely ground whole tea leaves (note: genuine matcha always comes from Japan) which in this manner contains all the benefits of green tea. When the tea isn’t brewed and the leaves thrown away after use, you can be sure that all of the nutrients make it into your cup (or cupcake!) and stay there to benefit your health.
Before, not so long ago, I didn’t prepare my matcha the traditional way with the match whisk. Now that I have a whisk too, preparing a cup of matcha has a special feel to it. It’s does not quite match the traditional Japanese tea ceremony feeling, but it does add a special touch of grace to my tea moments. It’s easy to create a beautiful foam with the tea whisk, and well, a drink with a beautiful is just so much more enjoyable, isn’t it?
Much has been written about the health benefits of matcha (and green tea). Matcha includes a lot of antioxidants (that protect your body’s cells from oxidative stress), a little less known ECGC compound (that protects our DNA) and chlorophyl (that gives the tea it’s dark green colour). I could name a long list of the health benefits credited to chlorophyl, but instead I’ll save my breath and conclude that matcha is a real health drink. Talking about health benefits, though, I can’t resist mentioning that in addition to caffeine (yes, matcha contains caffeine) matcha contains also an amino acid called L-theanine which contributes to our body’s calming and balancing functions. This interesting combination provides us with stimulation, but in a reasonable amount. Indeed, matcha has been said to be perfect support for meditation, for example, stimulating our minds without causing any caffeine buzzes. I’ve heard that Zen monks use matcha to support their high concentration meditation practice.
That’s quite a drink! But the uses of matcha aren’t limited to only drinks… I wanted something sweet for my tea moments, and I had a vision of a beautiful green matcha icing. Thanks to the intense dark green colour of the powder matcha colours the coconut cream with a beautiful shade of green with a very small amount of powder. The beautiful icing hides underneath delicious minty raw cup cakes with a filling simply really, really wonderful.
My Matcha Moment Raw Cup Cakes
ca. 10 cup cakes
3 dl rolled oats (gluten-free)
3 dl chopped dried dates
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
pinch of salt
pinch of cardamom
2 dl sunflower seeds
5–6 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
4 Tbsp raw cacao powder
2 Tbsp lucuma powder
5 Tbsp maple syrup
0,5 Tsp salt
ca. ¼ Tsp peppermint extract
½ can of coconut cream/milk kept in the cold (the solidified part)
¼ – ½ Tsp organic matcha powder
sweetener to your taste (honey or maple syrup)
Start by preparing the bottom crust of the cup cakes: blend first the rolled oats into a fine meal, then add in the rest of the ingredients. Blend until a dough starts to form – depending on your blender type, you might have to scrape it off the sides of the blender jug, but its worth it, ha ha. The dough is ready when it’s reasonably smooth and mouldable. Roll small balls out of the dough and press the balls into cup cake moulds. Press a small hole into each ball and form the sides. Move the bottom crusts into the cold.
Prepare the filling: grind the seeds into a meal in the blender, then add in the other ingredients, add more coconut oil if you need to. The filling is ready when it tastes good and the consistency is reasonably smooth. Spoon the filling now into the crusts, and move the crusts back into the fridge.
Prepare the icing: spoon the solidified coconut cream/milk into a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients. If you need to solidify the icing more, move it into the cold for a moment more before piping. When the icing is ready to be piped on top of the cakes, take out the cup cakes and decorate them with the delicious-coloured icing. Move the cup cakes back into the cold and let them rest there until serving. You can serve the cup cakes in their moulds or cups, or without, like in the pictures.
These raw cup cakes and that traditional bamboo whisk made my day, and made my matcha moment perfect. I think they made the day for my test tasters, as well, judging by the delighted sighs that the cup cakes seemed to inspire.
Wishing you wonderful matcha moments, as well!