Christmas is the time for indulgence, so here I am indulging myself with the matcha cake I have been planning to make for ages. Even though layered cakes are still difficult for my clumsy hands, the beautiful green hue made me forget the uneven layers and other imperfections. In case you have doubts, I swear I haven’t added any food colouring! Actually, even I am still in awe of such a vibrant green cream. I owe it entirely to the excellent matcha I have been bringing from Japan.
This cake is based on my all-time favourite Moist Poppy Cake with Chocolate Ganache with the chocolate replaced by matcha. First of all, I had some reservations about matcha, which is not easy to pair, so the poppy seeds, a typical Polish Christmas ingredient, seemed a big risk. On the other hand, as the only matcha and poppyseed fan at home (and among possible guests), I was also afraid of a possible successful outcome, which would mean having the whole cake for myself. Obviously, the latter arrived. I don’t have words to describe how unusual and complex the combination of poppy seed and matcha is. I am spellbound and will certainly explore this idea in other sweet creations. Strangely this cake doesn’t put off the usual matcha haters because the white chocolate reduces matcha’s astringency (which I love, so I sprinkled the cake with matcha very generously). This cake should of course be served with a cup of good Japanese green tea.
If you don’t like matcha, you might like the original cake this recipe is based on: Moist Poppy Cake with Chocolate Ganache. As much as I have enjoyed this vibrant green matcha version, the chocolate original will always remain my favourite.
Before I pass to the recipe details, I would like to wish all my dear readers and visitors a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May these approaching days be filled with joy, love and culinary delights.
TIPS: Ganache (pronounced “ganash”) is a mixture of chocolate and cream, sometimes butter is added. It thickens when cold and is a perfect base for chocolate truffles (see my two previous posts) and an excellent – lighter – alternative to butter creams in layered cakes. When I prepare dark chocolate ganache I usually skip the butter, but white chocolate is so sweet, I have cut down its amount and replaced with butter to reduce the sweetness.
I have prepared a rectangular version of this cake. You can make it round of course.
The white chocolate and matcha cream is really sweet, so the poppy seed cake is much less sweeter than in the original dark chocolate cake version.
If after several hours in the fridge the ganache isn’t thick enough yet to be spread as cream melt some chocolate or butter (for example 50 g) and add to the mixture. Refrigerate for one more hour. The chocolate’s quality and/or brand may make more or less thick ganache.
Preparation: about 5 hours, but count a whole day (both the cake and the ganache can be prepared the night before, kept in the fridge overnight and assembled the following day)
Ingredients (for a 20 x 8 cm (about 8 x 3 in) rectangular dish or 20 cm (about 8 in) diameter round baking dish):
50 g/about 1,8 oz castor sugar
125 g poppy seeds
6 highly heaped tablespoons dry bread crumbs
pinch of salt
Cream (matcha ganache):
2 highly heaped teaspoons matcha
250 g/about 8 oz white chocolate
150 ml/about 5 fl oz liquid cream (25% fat or more)
60 g/about 2 oz butter
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Prepare the chocolate ganache.
Break the chocolate into pieces, put into a pan with cream and butter, and, constantly stirring, dissolve the chocolate and butter on a very low heat (do not boil!).
Put aside and when it has cooled down, add the matcha and mix well in a food processor.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours, until the ganache thickens.
Prepare the cake.
Put the poppy seeds into a pan with cold water. Bring to boil and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
Drain the poppy seeds and grind them in a meat grinder (with the smallest holes) or mix well in a blender (they will become moist and mushy).
Separate the yolks from the whites.
Mix the yolks with the sugar, add the mixed/ground poppy seeds and the bread crumbs.
Beat the egg whites and incorporate them delicately into the poppy mixture.
Line a rectangular dish with baking paper or grease it with butter and sprinkle with bread crumbs (the cake will be very sticky; I advise rather the baking paper).
Pour the poppy cake and bake for about 40-50 minutes. (Make a wooden skewer test: if it comes out dry, the cake is ready).
Let the cake chill out and put it into the fridge for at least one hour (it’s easier to cut when very cold).
When the cake is completely cold, cut it horizontally into 2 slices.
When deciding in which order you should put the slices, bear in mind the bottom of the cake is always smooth and perfect for the top.
Divide the ganache into two equal parts.
Place the first part of the cake and spread 1/2 of the ganache over it.
Cover with the second part of the cake and spread the remaining part all around the sides and on the top of the cake.
Refrigerate for at least three hours. Serve cold, sprinkled with sieved matcha.