I know, I know, I'm very much channeling my inner Asian girl. But I'd like to argue to that I go above and beyond the typical obsession, that I freakin' went to Uji, Japan: the capital of Matcha. Indeed, I am a hardcore fan. I have a dedicated matcha cup, a fancy whisk, a whisk holder for said fancy whisk. Plus, I store my ceremonial grade matcha in the freezer. What do you say to that, haters! What's that? I've said this before and only my social anxiety gives a damn about my oh-so-sterotypical penchant for matcha baked goods? Oh okay.
You'd think I wouldn't fall for every matcha recipe I see on the internet, but only if you don't know me and my undying devotion to all things Matcha.
Matcha in Every Dessert: Not Always a Good Thing
What a beautiful disappointment.
However much I love my matcha desserts, there are definitely hits and misses. Alanna's recipe in The Alternative Baker for chocolate Cake with matcha frosting? A hit. Bon Appétit's Matcha-white chocolate sugar cookies? An unfortunate miss. What's worse, food52, my trusted go-to site for recipe inspiration, called them matcha snickerdoodles. If there ever was a misnomer, this was it; naming a sugar cookie a snickerdoodle held it up to expectations of cinnamon covered chewiness that supposedly blends together white chocolate and matcha into a delectable treat.
As much as I wanted to love these cookies, the sugar was too overwhelmingly present, and the matcha did not shine through-instead, it was more for aesthetic purposes. I don't want my food to merely look good, but taste delicious. Every recipe I'll post will be greater than the sum of its parts; it'll have that nuanced contrast of textures and flavors that linger in your mouth, making you wonder what that one ingredient is, how you must take a another bite to be pin down what exactly makes this cookie so great.
I'll be honest, even if St. Patrick's Day wasn't this Friday, I would've made this cake. As it is, St. Patrick's days means a green-tinted tsunami of matcha desserts will undoubtedly coming out way. I mean, how could I resist Four & Twenty Blackbird's matcha custard pie? Or Molly Yeh's black and matcha cookies?
Back to the cake. Zucchini always adds moisture into cake recipes, and this one is no different. Dutch cocoa powder adds that appetizing rich, darkish color and toasted nutty flavor. The cake is not too sweet, and is especially lovely when combined with that light tartness from the matcha cream cheese. A faint, but detectable matcha flavor adds that unique quality to the otherwise traditional chocolate cake. I didn't have sorghum flour on hand, so I substituted AP Flour, which I always have in hand (you know, just in case I absolutely need to bake a batch of muffins in the middle of the night à la Kirsten Wiig in Bridesmaids).
With a 9 - 5 job, I've learned to sacrifice sleep in pursuit of more interesting things in life. Indeed, although social conventions have molded me into a upright citizen who gets up at 7:20am every morning, I'm convinced I secretly night owl at heart.
This isn't the first time I've stayed up later writing a blog post, but with a 9 - 5 job this necessary sacrifice of sleep takes its toll. Is this perhaps the breaking point, the barrier to entry for new bloggers, a feat held together by sheer determination and willpower to continue typing late into the night?
This is only my second post and I have yet to understand all that there is to blogging, but like everything that you care for in life, doubt and anxiety--along with excitement--manages to creep in. But hey, if I wasn't a bundled mess of excitement and nervousness, then I wouldn't care very much about this. So hello, world.
Chaos in Uji,
Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from The Alternative Baker
YIELDS One 8-inch square cake
Cook time: 1 hour
1 cup (225 g zucchini or 2 small or 1 large)
1 cup (215 g) packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil or sunflower oil
1/4 cup (60ml) whole milk*
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (60 g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (115 g) AP flour**
1/4 cup (25 g ) sweet white rice flour
2 tsp (8 g) baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting
3/4 cup (170 g) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup (85 g) powdered sugar, sifted
1 tbsp (5 g) matcha powder
pinch of salt
*30 ml evaporated milk and 30 ml water works too
**original recipe uses 115 g sorghum flour
Storage Notes: Cake can be wrapped and stored for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. If you're not serving the cake right away, chill for up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or grease pan with softened butter.
To make the cake, grate zucchini on a box grater (or in my case, a microplane-totally works!). Place zucchini in a large bowl and add brown sugar, sugar, eggs, oil, milk and vanilla extract. Stir to combine. Then, sift the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt into the large bowl. Using a spatula, stir well to combine until mixture is deliciously dark.
Scrape the batter into the prepared square pan, making sure the layer is evenly distributed. Bake the cake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs, but is not wet. Let cool completely on a rack for at least 30 minutes until completely cooled.
To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, matcha powder and salt in a food processor and blend until the frosting morphs into beautifully light green fluffiness.
When the cake has cooled, use an offset spatula to spread the frosting over the top.
Serve up that deliciously ~moist~ matcha-frosted cake. Cheers.