As you can probably tell from my earlier post, Quinoa Sushi Rice, I love the flavors of Japanese cuisine.
Traditional Japanese tea ceremony is regarded as a high art form, and for a good reason. Green tea is an ingredient that is well respected, and is treated accordingly. Tea ceremonies embrace the bitterness of the tea, alternating between sips of the strong, frothy brew and slow-dissolving sweets that are so beautiful and intricately crafted that they could be sugar jewelry.
I modeled these cupcakes off of Japanese green tea steamed cakes. Steamed cakes are light and sweet, with the texture of the fluffiest yellow cake you can imagine. They are a popular snack, and you can purchase them in convenience stores and bakeries across Japan.
These steamed cakes are not the only dessert to be flavored with matcha. Matcha ice cream is also common, and is often swirled with vanilla in a classic soft-serve twist.
To me, it seems the green tea dessert represents an overarching creed of the Japanese culture: life is bitter; life is sweet. To live fully, one experiences both, either in shifts or in tandem. A green tea cupcake isn’t just dessert, it is the “in-yo” (similar to Chinese yin-yang), the balance of life itself.
I understand it’s pretty hard to sell any cupcake recipe as being the balance of life itself, especially a recipe that contains no sugar or flour. But if you know you love green tea, or if you’re feeling adventurous in the kitchen, I highly recommend trying a batch.
The cupcakes are moist and soft, and have a springy texture that resembles traditionally baked cakes. They flavor is sweet, but not for everyone, as the true flavor of the green tea is a feature, and some regard this as being a bitter flavor. A strawberry buttercream helps to brighten the cake with fruity notes, and balance the potential bitterness of the matcha.
If you are in the early stages of the candida diet, and are still used to higher levels of sweetness, you can try adding more stevia to this recipe, but go slowly and augment in half-teaspoon increments.
For the strawberry buttercream:
Full fat content of 2 cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 stick salted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp liquid stevia
½ cup dehydrated no sugar added strawberries, pulverized into powder
Refrigerate the coconut milk for at least an hour before making the frosting in order to separate the milk solids from the liquids.
Cut the softened butter into smaller chunks and place these into the bowl of a food processor. Open the refrigerated coconut milk and carefully collect the milk solids, depositing them into the food processor with the butter. Leave the liquid milk behind in the can to be used in the cupcake recipe.
Add the vanilla, stevia, and powdered strawberries to the butter and coconut milk. Pulse the food processor a few times until the ingredients blend and the icing comes together. There can be some texture and even a few small lumps. Be very careful not to over-process or your butter will separate, this is the most important thing to remember.
You can also pair these with vanilla buttercream, the recipe for which can be found here.
For the cupcakes:
1 15 oz can butter beans
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tsp liquid stevia
1 ¼ tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp salted butter, melted
1 ¼ cups almond flour
½ tsp salt
1//4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp matcha green tea powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Strain and rinse the butter beans to wash off excess starches. Rinse until the water runs clear out of the strainer.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the beans, coconut milk, eggs, stevia, vanilla, and melted butter. Puree these until they come together in a smooth, paste-like batter. No beans should be left whole.
To the pureed wet ingredients, add the almond flour, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar lemon juice, and matcha green tea powder. Run the food processor again to integrate all these ingredients.
Line a cupcake pan with parchment liners. Fill each liner ¾ of the way full.
Bake the cupcakes for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan to ensure even baking and bake for another 15 minutes. After 30 minutes the cupcakes should have risen slightly and there should be some slight cracking patterns evident on their tops. Remove the finished cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool before frosting.
So, as the Japanese say at the start of a meal, Itadakimasu!