Matcha Cake: a decadent layered cake with creamy matcha and vanilla buttercream frosting! This cake is sure to please any crowd: with an impressive and eye-catching hue, a tender crumb, and nutty and sweet matcha, this baked confection is sure to delight!
Table of Contents
- What Is Matcha?
- Why You'll Love This Matcha Cake Recipe
- How to Make Matcha Cake
- Recipe Success Tips
- Storage Directions
- Dietary Adaptations
- More Matcha Recipes
What Is Matcha?
Matcha is a unique and flavorful ground green tea powder that has gained popularity worldwide due to its health benefits and versatility in cooking and baking.
Matcha originated in Japan. It has a distinctly earthy and slightly sweet taste with a smooth and creamy texture. It is commonly used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, but it can also be used in cooking and baking, such as in lattes, smoothies, and desserts.
Matcha can be bought in specialty tea shops, online retailers, some grocery stores, and on Amazon. When buying matcha, it is important to look for high-quality ceremonial grade matcha, as lower quality matcha can have a bitter taste and a grainy texture.
My preferred brand of Matcha is Enzo, but other reputable brands of high-quality matcha include Ippodo Tea and Encha.
Why You'll Love This Matcha Cake Recipe
- Stunning design. Not only is the watercolor frosting technique a treat for the eyes, but it is also surprisingly easy to do! This cake is sure to impress every time.
- Ultra-Flavorful. If you like the taste of green tea, you are going to love this cake! The buttery crumb and sweetness of the buttercream frosting are the perfect complement to the lightly grassy matcha powder.
- Easily made gluten-free and dairy-free. If you or any of your guests have food allergies, this cake is for you! Read on for my tips to easily make this recipe gluten-free and/or dairy-free.
- Great for a crowd. With three beautiful layers, this cake is perfect for birthday parties, baby showers, Mother's Day, or any other celebratory get-together!
This layered matcha sponge cake calls for easy-to-find ingredients and baking staples:
Matcha Cake Ingredients
- Matcha - As mentioned above, ceremonial grade tea is best for this recipe as it has the smoothest and sweetest flavor.
- Cake flour - Cake flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour, creating a more delicate and delicious sponge cake.
- Granulated sugar - Classic white sugar does the trick for this cake.
- Unsalted butter - If you only have salted butter, reduce the salt in the cake by ¼ teaspoon and omit the salt in the buttercream.
- Large eggs - These baking staples bind the cake together, tenderize the crumb, help with leavening, and more!
- Greek yogurt - Just like sour cream does, Greek yogurt adds moisture and a very light tang to the green tea cake. If you don't have Greek yogurt, sour cream can substitute for it.
- Oil - You will want to use a neutral oil, like avocado or light olive oil.
- Whole milk - The fat in this full-fat dairy contributes to a soft crumb and adds richness to the flavor.
- Baking powder & baking soda - Makes the cake light and airy.
- Salt - Enhances all of the flavors in the sponge, bringing out the sweetness and accentuating the flavors of the matcha.
Additional Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
- Shortening - With a neutral flavor, shortening helps cut the richness of the butter, creating a great base for the sweet vanilla buttercream.
- Powdered sugar - Also known as confectionary sugar or icing sugar.
- Vanilla extract - Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
How to Make Matcha Cake
Though this Japanese matcha cake recipe may look complicated, the steps are actually quite simple. Read on to learn how to make it.
Making the Matcha Tea Cakes
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C) and grease and line the bottoms of three 6-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
Step 2: In a large bowl, whisk the cake flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, matcha, and granulated sugar together until combined. Add the softened butter and work it into the flour until the mixture turns sandy.
Step 3: In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, and oil until smooth.
Step 4: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Add the milk and stir just until a smooth batter forms. Be sure not to overmix the batter.
Step 5: Evenly pour the cake batter into the cake pans. Bake in the oven for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the oven comes out clean.
Step 6: Cool the cakes in the pans for 5 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.
How to Make the Buttercream Frosting
Step 1: In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a large bowl and electric hand mixer, beat the softened butter and shortening until light and fluffy.
Step 2: Add the powdered sugar to the creamed butter mixture ½ cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the salt and vanilla. Sample the frosting and add more powdered sugar to taste.
Step 3: Prepare two small bowls. Add ¼ of the vanilla buttercream to each dish.
Step 4: Stir ½ teaspoon of the matcha into one of the bowls, until the buttercream turns a pastel green color. Stir 2½ teaspoons of the matcha into the other bowl and stir until it is a darker green color.
How to Assemble and Frost the Layered Matcha Cake
Step 1: Place one of the matcha cakes on a cake turntable. Spread ½ cup of the vanilla buttercream on the top of the cake using an offset spatula.
Step 2: Place the second cake layer on top of the first and spread another ½ cup of vanilla buttercream on top.
Step 3: Place the final layer of cake on top and cover the entire cake with buttercream, smoothing out the sides and the top.
Step 4: Using a knife or spatula, add dollops of vanilla and matcha buttercream all over the cake.
Step 5: Using a cake scraper or a long spatula, smooth out the sides of the cake while turning the turntable to create a watercolor design.
Recipe Success Tips
- Weigh the flour by weighing it. Scooping the flour or spooning and leveling the flour can increase the flour in the recipe by as much as 20%, making the cakes dense and dry Keep your cake moist and tender by weighing the flour with a food scale.
- Let the cakes cool fully before assembling the cake and frosting. This will keep the frosting from melting on the cake and will generally make cake assembly so much easier.
- To more quickly cool your cake layers, pop them in the refrigerator or freezer until at room temperature!
- Don't overmix the batter. Or, mix just until the streaks of flour absorb into the batter. Mix beyond this and you will risk creating a tough or rubbery cake.
- For the easiest-to-assemble cake, cut the cake domes off. This will prevent the cake from developing a lean or sitting lopsidedly.
This cake keeps covered in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. It can keep covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
The cake can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Defrost the cake in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight before serving.
Have food allergies? Easily make this green tea sponge cake to adjust your needs by following the following dietary adaptations!
- Substitute 1¼ cup (185g) gluten-free 1-to-1 flour and ¼ cup cornstarch for the cake flour.
- After the cake batter comes together, stir it for an extra minute or two.
- Let the batter rest for 30 minutes before pouring it into the cake pans. Bake as directed
- Use unsalted vegan butter in place of the unsalted butter in both the cake and the frosting.
- Substitute 1 cup (240ml) of unsweetened non-dairy milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for the Greek yogurt and whole milk.
- Notes for using vegan butter: if you can only find salted vegan butter, cut the salt down to ¼ teaspoon in the cake and omit the salt from the frosting. Also, since vegan butter melts easier than dairy butter, you'll want to store it in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature before using it in this recipe.
Matcha can provide a slightly earthy and vegetal taste, with subtle notes of sweetness and bitterness, to baked goods. When paired with sweeter flavors like vanilla, chocolate, or citrus, the result is a balanced and flavorful dessert.
Matcha cake turns brown when the cake is either overbaked, whole wheat or all-purpose flour is used, or a chemical reaction between the matcha powder and other ingredients occurs.
So, to help prevent your green tea matcha cake from turning brown, be sure to use cake flour and follow the directions closely so you don't overbake the cake. If a bit of browning does happen due to the matcha reacting with the other ingredients, there is nothing to worry about since the flavor of the cake will not be affected.
Matcha cake is fantastic served on its own, though it is also delicious with a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream or a cup of hot coffee or espresso (believe it or not, matcha and coffee actually go very well together)!
This cake calls for 3 tablespoons of matcha powder, which contain 630g of caffeine. Divided among the 10 slices of cake, each slice of matcha cake contains 60-65g of caffeine or the amount of caffeine in about half a cup of coffee.
More Matcha Recipes
Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you loved this Matcha Green Tea Cake Recipe as much as I do. For more mouth-watering dairy-free, gluten-free, and/or vegan dessert inspiration, make sure to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also get all of my newest content delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for my email newsletter — I promise not to spam you!
- stand mixer optional
- Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C) and grease and line the bottoms of three 6-inch round pans, or two 8-inch round pans with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, matcha, and granulated sugar until combined. Add the softened butter and work it into the flour until it turns into a sandy mixture.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, Greek yogurt, and oil until smooth. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Add the milk and stir just until a smooth batter forms. Be sure not to overmix.
- Evenly pour the batter into the cake pans and bake in the oven for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before taking them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Optional: Once the cake layers have cooled, slice the domes off using a serrated knife, to create flat, even cake layers.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a large bowl and an electric hand mixer, beat the softened butter and shortening until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the salt and vanilla. Sample the frosting and add more powdered sugar if needed for a sweeter frosting.
- Prepare two small bowls and add ¼ of the vanilla buttercream to each bowl. In one bowl, add ½ teaspoon of matcha powder and stir until the frosting turns into a pastel green color. In the other bowl, add the remaining 2½ teaspoons of matcha powder and stir to make a darker green frosting.
- On a cake turntable, place one of the matcha cakes. Add some vanilla buttercream (I used about ½ cup) and spread it out evenly using a knife or offset spatula. Place your second cake layer on top and spread on another layer of buttercream. Place your final layer of cake on top and cover the entire cake with buttercream, smoothing out the sides and top.
- Using a knife or spatula, add dollops of vanilla and matcha buttercream all around the cake. Using a cake scraper or a long spatula, smooth out the sides while turning the turntable to create a watercolor design.
- 1¼ cup (185g) Gluten-free 1-to-1 flour and ¼ cup (32g) cornstarch.
- Stir batter for an extra minute or two after it comes together.
- Let the batter rest for 30 min before pouring it into cake pans and baking.
- Use vegan butter for both the cake and frosting. If you can only find salted vegan butter, cut down the salt to ¼ teaspoon for the cake, and take the salt out completely in the frosting.
- Take out the sour cream and whole milk, and use 1 cup (240ml) of unsweetened non-dairy milk with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.