My brother in-law's birthday is in a few days, and I really wanted to make something really tasty for him this weekend while he and his girlfriend are visiting with us. See, my brother in-law is one of those freakishly smart people: he spent the last eight years teaching himself Japanese, and has gotten to the point where he could test out of his first three years of college. Yeah, you could say I'm a wee bit intimidated by his giant brain.
I really like his new girlfriend, she is such a sweetheart, and she makes him so happy. So, I decided to ask her to help me in making his birthday cupcakes. I wanted to make something Asian-inspired, and I had been eyeing these delicious-looking Matcha Green Tea Cupcakes on Chockylit's blog, Cupcake Bakeshop (http://cupcakeblog.com/index.php/2007/01/green-tea-bubble-cream-filled-cupcakes-with-green-tea-cream-cheese-frosting/), for the last year. I had the recipe printed off and lurking in my cupboard for far too long, it was time to put these bad boys to the test.
And OH. MY. GOODNESS. These were by far my best cupcakes to date. The cake is soft and pillowy, and the matcha cream cheese frosting is totally irresistable, I wanted to squeeze the frosting bag directly into my mouth, like a Whip-It. I remained ladylike, and chose to squeeze the frosting onto my finger "by accident", then devoured it like a beast.
My frosting turned out paler green than on Chockylit's webpage, but that may be because my matcha powder was from a pre-made drink packet, not a large tin or anything. And I had to keep adding powdered sugar in order to get the frosting to stiffen enough to pipe. Here's the recipe:
Cupcakes~28 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds. 2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each. 4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to mixer bowl. Add the milk and vanilla. Mix to combine. 5. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to two-thirds full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes). 6. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
Green Tea Cream Cheese Frosting
12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4 cups sifted powdered sugar (I actually used about 5 cups in total)
1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder (I used two tbsps)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours 2. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment 3. Beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy. 4. Add half of the sugar, the green tea powder, and the vanilla. Beat until combined. 5. Gradually add remaining sugar (more if you have to) until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.
Frost and decorate as desired.
I topped the birthday boy's cupcake with a senbei cookie (little tiny fortune cookie with a ginger sugar coating). He LOVED them. These went over way better than I was expecting. It would be in my best interest to commit this recipe to memory, because I have a feeling I will definitely be using it again.