Have you ever had something you really love discontinued? Maybe a favourite snack food or chocolate bar, a TV show or a magic hair serum that tames your not quite curly, certainly not straight hair. No? Just me then? … I thought not ;). We’ve all lost something we love – that’s what progress (and life, I dare say) is all about. So let me tell you about how I created a cupcake that has filled the gap since I discovered my most favourite wee cafe of all time closed down without warning, leaving me without their secret recipe for the most perfect ginger and lemon cake I believe has ever been created and without their green tea vanilla “SmooTeas”. For we all know, the secret to eternal happiness is surely, baked into a cupcake somewhere out there…
So, we need to know a little more about this cafe, or tea shop, first before we delve into one of those cupcake filled tea cups you see up there. It was called Brew and was just around the corner from the train station which I arrive at when going to “town”. It was an independent little place which sold homemade cakes, biscuits, sandwiches and the most innovative and thoroughly delicious array of tea drinks you could imagine. The staff were happy, young, funky as well as passionate and knowledgeable about their products. They never shooed you away nor gave you evils if you caressed an empty chai tea latte cup for several hours, using their wifi to write your latest blog. Sigh…
But perhaps the most special thing was that me and my bestest friend of all time used to meet there, take breaks from uni and much needed “tea and cake” breaks on day long shopping trips! Moo, the friend in question, introduced me to their green tea SmooTea one day and after that, I never ordered another drink. A blend of ice, a little honey, a relatively small amount of milk, real vanilla and the magic ingredient itself – matcha tea powder. You could have whipped cream on top – it wasn’t necessary. It was creamy and nursery sweet enough. This was our thing, me and Moo. A little girly bonding over something sweet. But, as always, life got in the way. Moo moved far, far away (instead of 30 seconds away from my home) and has started a brand new life and soon, a spanking new career. I’m not sure how it happened but we’ve gone from daily contact to weeks without speaking – that pesky life thing getting in our way again. I miss her and long for these Brew days once again and I’m hoping she will read this post, know I’m bloo without my Moo and have made these cupcakes in her honour 🙂
So, turning to The Primrose Bakery Book (a constant source of comfort for me when life leaves me weary) revealed a recipe for green tea cupcakes. A-ha! An idea formed in my mind – having had a bag of matcha unused for a few months in my cupboard I thought, what the hell, let’s try and create my SmooTeas! Let’s Brew some tea in some scalded milk first…
Then, after standing at room temp for a few hours, let’s start our cupcake batter. We will need to reduce the sugar and replace about half of it with some lovely mild runny hunny to help with our Mission Recreation SmooTea!
Now stay with me as you behold the colour of batter, once the matcha milk, a little vanilla paste and the batter meet. It might be the colour of Kermit, if he was in army camo gear but it is all natural and the tea is all organic too. The bestest food “colouring” a gal could hope for 🙂
Once baked, the cupcakes retain this moss green colour with only the barest golden brown tinges at the edges of any cracks which appear. Oh how I love the Primrose method of making cupcakes – sifting plain and self raising flour together without adding extra raising agents. The texture of their cakes is so moist, so smooth, so full of air and always, always produce the most perfect dome shape to the baked cake. Well it pleases me, immensely.
So all that is left is to frost my Ode to the SmooTea cuppie. Again, inspired by the Primrose girls, I went for a basic buttercream this time but I changed the quantities of the ingredients significantly and added honey and vanilla and more matcha. Do feel free to fiddle to suit your cupcake requirements – in fact I have plans of making a matcha Swiss meringue buttercream for my next batch so don’t feel you must frost as I have! See – I even fiddle my own recipes lol!
To complete the full Brew and Moo experience, I baked my cupcakes in a set of silicone tea cup shaped cupcake cases that Moo gave me for Christmas as I don’t think there is a more fitting way to serve a tea flavoured cupcake than in an actual tea cup! Pink and white roses was required too as these were what I decorated my wedding cakes with (me, Moo and my other bridesmaid Hayls made 120 amaretto cupcakes for my wedding – I know, bananas!) and during my wedding planning, me and Moo of course needed a few pit stops at Brew. So here we come full circle. May I present the green vanilla SmooTea cupcake. It tastes exactly as I imagine the drink would in cake form and it transports me back to happy days with my Moo. Here’s to a million more sweetpea, let’s not leave it too long until I can bake these for you for real.
- 110g soft butter
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 100g runny honey
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 2 large eggs
- 150ml milk
- 1 heaped tbsp matcha powder
- 120g plain flour
- 125g self raising flour
- 75g soft butter
- 150-200g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- 1 heaped tsp matcha powder
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- Milk as necessary
- Heat the milk to boiling then whisk in the matcha powder and leave to steep for a minimum of half an hour at room temp or overnight in the fridge.
- Cream butter and sugar until very light and fluffy indeed.
- Add in the honey and cream that in well too before beating the eggs in (I beat them in at once, speeding right up to minimise curdling risk).
- Next sift your flours together and then sift onto the creamed mixture - beat in gently pouring the milk, matcha and vanilla; it should be incorporated within a minute.
- Scoop into paper cases in a muffin tray (I use an ice cream scoop as I'm OCD that way 😉 ) then bake at 180˚C for approx 25 mins.
- The cakes will rise and brown a tiny bit but will have a wonderful natural green colour.
- Cool in the tin for 5 mins then place cupcakes on a rack to cool fully.
- For the frosting simply beat all the ingredients together until soft and fluffy - whipping them with a hand whisk or in a stand mixer for 5-7minutes gives the lightest texture you can imagine.
- Pipe or swirl as you please onto the cooled cupcakes. So pretty!