Saturday, May 17, 2008

More Matcha

My freshman year of college I was fortunate to be placed with a roommate who has now become a very good friend. We found that we had a major trait in common even though our native languages used entirely different characters in their alphabets. That trait was not being from Texas, and your shared sense of alienation along with a love for sushi has gotten us far. I wish I could say that I have taught her equally what she has taught me, but the weights seem very unbalanced. My Japanese vocabulary has expanded beyond "Konichiwa," and I have come to appreciate the taste of many new things, including matcha tea.

Aw, matcha.

I'll take this fine green tea powder whisked into a frothy tea or as an ingredient in any baked good. Recently my again-roommate, Meiko, made a batch of cookies from our favorite new recipe that turned out a cheerful springtime green. Around the same time I came across La Tartine Gourmande's loaf cake of marbled white chocolate and matcha, so the two of us scheduled a study break in the midst of our final week of classes to bake. I brought the white chocolate my mom had sent from Washington, and she brought the matcha powder she had brought from Japan.

I had never made a marble cake before, so I did a bit of research on the best way to acheive a successful marble pattern. After learning about spooning and swirling, layering and swirling, etc. we ended up just diving in and found that the batter was so thick that spooning and swirling worked the best (it still came out prettier on top than on the inside, but I liked having large enough bites of the different flavors to taste them on their own too).

The flavor combination in this cake is brilliant. However, I would do things a little differently next time. We used a 9'x5' loaf pan and the batter barely filled half of it. Granted, it rose in the oven, but then I pulled it out too early because the knife appeared to come out clean and the top was nicely browned. Next time I certainly wouldn't want the edges to get any more done, and yet a gooey batter of this sort doesn't work like it does for brownies. So, I would propose trying a shallower pan to even out the baking without going into the land of dry crumbs, or I would adjusting the ingredients to make a more wet batter.

I am getting more and more excited for my trip to Japan and the chance to drink (and eat) more matcha. I still have to pinch myself to believe it is happening, and yet my departure is less than two months away!

Here is the recipe:

White Chocolate and Matcha Tea Marbled Cake.