Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Lazy Piped Matcha Frosting
I’m not a big baker. There are those people who can do bake and cook, there are the people who are wonderful bakers but don’t really feel comfortable whipping up a savoury meal, and there are people who can cook beautifully but don’t really ‘get’ baking. Then there are the people like me, who are perfectly competent bakers who could fulfil practically all of the challenges on The Great British Bake Off who simply don’t enjoy baking that much. Funny, as my Super Simple 3-Step Chocolate Brownies are the most popular recipe on this site of all time. However, sometimes the mood takes me to bake something simple, with just a little twist.
This chocolate sponge will forever be my kryptonite. It’s the sponge from the One-Bowl Chocolate Cake in Student Eats, and in spite of it being the most heavily tested recipe in the book (it took forever to get just right, and by the end my parents and I were so sick of eating it we actually gave the one pictured in the book away to our hairdresser after I’d taken the photos!) I have finally done it: I have found a mistake in the book. I just knew there had to be at least one in there somewhere no matter how many people checked it over, and I should have known it would be in this recipe. If you own a copy of the book, please bake this for 20-25 minutes, opening the door only after 20 minutes to check on the cake – thanks!
To cheer myself up after making the sponge I decided to make a slightly special, buttermilk enriched matcha buttercream frosting for the top, and decided to decorate cake with the type of round piped peaks I’ve seen all over Pinterest. Wanting cake right away (the butter was already softening on the kitchen counter) and not wishing to change out of my leggings/ sweatshirt combination or put any makeup on I grabbed my keys and headed to the only cookshop within walking distance of my flat at Borough Market. Ladies and gentleman, this ‘lazy’ piping you see here is the result of piping in a bag with just a hole in it, because it turns out I don’t own piping nozzles, and the shop only sells piping bags, without the tips. I told you that this cake – while delicious and much enjoyed by my flatmates and friends – is my own personal nightmare. Well, one thing went right. I’ve been having a nightmare testing out cakes in my oven because it turns out it has heat spots everywhere, and the team at Dexam sent me a beautiful, thick, non-stick professional tin in my favourite size to try out quite some time ago. This is the first sponge to have survived my own perfectly!
This cake will serve 6-8 people, and will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight tin. You can make the sponge the day before you frost it, and if anything it will taste moister for being kept in the tin for that time. You should be able to find matcha powder in good Asian supermarkets (for anyone who has been trying to shop near me you can’t get it in any of the stores in Canterbury, but I saw a big selection in Longdan in Elephant and Castle – my new Asian supermarket crush), Whole Foods or online (there is so much to choose from, I have happily used Teapigs and Clearspring before).
- 170g (6 oz) Golden Caster Sugar
- 170g (6 oz) Margarine (or room temperature unsalted butter)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3 Large Eggs
- 5 tbsp Cocoa Powder
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 120g (4 oz) Plain Flour
- 110g (4 oz) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- 250g (9 oz) Icing Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
- 1 1/2 tbsp Matcha Powder
- 2 tbsp Buttermilk
Pre-heat the oven to 180 (350 fahrenheit). Line the base of a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment and grease the sides with a little butter or margarine. In a mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and margarine until the mixture is light and fluffy. Margarine is better here, but I know it is harder to find in some countries. Beat in the vanilla, followed by the eggs one by one. Add the baking powder and cocoa powder, and mix until everything is combined. Mix in the flour until it is just combined – over mixing can make for a heavy cake, but you don’t want any lumps of flour. Mix 1 tbsp of boiling water into the batter, and pour it into the cake tin. Shake the tin a little, to knock out any big air bubbles, and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until you can insert a cake tester or sharp knife and it comes away clean, and the cake springs back from a gentle touch. Let it cool in the tin.
To make the frosting, beat together the butter, icing sugar and matcha until smooth. Beat in the buttermilk a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is smooth. Transfer it into a piping bag (I prefer to do this by putting the bag over the rim of a glass, and using a spatula), and once the cake is cool, decorate it with peaked splodges (pull the bag upwards and stop squeezing every time you want to finish a patch) starting with a ring from the outside of the cake, going inwards.
A few more cakes and bakes now going outside at the weekend seems less appealing: Salted Caramel Double Chocolate Rolo Cookies, Mummy’s Classic Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake, M&M Cookies, Nutella Rugelach, A Cheap & Easy Classic Tea Bread, Mini Limoncello Glazed Vanilla Baked Doughnuts, Easy Raspberry Ganache Chocolate Brownies and Chocolate Cake with Fresh Passion Fruit Buttercream.