Saturday, November 10, 2007


Matcha Tea Cakes with Sultanas & Pinenuts

Take it from me, a joyous life is simple. It's all about injecting a bit of merry mischief into your days. Whimsical deviations from the norm, if you will.

For instance, yesterday, after checking out a few houses we could never dream of having the funds for, (my goodness, the housing market! Sigh.) the Ombudsman and I balanced our day by heading to the MacArthur Park Tamale Festival (lovely tamales, underwhelming event.) and ending up at the ever charming Lucques many hours later for a glass of wine and a sample of their cheese plate. (Superb.)

In between we stopped in to a museum; and then accidentally (or, you know, on purpose) headed up to the rooftop of a building to amuse ourselves, despite the fact it was most likely not open to the public at that hour. Or ever for that matter.

After admiring the views (yes! that is exactly what we were doing! Admiring the views.) we wiggled our way into a star drenched private screening of a very odd flick and just as abruptly, left. Crashing parties, always good for a sly giggle.

See? Innocent (not at all criminal) mischief. Makes me a giddy girl.

Which is my silly way of introducing this cake. It's a classic (American style) tea cake...but it's also, a cake made with tea. A clever little double delight, eh? But it is a bit playful with the introduction of a fat handful of sultanas (so much more suave a word than golden raisin, me thinks.) some earthy green matcha and toasty pinenuts. Unexpected. Irreverent. A regular mash up, I'd say. Decidedly different. Almost sweet, but with a hint of something naughty. What more could a person ask for. Mischievous matcha. The key to happiness.

Do try it my peaches, and taste the joy.

Corn meal
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon each ground white pepper, nutmeg, mace and allspice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 T plus 1 tsp matcha powder
1 drop green food coloring (optional. ONLY use this if your batter is a bit drab)
2/3 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup golden raisins (Sultanas)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 bag frozen raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
Berries and mint sprigs for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Lightly butter and then dust with corn-meal, (adds a lovely crunch. If you haven't got any, just use white flour) four 4-inch mini springform pans. (You can also just do this in one large pan, a 10-inch springform should do it)

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the dry ingredients in a seperate bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

On low speed, beat half the dry ingredients into butter mixture, then mix in the matcha, food coloring (if using) and creme fraiche. Beat in the remaining half of the dry ingredients. Toss the golden raisins and pinenuts into the reserved 2 tablespoons dry ingredients then fold that into the wet batter.

Spoon batter into prepared pan making sure to smooth the top. Bake for 15 minutes on the center rack. When a cake tester (or knife), inserted into the centers comes out clean, remove and transfer the cakes to rack and cool.

Meanwhile, combine the defrosted raspberries and sugar in a pan. Simmer until the berries break down (about 10 minutes) then strain and set aside until ready to use.

When the cakes are cool, cut around the pan sides to loosen cake; remove pan sides.

Pour some of the raspberry sauce onto a plate. Top with the cakes. Garnish with mint and raspberries if desired. (I do.)


Matcha is green powdered tea. It is uniquely Japanese and is the highest quality tea available in Japan

In the UK a teacake is a light, sweet, yeasted bun containing dried fruits such as currants, sultanas or peel. In the US, a teacake is a quickbread, also containing dried fruit.

Matcha is also the primary flavoring of Suntory's Zen liqueur, introduced to the U.S. market in 2005

Seattle-based Jones Soda Co., is selling holiday-themed limited-edition packs of flavored sodas.
The Christmas pack will feature such flavors as Sugar Plum, Christmas Tree, Egg Nog and Christmas Ham. The Hanukkah pack will have Jelly Doughnut, Apple Sauce, Chocolate Coins and Latkes sodas. Both packs are kosher and contain zero caffeine. - Boston Globe


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