I have two friends whose birthdays are within days of each other’s. One had requested a red-bean flavoured cake and the other was a huge fan of green tea. Since we had planned to celebrate their birthdays together, I knew I needed a cake that would suit the both of them. So I came up with this recipe that was inspired by an ice-blended green tea drink with red bean topping sold at a popular coffee chain.
For the cake:
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 120g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 120g flour
- 2 tsp matcha (green tea) powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup yoghurt
Makes a 2-layer 7-inch cake.
For the red bean filling:
- 200g dried red beans
- 2 cups water
- Icing sugar, to taste
Makes more than you’ll need for the cake. Alternatively, you could use sweet red bean powder and add water to make a thick paste.
For the matcha buttercream icing:
- 85g unsalted butter, softened
- 160g icing sugar
- 1/2 tbsp matcha powder
- 1 tbsp milk
Step 1: Boil the red beans in the water until soft. Drain and mash/blend into a thick paste. Sweeten with icing sugar to your liking.
Step 2: Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease and line 2 7-inch round cake tins.
Step 3: Beat the oil, sugar and eggs together until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened slightly. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
Step 4: Divide the batter equally between the two tins and bake for 30 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes before decorating.
Step 5: To make the matcha icing, beat the butter with your mixer on high-speed until it looks creamy and slightly lighter than before. Sift in the icing sugar and matcha powder, and mix into the butter. Add the milk and mix on high-speed for 5 minutes.
Step 6: Place one cake layer on your serving board. Spread a thin layer of the matcha icing on top. Then, build a thin wall of icing around the edge of the cake to act as a “dam.” (I used a piping bag with a #18 tip, but you could just as easily use two spoons to build up the wall.) Spoon the red bean filling into the centre.
Step 7: Place the other layer on top and spread more matcha icing on top. (I just randomly piped stars to fill up the top.)
And just like that, I have two friends appeased. This cake also happens to be really delicious. The flavour of most other cakes tends to be a one-dimensional sweet, but in this cake, the sweetness of the red bean is kept in check with the slight bitterness of the matcha.