I know it’s childish, but there’s something about coloured cakes that makes me happy. So I’m just mad about matcha powder – all of that gorgeously green goodness and none of the nasty additives. Not to mention it’s loaded with antioxidants and fat burning loveliness… so you can have your cake and eat it too! As Australia Day has just been and we’re in the midst of Chinese New Year celebrations here in Sydney, I thought it would be fun to smooooosh the two cultures together and bake a big batch of dairy-free matcha green tea lamingtons.
I took half of these lamingtons over to my parents’ house yesterday for afternoon tea. You should have seen my father’s pupils dilate at the sight of these little beauties – only to let out a little ‘oh!’ when he broke one open to discover a monster-in-the-cupboard green on the inside. He’s never had the most adventurous of taste buds (being a country-bred, scones-and-jam kind of a guy), however I’m pleased to report that these were a big hit. I think the caffeine in the matcha got everyone a bit worked up – we chitter-chatted until evening fell.
The other half? Wrapped in cellophane, I packaged them up in Chinese takeaway cartons along with little red envelopes containing coins adding to the number eight for good fortune and wealth. The little goldfish is also a symbol for prosperity in Chinese culture (because their eyes never close, so they are believed to be able to see all obstacles and good fortunes ahead). I’m giving these to friends over the New Year celebrations… I am pretty sure they’re going to think I’ve gone over the top Martha Stewart-style. Oh well, I was feeling crafty.
I’ve used a dairy and lactose-free chiffon recipe for these lamingtons instead of a sponge or butter-based cake – I find it lighter and a better foil for the green tea flavour to shine through. You can really use any cake recipe you like, as long as it’s not too crumbly. Packet mixes work well too – just add a couple of teaspoons of the matcha powder to the batch.
This is my favourite basic cake recipe and believe me, I’ve tried my fair share of cakes. It has the lightest, loveliest texture and is yet to let me down.
matcha green tea lamingtons
makes 25 lamingtons
for the chiffon cake
- 10 egg yolks
- 40g caster (superfine) sugar
- 140mL (3/5 cup) water
- 120g (3/5 cup) canola, grapeseed or rice bran oil
- 140g (1 cup) flour
- 20g (4 tsp) green tea (matcha) powder
- 180g (7/8 cup) sugar
- 20g (2 tbsp) rice flour or corn flour
- 10 egg whites
for the icing
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 60g (4 tbsp) green tea (matcha) powder
- a little hot water
- 2 cups shredded or flaked coconut
the chiffon cake
- Preheat oven to 160C.
- Combine the egg yolks, sugar, water and oil in a medium sized bowl. Sift in the flour and matcha powder, mix well until batter becomes sticky. Set aside.
- Combine the sugar and rice or corn flour. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.
- Add half the sugar and flour mixture to the egg whites and continue beating for a few minutes. Add the remaining sugar and flour and beat until the meringue is glossy with stiff peaks.
- Add one third of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture and fold in lightly, then add the remaining meringue and fold to incorporate completely.
- Pour batter into an un-greased lamington or chiffon pan (depending on the pan, you may need to line with baking paper).
- Bake for 40-50 minutes. Avoid testing with a skewer as this will deflate your cake. It is ready if the cake ‘springs’ back when the surface is lightly pushed.
- When the cake is done, remove from oven and turn over, leaving to cool completely.
- Cut into 2 x 2 inch squares (or whatever size you like!)
- Mix the icing sugar and matcha powder with enough hot water to make a viscous paste (the consistency of runny honey – if too thick or thin add more water or icing sugar).
- Prepare a bowl of the shredded coconut.
- Carefully dip the cake squares in the icing. Transfer the cake to the coconut, roll to make sure it is fully covered. You can use utensils for the dipping, but I find it easier just to use my hands – clean of course!
Serve with a soy matcha latté or iced green tea for an all-out green tea extravaganza.