Green tea cake with “Kuromame” black beans 黒豆入り抹茶ケーキ

Japanese Food

I usually do not make deserts but this was an exception. I saw the recipe (in Japanese) in one of the food blogs I follow. The blogger is a very talented and her cooking covers a wide range of international and Japanese cuisines.  Since I had leftover “Kuromame” 黒豆 black beans from the Osechi box and green tea powder or “macha” 抹茶, I decided to make this cake. Sushitaro osechi included a similar cake one year.  Since this is not my usual area of cooking my wife advised me on several of the techniques (such as creaming sugar and butter) and even though I had a slight “hiccup” in the butter creaming department, the cake came out extremely well. We had this as an afternoon snack with “sencha” 煎茶 green tea (from Hibiki-an 響庵).

The cake is moist with a nice green tea smell and flavor. Although I did not brush the cake with brandy as suggested in the original recipe, the brandy flavor came from the black beans since they were soaked in brandy before baking. This is an excellent cake.

The below are English translation of  the original recipe in Japanese.

Ingredients: (for one loaf of 19cm x 9cm)
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
65g  sugar
50g AP flour
20g potato starch (Katakuri-ko)
40g almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1tbs green tea powder (macha)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3tbs plain yogurt
1tsp vanilla essence
Japanese “Kuromame” black beans in a syrup, arbitrary amount, drained and soaked in 2 tbs brandy.

1. I mixed all dry ingredients (including the sugar) together and sifted to remove any crumbs.
(I made the mistake of not creaming the butter with the sugar. My wife (always helpful) pointed out that this process is very common in cake making or cookie baking. So in an attempt to recover from my mistake, I punted).
2. I added the butter and eggs to the plastic mixing container for the immersion blender. Using low speed, I mixed the butter and eggs. I added all the remaining wet ingredients and further mixed (This worked. All wet ingredients were nicely mixed).
3. I added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mixed until no dry ingredients were visible (#1).
4. Since we did not have a loaf pan of the size specified in the original recipe, we used a disposable aluminum baking pan, well-buttered with the bottom lined with parchment paper  (in retrospect, we could have used a smaller pan which we did have). I placed half of the batter in the loaf pan and smoothed the surface (#2).
5. I drained the black beans soaked in brandy and mixed into the remaining batter (#3).
6. I layered the second batter on top of the first layer and smoothed the surface (#4). (This process results in the black beans being evenly distributed in the cake).
7. I baked the loaf in a preheated 350F oven for 40-45 minutes or until a bamboo skew inserted in the center came out clean.
8. After the loaf cooled down, I removed it from the pan (#5).
9. The black beans appear evenly distributed (sort of).

When the cake came out of the oven, the smell of green tea was really good. For the very first cake I ever made this is an unqualified success (thanks in part to my wife’s guidance of course). We are thinking that instead of kuromame, we can make this cake without it or with nuts. We really enjoyed this cake. It is truly special.

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