Tea is popular in this household. That’s an understatement. Tea is an obsession in this household. We have a very large drawer full of at least 30 kinds of tea, plus 5 or 6 tea-brewing devices and an electric tea kettle. We have a “tea station” where we make our daily selections, stocked with all of the fancy accoutrements. Honey, measuring spoons, mesh filters, towels and aerators are all present and accounted for. That’s why making this spring green tea cake with layers of honey sponge was such an event in this household.
I’m a black tea girl, preferring a loose leaf Earl Grey or Breakfast Blend with a little honey and milk. My husband drinks a whole pot or two of strong green tea a day. When I brought up the idea of a green tea cake recipe; he latched onto the idea and piped in with a few suggestions. The cake has an airy green tea mousse layered with honey-drenched sponge cake. The pale green color of this tea and honey cake almost screams spring. The flavors and textures are light; reminiscent of a tiramisu.
The bright, vibrant green color of matcha green tea is alluring and complex. This finely milled powder is the center of the Japanese tea ceremony. We all know it’s loaded with healthy stuff, but it can be a challenge to drink, which is why we had a perfectly good tin of matcha tea powder waiting to be made into dessert.
This is the first time I made a sponge cake and it was easier than I thought it would be. The batter mixed easily and the cakes came out of the oven perfectly. The mousse was a challenge for me, despite having made chocolate mousse many times in the past. The first recipe I used called for gelatin powder and all I had were sheets. The substitution didn’t work and I ended up trying to “fix” the mousse. In the end, I remade the mousse from scratch. Don’t you hate when that happens?
The first batch didn’t go to waste. I’ve been enjoying dollops of green tea cream on top of my Earl Grey. Aren’t I fancy?
The final cake was as beautiful as it was delicious. I decorated the top with lots of matcha tea. This may be a little too much tea for some. I recommend using just a little; applied with a stencil. You can also decorate the cake with pistachios, honey brittle or piped mousse as an alternative.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F/ 65 degrees C.
Coat 2 8" cake pans with butter or cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the sugar and continue to beat on high speed until the eggs increase in size by 4x and the color is pale yellow. When you lift the whisk, the mixture should fall in ribbons.
Combine 5 tablespoons of the honey with 2 tablespoons of warm water, reserving the rest. Quickly add to the egg mixture until just combined.
Working in batches, add the flour to the egg mixture, mixing gently until just combined. Do not over mix at this point.
Divide the batter between cake pans. Carefully tap the cake pans on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles. Bake for 30 minutes, then open the oven door and bake another 5 minutes. The texture of the cakes should be spongy.
Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the cake pans and cool completely.
Sprinkle gelatin powder over cold water into a bowl. Allow to soften for 1 minute. Add boiling water and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Allow to cool slightly.
In a mixing bowl, stir together sugar and green tea powder. Add whipping cream and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until cream is stiff and forming peaks. Add the gelatin mixture and beat until completely blended. Place into the refrigerator to cool completely; about 30 minutes.
Using a bread knife, carefully cut sponge cake layers in half. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 tablespoon warm water. Arrange the bottom cake layer on a cake stand. Lightly Brush with honey mixture. Add a layer of mousse. Alternate each layer, brushing the sponge layers with more honey.
You can make the cakes ahead; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until assembly.