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.
I have to admit; this isn’t a typical recipe for me. Chocolate cups? Strawberry mousse? I think I spent a little too much time on Pinterest last week looking at Valentine’s Day desserts. I wanted to make a chocolate mousse with champagne zabaglione, inside a freshly baked chocolate tart shell. Maybe I will someday. When it came down to it, I was tired and didn’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen while my toddler fussed…only to make a big (bigger) mess of my kitchen.
All the egg yolks too. That dessert would have a ton of eggs in it. I couldn’t do it.
Instead, I made chocolate cups, which are super-easy. I also made a fresh strawberry mousse, which doesn’t have any artificial food coloring or flavoring (yum!). Piped into the chocolate cups and served with fresh strawberries, this recipe makes a romantic Valentine’s Day dessert, or anytime dessert. You can make the mousse more interesting by substituting your favorite liquor for the water in this recipe. Try it with port, or ice wine, or even vodka. It’s up to you how boozy you want to make it.
The mousse is very light and airy. It’s creamy, too, which pairs nicely with the crunch from the chocolate cup. Serve this strawberry mousse with a glass of champagne. Chocolate, champagne and strawberries just love to be together!
Adapted from Spoonful recipe
Pour the cold water (or liquor) into a small bowl and stir in the gelatin. Allow to stand for 2 minutes. Pour the boiling water (or liquor) over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
Set aside 6 strawberries for garnish. Clean and remove the leaf-ends of the remaining strawberries. Add the hulled berries, gelatin, lemon zest and sugar into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
In a mixing bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Set aside a few spoonful’s of whipped cream for garnish (whip in additional sugar if you want). Fold together the remaining whipped cream and strawberry mixture. If you are using chocolate cups, chill the mousse in a container before adding to the cups.
If you are not using chocolate cups, spoon the mousse directly into serving glasses. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Garnish with whipped cream and strawberries before serving.
Use disposable cups. Cut them down to the height you want them if they are too tall.
Add the chocolate to a dry glass bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds on the lowest heat setting (use the “melt” setting if you have one). Stir the chocolate. Continue to microwave in 20-30 second intervals, stirring in-between, until the chocolate in completely melted, but not too hot.
Using a spoon, add about 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate to the inside of the plastic cup. Smooth along the sides using the back of the spoon. Add another teaspoon and smooth again, running the spoon completely around the inside until completely coated with chocolate. Add a little to the bottom of the cup if necessary. You want a thin, even coating.
Chill the cups in the refrigerator for an hour, until set. To remove, peel the cup away from the chocolate, being careful not to leave fingerprints on side of the cup. It helps to hold the cup at the bottom with one finger on the top edge and one on the bottom. Chill cups again before adding mousse.
Fill chocolate cups with mousse using a spoon or piping bag.
Rich chocolate cake with mousse filling and a chocolate butter cream, port wine frosting; I’m on a serious chocolate cake-making binge. This is my third cake this month (and best yet). I didn’t manage to photograph the others, because, while they tasted good, it’s nearly impossible to make a cake look picture perfect with an 8-month-old under your feet. I somehow managed to pull off this cake in my little windows of me-time, and even managed to cook dinner, sweep the floor, clean his highchair and walker, do the dishes, and throw a load of laundry into the washer. Oh…I dressed and did my hair too!
I’m not much of a baker, so cake making is outside my comfort zone. I don’t even own a cake stand or an offset spatula. I feel like I got the hang of it with this last cake, and while my icing skills need work, the taste was amazing. To make it, I used some of my favorite recipes from the Web, altering them a bit. I wanted a dark, chocolate layer cake –not too sweet — paired with a light, fluffy chocolate mousse, and frosted with rich, port wine chocolate frosting. The end result is worth repeating and sharing.
Using high quality ingredients is important if you are going to all this effort. I used Scharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa and semi-sweet chunks for the chocolate. Substituting walnut oil instead of plain vegetable oil is another way to add more flavor. I always use organic butter, sugar, eggs and flour and my vanilla extract is homemade. The port wine was vintage 1974, purchased on our honeymoon to Spain. All of those extra touches are what create the love in this decadent chocolate cake with mousse filling and chocolate port wine frosting.
Adapted from Ina Garten's "Beatty's Chocolate Cake"
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour two 8 inch cake pans. I use a paper towel to smear the butter around, and then tilt the pans over the sink to make sure the flour covers every bit of the pan. You can line them with parchment on the bottom, but my cakes came out fine without.
Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, blend together the buttermilk (or milk and sour cream), oil, eggs and vanilla. Using an electric mixer on a low speed, slowly combine the wet and dry ingredients. Once combined, mix in the hot coffee.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until they are done and a wooden cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 30 minutes, and then remove them from the pans to cool on a wire rack.
To assemble the cake, invert one layer, flat side up. Pipe a ribbon of chocolate butter cream around edge to create a “dam” for the mousse. If you don’t have a piping bag, just use a plastic baggy with a hole cut out of one corner like I did.
Add a big dollop of mousse to the middle of the first layer and smooth. Place the second layer on top, flat side down. I suggest placing the cake in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to cool at this point. You want your mousse to be nice and hard.
Ice the cake on the top and sides with butter cream.
Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake recipe by Food for a Hungry Soul
Using low heat, combine ½ cup of the heavy cream with the powdered sugar in a heavy saucepan. Add the chocolate chips and stir continuously until the chocolate is completely melted; remove from the heat. Add in the vanilla and stir to combine. Set aside while you whip the cream.
In a large bowl, whip the remaining cream on medium speed, slowly adding the granulated sugar. Once combined, turn the speed to high until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over whip.
Add the chocolate mixture to the cream and carefully fold the two together, taking care not to over mix. Once they are combined, stop mixing. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 cups
chocolate butter cream recipe by Kittencalskitchen adapted by adding port wine and a touch of salt.
Combine the sifted sugar and cocoa powder.
Cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add the sugar/cocoa mix to the butter, alternating with vanilla, cream and port wine until completely mixed.
Continue to beat until desired consistency is achieved, adding more liquid or sugar if necessary.