This cake was for my dad’s birthday, which I remembered just in time. With about an hour left in the day. I was just shocked because I never forget, but I guess October just crept in on me.
It’s hard baking for my parents, because they don’t actually like sweets and desserts. Last year while in Paris, I got some pastries from Pierre Hermé as my “birthday cake”, which I freaked out over the entire time eating it (as you can imagine)– scrutinizing and appreciating every component, every layer, every texture. I was so excited. Then my dad said something along the lines of, “this is good, but I’d rather eat lobster”. Um, excuse you dad, but lobsters are BORN delicious (sorry vegetarians/vegans)… these pastries had to be conceived, developed and refined, sourcing the best ingredients, until perfection was attained. Anyway, my point is, it’s really hard to impress my parents with sweet things.
Despite knowing he’d rather have lobster, I thought that at least I’ll make his cake with familiar flavours– matcha and black sesame.
You actually rarely see the combination of matcha + black sesame, or matcha + red bean in Chinese desserts. It’s usually a solo-thing, like simply just black sesame pudding or red bean cake. It’s actually always bothered me when I see that combination– like, you can’t just combine two flavours just because they’re both Asian. Then, why am I not seeing goji berry-lotus seed cupcakes? Sweet potato-mango pudding? Coconut + dried chrysanthemum buns?
But I did it anyway, because I wasn’t feeling very creative, and it was either that or matcha-apple, matcha-peanut butter or matcha-cheddar caramel popcorn, which I don’t think would’ve gone over very well.
The addition of white chocolate is a no brainer; white chocolate and matcha is a match-a made in heaven, and it makes for a lovely contrast in colour.
As always, major strugs while decorating the cake. The icing was great to work with, light and whipped in consistency, but since my cake layers were frozen, it wasn’t adhering to the cake. Tip 1- crumb coat a non-frozen cake.
Then I thought it would be brilliant to just microwave my white chocolate chips in its plastic bag, because who wants to melt it over the double boiler, then pour it into another zip lock bag to pipe it? It’d be a waste of white chocolate from all that transferring. Yeah, microwaving plastic isn’t the best, but let’s remember that I’m actually a rebel.
So, the white chocolate didn’t melt uniformly, and when I tried piping it out, it came out in globs instead of a thin smooth stream. I gave up on this idea and decided to work with it, and just smeared the white chocolate instead. Tip 2- they’re right, don’t microwave plastic. Bad things will happen, like globby chocolate.
I finished the cake before 2am, and my dad’s reaction the next morning when he was back was just, “oh. it’s matcha.”
And there we have it.
Happy birthday, dad. 🙂
Matcha Banana Cake with Black Sesame Brittle
Matcha Banana Cake
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 5 tbsp matcha powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 large ripe bananas
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tbsp matcha powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (optional– may darken your frosting)
- pinch of salt
Black Sesame Brittle
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
- few ounces of white chocolate
- black sesame brittle + crumbs
For the cake:
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line two 6″ cake pans with parchment paper rounds. Grease and lightly flour the sides of the pan.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, matcha powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, olive oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Add in your mashed bananas and stir.
- Add the banana mixture into the flour mixture, and fold until just combined.
- Distribute the batter evenly among the two pans– it’s best to use a scale to do this.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Cool completely, preferably overnight, or in the fridge until cold.
- Cut each layer in half, for a total of 4 layers.
For the buttercream:
- Beat all ingredients together using an electric mixer on high speed until whipped and fluffy and wonderful.
For the black sesame brittle:
- Scatter the black sesame seeds in an even layer on a Silpat or parchment paper, on a baking sheet.
- Melt the water, sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Boil until the mixture turns a golden brown– a thermometer is not required, just eyeball it.
- Carefully pour the hot sugar all over the black sesame seeds.
- Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Place the bottom layer on a 6″ cake board. Frost with 2/3 cup of your frosting. Repeat with remaining layers.
- Thinly frost a crumb coat around the sides and top of the cake. Transfer to freezer and freeze until set, about 30 minutes.
- Finish frosting the sides and the top until you’re satisfied. Using a hot bench scraper to smooth out the sides is highly recommended.
- Decorate with melted white chocolate how you wish– I just smeared it over the top with a palette spatula.
- Decorate with black sesame seed brittle how you wish! I think crumbing it on the sides makes it look more finished.
Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!