Oh. My. Golly. Goodness.
Don’t let the simple appearance of this cake fool you – there’s nothing simple about the flavor. Almonds, vanilla, green tea and honey combine to make this a truly remarkable cake. Light and airy, layers of flavor, and the perfect touch of moistness make this a cake you will long remember.
This cake was created by request of Adam Bird from London (Make a Request!). He wrote, “When I was in France a few years ago, I tried a green tea cake. Yes, I know it sounds weird, but in actual fact it was wonderful! It was a rather dense, sticky, almondy sponge with a very delicate green tea flavour over the top. Not something I had seen before, or have seen since, but it was so delicious that I’d love to be able to make it at home.” Round up the ingredients and get out the baking pan, because you’re all in for a treat!
This was an experimental cake. I had never made anything quite like this before either. I was intrigued and got to work on it. As I conceptualized it in my mind, I knew I wanted something with a very light and delicate crumb that would sip, instead of gulp, up the moisture of the green tea without it becoming overly soggy and “water-logged.” I wanted something that would accommodate the moisture while maintaining an airy crumb. Using only a little flour, several egg whites beaten separately, and ground almonds to create a light crumbly texture, would be key.
I love honey in my fruit and herbal teas. The combination of green tea and honey as a delicately and not overly goopy glaze sounded perfect and turned out beautifully. The cake drank it right up and still maintained that perfectly light and airy crumb.
Thanks for putting in this request, Adam – we have another winner!
Let’s get started!
For this cake I prefer the flavor and texture imparted by freshly ground almonds. However you can substitute pre-ground blanched almond meal.
If blanching and grinding the almonds yourself: Pour some boiling water to cover the almonds and let them sit for about 5 minutes, or until the peels easily slip off.
Remove the nut peels and discard. This is a fun little project to involve your kids in. But be careful, if you squeeze the nuts they’ll go shooting from their skins across the room! Dab the nuts with paper towels to remove the moisture and let them air dry for at least a couple of hours or overnight.
Grind the nuts with 1/4 cup of the sugar to prevent the mixture from becoming pasty.
Heat 1/2 cup of water until very hot, but not boiling, and pour over 6 bags of green tea (green tea becomes bitter if you use boiling water). Let steep for 1-3 minutes then remove the tea bags and discard. Note: Use more tea bags if you prefer a stronger green tea flavor.
Place the butter and sugar in a bowl.
Cream the mixture with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Don’t become impatient with this process, it’s key to the success of your cake. Add the yolks, one at a time, continuing to beat until combined.
Add the vanilla and almond extract and beat just until combined.
Gently fold in the almond mixture with a rubber spatula.
Place the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and beat with a mixer on medium high speed until they become foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Stiff peaks means that when you pull the beater away, the peaks will stand up (see picture below). Be careful not to over-mix though.
Sift the flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Sifting is important in order to achieve and light and airy crumb.
Gently fold in 1/3 of the egg whites.
Next fold in 1/3 of the flour mixture, alternating the remaining egg whites and flour. Fold very gently and be careful not to over-stir. This is absolutely key to the success of the cake. If a few lumps remain, that is alright.
Pour the batter into a greased 9X2 inch round pan (or you can also use an 8×8 inch square pan) and bake at 350 degrees F for abou minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake or the cake will be dry.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it remain in the pan for 10 minutes before removing.
Invert it carefully and then place top side up on a cake platter.
Look at that beautiful, flaky top!
Poke several small holes with a toothpick around the top of the cake to allow the glaze to absorb more easily in to the cake.
To make the glaze, place the green tea and honey in a small saucepan. Heat until the honey is dissolved, then remove from the heat.
Pour the glaze evenly over the whole cake.
Let the cake sit for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Deliciously light, airy, tender and moist. Enjoy! (You will, I promise)
- ½ cup butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup white granulated sugar
- ¾ cup blanched almonds (I prefer the flavor and texture of freshly ground almonds but you can substitute 1 cup blanched almond meal)
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 egg whites
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons quality pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon quality almond extract
- ½ cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup concentrated quality green tea (brewed with 6 or more tea bags), decaf or regular
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x2 inch round pan or a 8x8 inch square pan.
- (Skip blanching process if using pre-ground almond meal) To blanch the almonds, pour boiling water over them to cover. Let them sit for about 5 minutes or until the peels slip off easily. Discard the peels and let the almonds air dry for a few hours. Grind the almonds with ¼ of the sugar.
- Cream the butter and ½ cup of sugar until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating until the mixture is pale and fluffy, another 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla and almond extract and beat just until combined. Fold in the ground almond mixture.
- Beat the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl on medium high speed until foamy, then add the cream of tartar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
- Sift the cake flour and baking powder into a small bowl.
- Fold in ⅓ of the egg whites, then ⅓ of the flour mixture. Repeat with the remaining egg whites and flour. Be very careful not to over-stir.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Carefully invert the cake and the place top side up on a cake platter.
- Poke some small holes around the top of the cake with a toothpick to allow the glaze to fully absorb.
- To make the glaze, place the green tea and honey in a small saucepan and heat until the honey is dissolved, then remove from the heat.
- Pour the glaze over the cake and let the cake sit for at least 20 minutes before serving.