Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Perfect matcha: Secret Cake Club again!

Here’s how my day goes:

7am: tea – Taylors of Harrogate or Twinings Earl Grey (with milk, no sugar) or something herbal, peppermint is nice.

Between 9am – 11am (depending on how busy my day is) long black coffee or a café mocha. Barista-made is best but there's a decent little machine at work.

Between 1pm - 2pm: another coffee

3pm: always tea

Upon arrival at home: tea again

I think of this as a balanced diet.

The mid-morning coffee and the 3pm cuppa are the most essential. You’ve heard the term ‘gasping for tea’? Well, by 3pm each day, I am not merely gasping, more moving into a state of extreme hyperventilation but with enough air to spare a snarl and a snort for anyone who gets between me and the kettle.

You can see then that the ‘Cuppa Joe’ themed Secret Cake Club is one that I had to attend. The idea was to either bake something using tea or coffee or that would go well with tea and coffee. This gave all the bakers a wide enough scope to do pretty much what they wanted.

My dilemma was a basic one: to use tea or coffee as an ingredient? Coffee is one of my favourite flavours especially when paired with chocolate. I love a coffee crème, I adore a coffee éclair, and a bitter-sweet tiramisu will not last long if I am around. However, I had never cooked much using tea although I am a great consumer of the drink, so I decided it would be interesting to extend my repertoire in this way.

I chose this matcha and jasmine delice simply because it looked so pretty. The strata of pale-green and white mousse on the pistachio base; the promise of delicate floral scent and the smokiness of tea; the richness of white chocolate – I was completely sold on the description.

The problem was that, gorgeous as the cake appeared, the recipe wasn’t particularly helpful. The pistachio cake, as described below, would have been better with either more flour or less butter. When I went to remove it from the oven, it was bubbling oil which I had to mop off with a piece of kitchen towel. I also ended up using a lined slice-tin as I wasn’t sure how I was going to layer the mousse otherwise.
For the pistachio cake base:

- 80g ground pistachios
- 80g butter, softened
- 75g sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 small egg
- 10g cornflour
- 10g plain flour

1. Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees celcius.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together.
3. Add in the large egg.
4. Fold in the sifted flours and ground pistachio mixture, a Tablespoon at a time.
5. Fold in the small egg.
6. Bake for 10-15 minutes on a sheet pan.

Note: my mould was quite small (8" by 8"), I'd recommend using a larger rectangular mould to yield a shorter cake as the layers are pretty rich.

The mousse was more straightforward. I’d been lucky enough to find titanium strength gelatine leaves while I was on holiday in Margaret River recently and bought a packet to bring back to the city with me. For the white mousse, I had a small packet of jasmine leaf balls. For the green mousse, I bought a tub of matcha latte rather than use straight matcha powder (which can be a tad intense).


I found that when I was making the mousse, the liquid did not actually stay hot long enough to completely melt the white chocolate. I had to resort to (gasp!) the microwave which I hate to use unless I absolutely have to.

Jasmine Mousse:
3T Hot water
2T Jasmine Leaves
2T glucose, or corn syrup
150g white chocolate
300g whipped cream, soft peaks
2 gelatine leaves, softened in cold water

1. Infuse the hot water with the jasmine tea leaves for 10 minutes. Strain this mixture.
2. Heat the tea along with the glucose until it comes to a boil.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the softened gelatine leaves. Pour this mixture over the white chocolate to melt it.
4. Fold in the whipped cream.

Matcha Mousse:
- Made using the exact same recipe and format, except you replace 2T of the jasmine leaves with 2T of matcha powder/green tea leaves.

Assemble the cake, first layering with half of the jasmine mousse and all the matcha mousse. Finish off with the remaining jasmine mousse.
The layering was also an issue. I had much more mousse than I needed and there was no instruction about whether or not I needed to chill it in between spreading on the layers. Those lovely clear strata? They were not to be. Everything was rather smudgy I wondered if there was enough gelatine in the mix. Next time I will use more. The left-over mousse was poured into bowls and allowed to set.

My trusty assistant and a bowl of left-over matcha mousse.
Taste test: first I sampled some of the left-over mousse. It was knock-me-down wonderful. What would have been overly-sweet as just a white chocolate mousse was nicely tempered by the bitterness of the matcha. The colour was very pretty - a pastel-green very reminiscent of sugared almonds. The jasmine version was also pleasant though not as strong as the matcha one. Then I cut myself a little section of the actual delice. Even without the clean layers, it was different and delicious. 

Layers somewhat obscured but the taste is the thing!

Secret Cake Club was held at Studio Bomba in Leederville and what a Secret Cake Club it was! The amazing Jacqui who organises Cake Club had recently done an interview on 720 ABC Perth and this, along with an ever-increasing social media presence, had pushed the number of attendees to the maximum.
The cut-up delice ready for Cake Club

There was a table full of cake, a sideboard full of cake, a mantelpiece laden with cake. There was coffee-cake, tea cakes, biscotti, donuts...

It was impossible to try every cake that was there, so I settled for trying a few (my absolute favourites on the day were the Portuguese tarts) and then playing "cake Tetris" where you artfully stack your Tupperware to ensure maximum take-home variety and quantity.

Cake Tetris - it's this random skill that I have.

It was great to have the space that Studio Bomba offered. They are a gift shop and art space as well as a café, and this meant that  not only could we use their gorgeous studio for Cake Club, but also to shop for lovely things.

I came home with this:

The angle makes it look massive but it is actually a cute little pendant. We had a TV like this when I was little. And remember test cards?

It was great to be part of the new super-sized Secret Cake Club and I am looking forward to the next event which is cocktail themed. You all know that I am partial to a well-made cocktail.

Right now though, I'm gasping for tea.

My favourite mug. Bonus point if you know what the symbol represents...

1 comment:

  1. Studio Bomba! I've wanted to go there for the longest time. If only work and everything else wasn't in the way :) All the cakes look delish and yours sounds particularly special. Go you for taking the tupperware along! Great idea.

    Hoping to get to one of these meets soon if the theme fits. Not enough hours in the day! xx