I would say that green tea is definitely an acquired taste. I suppose the same can be said for black tea and coffee and other bitter hot beverages. But I grew up drinking those and only came around to green tea slowly. I remember some awful cups of it served at mediocre Chinese restaurants in Toronto and I never saw the appeal. Then I received a gift of some lovely cherry-infused loose-leaf green tea from Harrods. I was skeptical that it would be any tastier than the grassy stuff I’d had in high school, but to my surprise, I found it much more to my palate. When I was sick one time in grad school, it was the only thing that eased my sore throat. After that, I was much more willing to give green tea a chance. It can still be hit or miss, though. I’ve had some awful green tea, and I’ve had some wonderful green tea. I suppose the same can be said for black tea and coffee and other bitter hot beverages!
I don’t remember when I heard of matcha green tea specifically, but I know it wasn’t more than a few years ago. It started to pop up everywhere and in everything, as these food trends do. I didn’t know at the time that matcha is tea used in the Japanese tea ceremonies. It’s a powdery substance made from grinding high-grade tea leaves very finely, and it has to be whisked very briskly into hot water to dissolve, traditionally with a bamboo brush. I only learned all of this last year when I went to purchase some matcha and discovered how expensive it is, although a little does go a long way. It put me in mind of one of the more astonishing books I’ve ever read, Memoirs of a Geisha, and I had to go back and re-read it again. As always, it drew me in so completely I could hardly put it down for two days.
This tea cake is actually another variation on my Almond Crusted Butter Cake. It’s such a wonderful base cake recipe that I find myself adapting it in my head all the time. And I thought that the light flavour of matcha would complement the almond very well. The light sage green swirl looked absolutely gorgeous when I cut into the bread, that’s for certain. It was really lovely on its own, but even better with a smear of butter overtop.
Matcha Almond Tea Cake (Low Carb and Gluten-Free)
- Preheat oven to 300F and butter a loaf pan very well.
- In a small bowl, whisk matcha powder and hot water together until smooth. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Add granulated erythritol and beat until lighter and well-combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at time, scraping down beaters and sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in stevia extract.
- Beat in half of the almond flour mixture, then beat in almond milk. Beat in remaining almond flour mixture until well combined.
- Remove half of the batter to another bowl. With one half of batter, beat in matcha mixture until well combined. With the other half of the batter, beat in almond extract.
- Alternate putting large spoonfuls of each batter into the prepared pan. Using a knife, swirl the batters together. Smooth the top.
- Bake 60 minutes, or until top is deep golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack to cool completely.