That was the only way I could describe these cupcakes and my inspiration to my coworkers, who greedily ate all of them. For those who don't know, manju is a Japanese dessert that is usually filled with sweet red bean paste. It can be baked or steamed, and it can come in flavors like green tea or kinako. I took my favorite elements of these classic treats from my childhood to make an updated cake that might appeal to the larger population.
The cupcakes are wonderfully light with a fantastic aftertaste of sweet green tea. Kinako frosting has a taste similar to peanut butter, but even more awesome. It's an irreplaceable flavor. The frosting isn't terrible sweet and is fluffy. This recipe does not make a lot of frosting, as the red bean adds a lot of sweetness to the cake and is unnecessary. If you want a cupcake with quite a bit of frosting, multiply the recipe by 1.5.
They dubbed these cupcakes "Hapa-fabulous" after tasting them. I could not have asked for a greater compliment. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes. I make mine extra large, so for me it's really more like 22...
Matcha Cupcakes (adapted from Cupcake Bakeshop)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 12 oz (3 cups) all purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp matcha powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp brandy or Scotch whiskey (I used Suntory Yamazaki 12 year)
- 1 package of coarse red bean paste (you will have leftovers)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Mix matcha powder with whiskey to create a tincture. This will bring out the bright color of the matcha better than mixing it with the milk or with the butter.
- Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add eggs and egg yolks
- Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Add half the flour to butter and beat until combined.
- Add milk and matcha, beating until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture.
- Pour into prepared muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- After cupcakes are cool, cut a small cone out of the top of the cupcake
- Cut the bottom of the cone off, leaving a small lid
- Fill hole with a little bit of red bean paste and top with your cake lid. The cupcakes are now ready for frosting.
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 2 Tbsp kinako flour (roasted soybean flour)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Cook flour, milk, sugar, and 1 Tbsp of kinako in saucepan over medium heat until a thick roux is created
- Beat thickened mixture with electric beaters until cool
- Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time until emulsified. If mixture is too warm, place in refrigerator to let cool
- Add vanilla and extra 1 Tbsp kinako until frosting is the correct consistency and flavor you like. I think more kinako is always better.
- Frost cupcakes, making sure to cover the hole in the top. Dust with extra kinako.