Matcha Double Bill - IMBB #17

31 July 2005

Everyone has been excited since Clement announced the theme for this months’ IMBB – including me! There are so many things you can do with tea, but I decided to stick to matcha this time as I’ve been in a ‘back to Japanese’ mood recently (and the matcha my mum sent me was getting a bit old, so I wanted to use it up).

I considered making matcha noodles (which I love), but I knew it was quite difficult to get right and I don’t have much experience, so I had to give up on that and go with pastry instead. I’ve posted before about making opera cake and panna cotta using matcha – these are Japanese takes on popular European classics but this time I wanted to have a little extra Japanese taste, so I used azuki beans along with matcha. That’s a very common combination in Japanese sweets and you can’t go wrong with it. This cake uses matcha flavoured sponge as a base, with azuki bean and matcha mousses layered on top. Although I think I knew what it was going to taste like, it’s been a long time since I had Japanese sweets and it made me feel that I’d like to learn a bit more about making them.

I used tinned sweetened azuki beans this time (not pureed), which you can get anywhere in Japan but may be difficult to find elsewhere. If you can’t find them, I found a very useful recipe on Clement’s site about how to make azuki bean paste using dried beans – I can’t promise his recipe will work with mine because I haven’t tried it, but looking at the recipe, I think you should be able to use it as a substitute.


Well, I said I wanted to make something Japanesey – and I did, but I still had some matcha left and decided to have another go at something with a French twist – matcha mille feuille. Apart from adding some matcha into the custard (mix it with a little water before you add it), follow exactly the same process as classic mille feuille. As I mentioned before, I wasn’t that impressed by the matcha creations of Mr Sadaharu Aoki and I wanted mine to have a more subtle flavour than his. Despite the poor presentation, I was quite happy with the taste – the slightly bitter custard works really well with the flaky puff pastry. I suspect that it will taste quite different depending on what type or quality of matcha is used, so make sure you add it a little at a time and adjust the quantity to taste.

Matcha and azuki bean mousse cake

Matcha sponge

50g plain flour
10g matcha
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
60g sugar

Azuki bean mousse

6g sheet gelatine
180g tinned sweetened azuki beans
180ml double cream

Matcha mousse

6g sheet gelatine
100g milk
10g matcha
1 egg yolk
1 egg white
40g sugar
80ml double cream

To make the matcha sponge, preheat the oven at 170 centigrade. Sift the flour and the matcha together. In a bowl, mix the egg yolks and the half of the sugar until pale. Whisk the egg whites with the rest of the sugar until stiff. Add one third of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture and fold the egg mixture gently into the meringue. Add the flour into the mixture and again fold gently. Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes. Set aside and cool.

To make azuki bean mousse, soak the gelatine in cold water. Place the beans in a bowl. Squeeze out the gelatine, melt in a bain marie and stir into the beans. Whip the cream into soft peaks and fold into the bean mixture. Set to cool.

To make matcha mousse, soak the gelatine in cold water. Mix the matcha with the milk in a pan, and put on a low heat. In a bowl, mix the egg yolk and 20g sugar until pale. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture little by little.

Sieve the liquid into a pan, then place on a low heat and warm to 85 centigrade. Remove from the heat and add the gelatine. Leave to cool. Whip the cream into soft peaks and fold into the matcha mixture. Make the meringue with the egg white and the rest of the sugar and fold into the matcha mixture.

I used individual moulds this time, but you can use any moulds – just place the sponge as a base, and layer the azuki mousse and matcha mousse on top (or the other way round). Make sure you set the first layer in the fridge before you pour the next one.

Food - Sweet        51 comments    Permalink

  • This looks soooo good. I love matcha and am only starting out to cook with it so your recipe sounds like something I can try. Thanks so much and we hope to see you next weekend for the cat blogging.

    Posted by boo_licious | 1 August 2005 #
  • Keiko - you are so so clever. Yet again another amazing creation. You have such artistic ability.

    Posted by Barbara | 1 August 2005 #
  • i think that first picture may be my all-time favorite. it’s so beautifully designed!

    Posted by rae | 1 August 2005 #
  • YUM!

    I think adzuki beans and matcha are fab together too mmmmm

    I NEED to buy more Matcha! It is alittle difficult to find here

    Posted by clare eats | 1 August 2005 #
  • hi keiko, both creations look utterly exquisite. am certain your mille-feuille tastes better than s.a.’s ;) i was toying with the idea of some sort of mitsumame with persimmon fruit salad and cubes of matcha and goma kanten cake topped with sweet adzuki puree...couldn’t find any pretty jelly molds so gave the idea up...cheers,joycelyn

    Posted by Joycelyn | 1 August 2005 #
  • I love the golden antennae. I’m hoping it will sprout legs and run off (possibly to here I’d hope)

    Posted by anthony | 1 August 2005 #
  • That mousse cake looks so delicious. Can I order a dozen for my next dinner party? Great job, as usual.

    Posted by Chubby Hubby | 1 August 2005 #
  • Keiko, you are the matcha tea QUEEN! Those photos are scrumptious!

    Posted by rowena | 1 August 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    WOW! Another beautifully presented dessert. I wish I was there to have some of this right now!

    Posted by Reid | 1 August 2005 #
  • "poor presentation"! It looks great!

    Posted by Monkey Gland | 1 August 2005 #
  • Wow! That looks and sounds delicious!

    Posted by Christina | 1 August 2005 #
  • Keiko, how gorgeous! I couldn’t participate in IMBB this go-round since we are just back from one trip and about to take off on another, but your beautiful entry makes me feel like cooking with tea!

    Posted by | 1 August 2005 #
  • Hi there, thank you for all your kind notes.

    Barbara - I loved your creations too!

    Joycelyn - I’m not a big fan of mitsumame, but it will be wonderful if you’re making it!

    Anthony - I was supposed to use Mizuhiki for that, but couldn’t get it here - I found the shiny wire thingy at a ribbon shop instead! Do you think it will become a friend of your tofu-man...

    Anonymous - I’m jealous you can travel so much!

    Posted by keiko | 2 August 2005 #
  • Freakin’ outstanding plating honey! I am a recent convert to Matcha---I adore it!

    Posted by jeanne | 2 August 2005 #
  • Keiko

    Fortuitous on the mizuhiki, it may have overwhelmed.

    Unfortunately Tofu-man lost a leg falling off my cookbook shelf. So he may have a tinge of jealousy over a multi-legged Matcha and azuki bean mousse cake. But maybe they can overcome their differences.

    Posted by anthony | 2 August 2005 #
  • Jeanne - I’m also a relatively new convert considering I am Japanese :)

    Anthony - I shall send over a leg (or two or more) for your poor tofu-man (or should I send the posh tofu-girl instead...)

    Posted by keiko | 2 August 2005 #
  • I don’t know how Match tea taste, but i really want to start using it in dessert recipes. Any idea of on-line orders?

    Posted by latifa | 3 August 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko

    I’ve never tasted any confectionery made with bean paste or matcha - I’m such a hick! - but it sounds amazing. And your pictures are consistently stunning. Everything looks mouthwatering, and having tasted your creme brulee, I KNOW it is!! ;-)

    Posted by Jeanne | 3 August 2005 #
  • Latifa - if you search with ’green tea’ or ’matcha’ you’ll find that quite a few people selling it mail order. I don’t know enough about which type you should get (can be very expensive), but I doubt you need super expensive one for cooking.

    Jeanne - thank you for your kind words as always. I know you don’t really like green tea ;) so I suspect you might not like bean paste either... That’s normal, though, until recently most people I met here didn’t even dare to try those things and I understand why - it’s so different from what they are used to.

    Posted by keiko | 3 August 2005 #
  • That looks wonderful Keiko. Natsukashii... :) I so miss Japan.

    Thank you for your posting about Todd (cat) I tried to email you some better pictures of him in better shape but I think your email address on this site is not working?

    Posted by Emi | 3 August 2005 #
  • Hi Emi - thanks for your note, I really hope Todd is better now... Have you lived in Japan? As for my email address, you need to take out ’nordljus’ from it, thanks!

    Posted by keiko | 4 August 2005 #
  • Wow again Keiko! I’m really impressed with your matcha cake. I was intending to make something like that too but did not in the end. That will be the next cake to bake on my list!

    Btw, what size cake tin should we use to bake the sponge?

    Posted by Mia | 4 August 2005 #
  • Mia - I actually used a baking tray (40x30 cm-ish) to bake the sponge as I wanted it to be quite thin for the base.

    Posted by keiko | 4 August 2005 #
  • Once again, GORGEOUS.

    I am obviously CLEARLY out of the loop on the Matcha Trend. I only drink persian-style teas, and had no idea that matcha was currently so au courant...

    I must get to a proper tea house and sample this stuff!

    Posted by Fatemeh | 4 August 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko- Your cake looks absolutely wonderful. From the presentation down to the flavor combination of the cake makes my mouth water! Just by looking at the picture itself would make me believe that you are really a professional pastry chef. I like Japanese desserts too coz Iam a pure chinese, specially chestnuts and red bean desserts. I am not really a big fan of green tea but I do like the combination of green tea and red bean though. By the way, regarding Sadaharu Aoki what can you say about his desserts in general, is it really that good? Thanks for the recipe

    Posted by Cathy | 5 August 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko, your cake looks absolutely divine! I can imagine how wonderful the combination of matcha and azuki bean must taste. I really like how you put the red beans on top as a garnish, in that it gives people a hint about what’s below the surface. Your mille feuille looks very nice too, and your earl grey crème brulée from last week was so beautiful and sounded delicious! Thanks so much for taking part in this month’s IMBB!

    Posted by Clement | 5 August 2005 #
  • Fatemeh - thanks, is matcha *that* popular in CA as well? I think I’ll have a bit of rest from it for a while, I had too many matcha sweets at a time :)

    Cathy - thank you for your kind notes as always. Maybe you are more familiar with Japanese desserts than I am (do you live in Japan?), I’m not a huge fan of green tea itself either but I like it when used in sweets etc. As for SA, I think his classic cakes are delicious, but I’m not sure about matcha ones (including ice-cream) which you can find quite a lot of at his shop.

    Clement - thanks so much for choosing a great theme. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to your superb round-up!

    Posted by keiko | 5 August 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    Long time since I’ve visited.. Looks all gorgeous! Lovely recipe, will try it out.

    Posted by Dreska | 5 August 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko- Iam sorry to say that I am not living in Japan, I wish I live there. I visited Japan 2 years ago and all the pastry shops aroung look so wonderful. I am not really familiar with Japanese desserts but I know that Japanese loves green tea, chestnut and red bean on their desserts. The last time I was there, almost all the pastry shops carry Mont Blanc on their menu. I rarely saw any of their display which has no chestnut dessert.

    Posted by Cathy | 6 August 2005 #
  • Great photos, I really like the colors. These have a very modern feel to them, due to the very minimalist and clean compositions.

    Posted by Smoove D | 7 August 2005 #
  • Hi there,

    Dreska - I’m happy you are back...!

    Cathy - even though you’ve never lived in Japan, I’m sure you know what Japanese people like ;) I believe Swiss roll type cakes are very popular at the moment, please don’t ask me why/how that started...

    Smoove D - thanks for your kind note as always!

    Posted by keiko | 9 August 2005 #
  • Keiko,

    That is a beautiful dessert. I wish I could be as naturally talented as you are!

    I also love matcha - and there seems to be a current craze for it in the US as well - although I stay far away from the Starbucks matcha shakes.

    I’m curious - have you ever had sakura ice cream? I’ve seen it mentioned as made with sakura liquer or sakura blossoms, is there one that tastes better?

    Posted by Anita | 12 August 2005 #
  • Anita - thanks for your kind words. I’ve never heard/seen the Starbucks matcha shakes, are they good? I’ll try one if I see it somewhere. As for sakura ice cream, I’ve never had it - I suspect that it might not have a very strong flavour if you use blossoms, but the subtleness might work...? I’m curious, let me know if you try it ;)

    Posted by keiko | 17 August 2005 #
  • Keiko,

    I just want to thank you for this recipe. I made this last weekend and my guests were very impressed. In addition to your recipe, I poured some sweeten Macha water (made from the packet my friend bought from Kyoto) to the sponge cake before I assemble the cake.

    Posted by Fiona | 26 September 2005 #
  • Hi Fiona - thank you for your note, I’m glad you enjoyed the cake. DId you find tinned azuki beans, or did you cook them from scratch? I must say your cake sounds even better ;) Let me know if you have more ideas for matcha sweets.

    Posted by keiko | 27 September 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    Thank you. I used the tinned azuki beans, I can find them in Boston & the quality is really good. I must say your blog provided me lots of ideas, for example I made another cake based on this recipe - matcha sponge cake & azuki mousse but without the matcha mousse, then glazed the top of azuki mousse with fig jelly, and topped with berries.

    Posted by Fiona | 29 September 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko

    I have a question. How big of a cake tin should I use (to make one large cake) and how many individual portions could be made out of this recipe?



    Posted by Mia | 30 September 2005 #
  • Hi Fiona - thanks for your note. Your cake sounds wonderful, I’m sure you are much more creative than me ;)

    Hi Mia - I used a baking tray (about 40x30cm) for the sponge as I wanted it to be fairly thin. I’d say maybe for 4-5 people?

    Posted by keiko | 20 October 2005 #
  • does anyone know where i can find a japanese food in the uk. its called kanten aka agar-agar.???? read this article in the times bout it being good. cant find anywhere in the internet. any1 can help me out? my email add. is thanks!!

    Posted by Asim Asif | 15 December 2005 #
  • Hi Asim - I had a look at some online Japanese food shops in London and they sell Kanten too. Unfortunately they seem to have the online shop only in Japanese, here are their contact details, so if you give them a call, they should be able to send it by post (although the delivery cost would be more expensive than the actual cost of the kanten!) Or if you live in London, you can try the shops yourself. I hope it helps.

    **Rice Wine Shop**

    +44 (0)20 7439 3705

    82 Brewer Street

    London, W1F 9UA

    **T.K. Trading**

    +44 (0)20 8453 1743

    Unit 7 The Chase Centre

    8 Chase Road, Park Royal

    London, NW10 6QD

    Posted by keiko | 5 January 2006 #
  • This is a late post, but i’m really inspired to try this for a friend as a special treat - just a question, what is the filling garnigh on top between the azuki beans plus what are the golden antennae made of?

    It just looks like those most decadent one could have. Great job.

    Posted by AJ | 1 July 2006 #
  • Hi AJ - thank you for your notes. The garnish is the sponge that I used for the base, and the ’golden antennae’ are wire decorations I got at a ribbon shop - I was supposed to use a traditional Japanese decoration called Mizuhiki, but I couldn’t find it here.

    Posted by keiko | 4 July 2006 #
  • Hi there! I was wondering......

    4 the azuki mousse, it states that the gelatine should be melted over a bain I just melt it alone? Without any water at all? Cos im not so sure if it would melt all on its own...

    2nd enquiry is....can I use 6g of KNOX powder instead?

    Posted by Amrita | 13 August 2006 #
  • Hi Amrita – I’m sorry it’s taken for so long to get back. As for the gelatine, as I described in the recipe you need to soak it in the cold water first. When soft, squeeze it and put in a clean bowl/pan then melt in a bain marie. I always use sheet gelatine but you should be able to substitute powder.

    Posted by keiko | 12 January 2007 #
  • Hello Keiko, I’m a huge fan of green tea (I’m not Japanese but I visited Japan once and got crazy about the dessert) =)
    I search through the internet, try to find a green tea cake recipe, and found your website here!
    How fabulous. I’m also very keen about your Green Tea Opera Cake. I thought that was such a wonderful idea!
    But I can’t find the recipe there. Could you please tell me the recipe on how to make one?

    Posted by Jenny | 23 May 2007 #
  • Hi Jenny – thank you for your kind note and I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you. As for the opera cake recipe, it’s from one of my Japanese books and I’m afraid I don’t have time to translate it at the moment… As I noted before I adapted from a ‘normal’ opera recipe – I added some matcha into the joconde and buttercream instead of coffee (you need to mix the matcha with a little water before adding), as for the quantity, each tea has different strength so you need to taste as you add. Check Clement’s opera cake recipe from Paris Sweets on his site ( – it looks gorgeous!

    Posted by keiko | 22 January 2008 #
  • Hi Keiko, your “Matcha and azuki bean mousse cake” looks fantastic. How many can i make from the recipe? I’m having a dinner party of 8 soon, can i double or triple the ingredients?

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Posted by Kim | 15 May 2008 #
  • Hi Kim – sorry for the late response, I would say this recipe is for 4-5 people, so you should double the ingredients.

    Posted by keiko | 1 July 2008 #
  • Fantastic website. Thanks!

    Posted by Michael Rudelich | 12 December 2008 #
  • Dear Keiko,
    Thank you so much for this recipe! I am in culinary school as a pastry student, and I used it for my individual mousse cakes practical exam… I doubled the recipe and decorated it with white chocolate sprinkled with matcha. My chef was very impressed with the flavors and unusual ingredients. One thing we both thought we might do next time is puree the beans so that both of the mousses have a smooth texture.

    Posted by Meg | 15 September 2010 #
  • I love your recipes! They are beautifully photographed and I love that you make so many puddings with matcha. I would really love to try these interesting recipes, they sound delicious!

    How can I subscribe to your blog? I would love to be able to catch up with all of your posts.

    Posted by Xinmei | 6 January 2011 #

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