The positive health benefits of green tea are well known throughout the world, but are you also aware that black sesame seeds are a good source of antioxidants, protein, iron and magnesium? Black sesame seeds are not hulled unlike the more widely used white sesame seeds, hence the difference in colour. The retention of the outer shell means that there is 60% more calcium in the black sesame seed and the flavour is also stronger. Plus my mum also tells me that black sesame helps to keep your hair black and shiny, so what’s not to love?!
Chinese people love to use sesame in desserts, both varieties. There is a “Sweet Black Sesame Soup” sweet black sesame soup that is widely found all over China, and black sesame paste is often used as a sweet filling in pastries and cakes. I’ve found that ‘Chinese’ and ‘English’ cakes are vastly different. Chinese cakes use a lot less sugar and oil/butter and flavours are usually more subtle. Texture and lightness in the sponge is very important, so chiffon cakes or Genoise sponges are much preferred. With English cakes, anything goes! I love dense tea cakes with lots of different flavours and plain Victoria sponges that show off the buttery cake with simple decoration and fillings. Both have their positives, but marrying the two styles is even better!
Black sesame is often paired with green tea (matcha powder) or sweetened red beans (adzuki beans). A quick internet search and hundreds of recipes can be found. On a trip to the Chinese supermarket earlier this week, I saw a tempting array of Chinese cakes.These often come in the form of Swiss rolls or plain chiffon cakes. A green tea Swiss roll with a butter cream filling caught my attention, but I managed to avert my eyes and walk away. However the cake still remains in my mind, so I’ve decided to make one instead.
The recipe I used for this cake needed a little adapting as it was the closest that I could find to the cake I wanted to bake. It’s the first time I’ve made the effort to weigh out the egg yolks and egg whites too! Though I have to admit that I went off the recipe, as I didn’t want to waste half an egg yolk or crack open another egg just to have another 4 grams of egg white…
To get the green tea flavour, I’ve added 2 table spoons of matcha powder. In hindsight I should have taken a couple of table spoons of flour out as the mixture became quite thick so the sponge wasn’t as light and airy as it should have been. Noted for next time!
The filling is a kind of buttery custard, and the black sesame powder I used came through brilliantly. I could have just eat the lot with a spoon and a cup of tea, but made do with eating the left overs straight from the bowl instead!
- Matcha Cake (cupofrealitea.wordpress.com)