Happy Birthday to us!! We're 7 years young and celebrating with this epic matcha cake: moist, melt in your mouth layers of matcha cake are surrounded by creamy, fluffy matcha buttercream, and topped with a luxurious matcha ganache. Wish we could share a slice with you... at least we can share the recipe!
How big is this cake?
We opted for a cute little six inch four layer cake, but you can easily scale this recipe up or down; for example, if you half this recipe, you can make a two layer 8 inch cake.
How to make matcha birthday cake
STEP ONE: cream together the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. You’re going to need one whole pound of butter for this cake (that’s why it’s so good!!)
STEP TWO: separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. Set the whites aside to use later and add the yolks to the butter and sugar mixture, along with the vanilla and beat until combined.
STEP THREE: whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and matcha. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix to combine. At this point the batter will be pretty thick; add the ¼ cup of milk and mix until just combined.
STEP FOUR: whip the egg whites you set aside until they come to soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter until no streaks of egg white remain.
STEP FIVE: Bake! Pour the batter into the pans you’re using and bake at 350°F.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream 101
If you have never tried this type of frosting, you are in for a treat! It’s so creamy, dreamy, and smooth and isn’t overpoweringly sweet. It’s great for this matcha cake because it allows the matcha flavor to shine through not only in the frosting, but in the cake too because it isn’t overpowering like other frostings can often be.
If you have never made Swiss meringue buttercream before, don’t be intimidated! It’s easier to make than you think. This buttercream has four ingredients: egg whites, sugar, butter, and matcha.
The egg whites and sugar get whisked together, then heated over a double boiler.
Once the mixture reaches 165, it gets whipped into a meringue in a stand mixer; no need to let it cool before doing this step. Whip the meringue until it cools down to room temperature and forms stiff, glossy peaks. Tip: if it takes more than about 20 minutes to reach the stiff glossy peak stage, transfer it to the fridge for 10 minutes to cool down and then continue whipping.
Finally add the butter; the butter should be on the colder side of room temperature. If the butter and the meringue are too warm, the buttercream will become liquid-y. If this happens, transfer to the fridge to cool.
Switch to the paddle attachment on your mixer and add the butter one tablespoon at a time. Wait for the butter to fully mix in before adding the next tablespoon.
After all the butter has been added, add the matcha and beat on medium speed until it’s combined.
Tip: if you are letting the frosting sit for a little bit before you use it, make sure to give it a good whip before frosting your cake as it tends to form bubbles while it sits.
How do you decorate a layer cake?
For this matcha birthday cake, we went with a shiny sprinkle skirt, a matcha ganache drip, and a ring of matcha buttercream dolloped around the top. For the dollops, use a large closed star tip.
STEP ONE: Trim. Level the tops of each cake with a cake leveler or a serrated knife.
STEP TWO: frost and stack. Add frosting to the top of one of the cakes. Spread into an even layer; repeat until all the layers are stacked.
Tip: to make sure each layer has an equal amount of frosting, use a large cookie scoop to measure out how much each layer gets.
STEP THREE: Crumb coat. Thinly frost the top and the sides of the cake. This layer of frosting is meant to catch all the crumbs to make the main coat of frosting as smooth as possible.You should still be able to see some of the cake through the frosting. Refrigerate for 10 minutes until frosting is firm to the touch.
STEP FOUR: frost and decorate. Frost the top and the sides of the cake with a thicker coat of frosting. Smooth out using a scraper or offset spatula. Decorate with matcha ganache, sprinkles, or however your prefer!
How do I apply the matcha ganache?
First, make sure your cake is chilled; cool to the touch. This keeps the ganache from dripping too far down the cake and making a mess.
To create the drip, you can use a spoon, or a squeeze bottle for more precision. Starting at the top near the edge of the cake, pour a small amount of ganache so it falls down the side of the cake. Repeat as you go around the cake.
What kind of matcha should I use?
We used our Culinary Grade Matcha for this cake, but you can use whatever you prefer or whatever you have on hand!
You could even use different kinds of matcha for the different pieces to this cake! For example, you could use culinary grade matcha for the cake, and ceremonial grade for the frosting. Either way, you can’t go wrong!
- 2 cups butter (4 sticks), softened
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 6 eggs, separated
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp Culinary Grade Matcha, sifted
- ¼ cup milk
- 5 egg whites
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 2 cups butter (4 sticks), softened
- 2 teaspoons culinary grade matcha, sifted
- 1 cup white chocolate (chips or chopped white chocolate bar)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons matcha, sifted
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease four 6” cake pans with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy; about 3 minutes.
- Separate egg yolks and egg whites. Add yolks to the bowl with butter and sugar; add vanilla, beat until combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and matcha. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture until completely combined. Add ¼ cup of milk to loosen up the batter.
- In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat their egg whites until soft peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Fold the egg whites into the batter in two batches.
- Divide the batter evenly between prepared pans; bake until a toothpick inserted to the center comes out clean, about 17-20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool; once pans are cool, remove cakes and allow to cool completely on wire rack.
- Whisk together egg whites and sugar in a heat-proof glass bowl. Set over a pot of simmering water; make sure the water does not touch the bowl.
- Whisk over heat until a thermometer reads 165°F, or until all granules of sugar are dissolved. Transfer mixture to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment; mix on high for a few minutes, then switch to medium speed until the mixture becomes room temperature.
- Switch to paddle attachment on the mixer; add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, allowing for each tablespoon to fully incorporate before adding the next.
- After all the butter is incorporated, add the sifted matcha and mix until combined.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream until it comes to a simmer
- Pour the heavy cream over the white chocolate; whisk until combined and no chunks of chocolate remain
- Add sifted matcha; whisk to combine