So then I felt kinda left out for a little bit, since being a newbie, I didn't know anything about it and the deadline for cupcake posting was Thursday, March 24th. Does that mean today at midnight or does that mean have it posted by 12:01 AM, Thursday???? I don't know... But hey, it never hurts to try to join the bandwagon, even if it's started moving already...
I actually hadn't planned on making anything until I got home and started cleaning. Cleaning vs cupcake recipe creation - the choice was easy. Cupcakes. I still had anko left from last night's taiyaki adventure, and Shan had been talking about green tea cakes at work lately (she had planned to bake one for St. Patrick's Day, but missed it since Google didn't give her a one day warning...). I set my sights on anko-stuffed (green) tea cake and started scheming.
The problem was that I didn't have any matcha powder, a key component in any green tea cake I know how to make. And since I love challenges and spontaneity, I decided I'd tackle making a tea cake without a recipe (don't worry, I measured as I created the recipe below at the end). I started with a backbone recipe for a chocolate cupcake from Cooking Light, from which I used only the measurements for butter, sugar, and eggs. To this, I added genmai-matcha mixed tea that I brewed dark, but it didn't quite have a strong enough tea flavor. So then, I dumped in some tea leaves to give it some more tea power/energy. Still not quite enough bitterness. I brewed some seriously super bitter jasmine tea to add, and this stuff was potent!! After the jasmine tea step, I was happy with the wet stuff.
I then went onto the dry stuff. The Cooking Light recipe called for 1 cup flour and 1/4 cocoa with 1/2 tsp baking soda, but I had added a lot more liquid to the wet stuff already, so I increased the flour proportion. I also thought that the tea might be too basic for the soda to work efficiently (must check this in Lab tomorrow - I have no idea if tea is basic or acidic, but I do know that the pH of Coke is the same as battery acid... eeeeew!), so I added baking powder to the recipe. I probably should've just replaced the soda with the powder all together, since soda goes flat quickly and filling the cupcakes with anko took longer than I thought - these cupcakes probably suffered some deflation because of my poor timing...
Anyway, I added the dry stuff to the wet stuff, filled each cupcake section half-way with the batter, added a generous droplet of anko, and then filled the mold with more batter. The little guys went happily into the oven (350F) for ~25 min and came out with a big smiley face!
These turned out very nicely, considering they were a spontaneous creation! The filling gave an adorable smiley face look to both cupcakes that were sliced open (unintentional smiling is always welcome at my place), and the tea flavor was well-infused without being overpowering. I would reduce the butter next time, since I could easily get away with less and reducing it would probably let the bitterness of the tea come out more. The tea leaves weren't all that noticeable texture-wise, but added quite a bit to the background scent that went very well with the anko. I declare it a success!
3/4 cup sugar
5 tbl butter
1/2 cup super strong genmai-tea with matcha-added (found in Japanese stores)
2 tbs jasmine tea brewed so bitter you can't possibly drink it
1 tbs shredded genmai tea leaves
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Blend wets and dries separately. Bring wets and dries together. Quickly fold batter together. Fill muffin cups half way, add about 1 tbs of anko, fill muffin cup to top. Bake ~25 min. Enjoy!