This matcha cake or green tea cake is a light and fluffy sponge cake flavored with matcha power, aka green tea powder. It's a delicious Japanese cake that soft, fluffy, and light as air!
This matcha cake or green tea cake is made with matcha powder, a bright green powder made in Japan from finely ground green tea leaves. It gives this sponge cake a beautiful green color and a slightly earthy flavor. Its flavor similar to the taste of green tea but with stronger, more vibrant grassy notes.
Matcha cake is popular in Asian countries like Japan, Korea, and China because of the popularity and widespread use of matcha powder. You can find this ingredient in drinks, a variety of baked goods, desserts, and even savory dishes.
What is matcha?
Matcha is a bright green powder made from finely ground green tea leaves of the Camelia Sinensis plant. It's essentially a green tea powder made from dried tea leaves.
There are different grades of matcha powder available: ceremonial grade and culinary grade. The ceremonial grade is used for tea while the culinary grade is used for cooking and baking.
Though both grades can be used for this recipe, if you want a pronounced deep green color to this matcha sponge cake, I recommend the ceremonial grade for its darker color.
- Matcha powder - Use a high quality matcha powder for the best flavor. Culinary and ceremonial grades can both be used for this recipe but I recommend the ceremonial grade if you want a dark green color.
- Cake flour - Cake flour gives this sponge cake its light and fluffy texture.
- Eggs - I used large eggs.
How to make matcha cake
- Beat the egg whites to firm peaks. When lifting the whisk, the tip should fall slightly but the base of the meringue should hold its shape.
- Beat the egg yolks, sugar, salt, vanilla, honey, and water until pale yellow and fluffy. Beat on high speed for best results. Next, combine half the egg whites with the egg yolk mixture and gently fold being careful not to deflate any of the egg whites or egg yolk mixture.
- Sift in the cake flour, matcha powder, and baking powder into the egg yolk mixture and fold gently. Next, add the vegetable oil. Tip: To help incorporate the oil, first mix in a bit of batter with the oil before adding.
- Add the remaining half of the egg whites and gently fold them together. You should end up with a vibrant green batter that's fluffy and airy.
- By now, there should be no visible matcha powder or cake powder in the batter. Pour into two 6 inch cake pans lined with parchment paper on the bottom and sides.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 27 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the crust is golden brown with a raised center.
- Remove all the parchment paper and allow the matcha cake to cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.
Once completely cooled, you can slice the cake into layers to turn it into a layered matcha cake or simply cut it into slices. The texture of the matcha sponge cake should be incredibly soft, fluffy, and moist.
It makes an excellent cake during the holidays like Christmas, Easter, and birthdays. Decorate with berries and serve with your favorite whipped cream or buttercream. Enjoy!
Matcha cake tips:
- Avoid over beating the egg whites as it will result in a lumpy cake with too many air bubbles. When lifting your whisk, you want the tip of the peak to fall slightly. Over beaten egg whites will look grainy and lumpy.
- Mix the egg yolk mixture on high speed. It's ready when it forms a ribbon trail that lasts three to four seconds when dropped from the whisk.
- When adding the vegetable oil, mix in a little bit of the batter first. This helps incorporate the oil without deflating the batter.
- Make sure to sift the matcha powder and cake powder. Matcha powder is hard to dissolve once it clumps.
- Matcha cake is done baking when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Look for a raised center and a golden brown color.
- Wait until it completely cools before slicing. This helps get smooth, even layers without tearing.
- The best way to slice layers is to use a cake knife or any long, thin knife with a serrated edge. You can also use a cake leveler for even slices.
Matcha Cake (Green Tea Cake)
- 6 eggs - whites and yolks separated
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat Egg Whites
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat egg whites with the cream of tartar (if using) on high until it becomes foamy. Next, add ⅓ of the amount of sugar and beat on high until firm peaks form. When lifting the whisk, look for the tip to drop slightly. Set aside.⅞ cup white sugar, 6 eggs, ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Egg Yolk Mixture
- In a large bowl, add the egg yolks, the remaining ⅔ sugar, salt, water, honey, and vanilla. Beat on high until fluffy, pale yellow ribbons form when lifting the whisk. The ribbon should remain for 3 to 4 seconds. Add half the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and fold gently.⅞ cup white sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, 6 eggs, 2 Tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons honey, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Add Dry Ingredients and Oil
- Make the batter: Sift the flour, matcha powder, and baking powder into the egg yolk mixture in three parts, gently folding after each time. Matcha powder must be sifted as it clumps together easily. Next, add the vegetable oil. Tip: To help incorporate the oil better, mix a few spoonfuls of the batter with the oil before adding.⅞ cup cake flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ⅓ cup vegetable oil, 2 Tablespoons matcha powder
- Add the remaining ½ of the egg whites to the batter and fold gently until well combined, taking care not to deflate the batter.
- Line two 6 inch cake pans with parchment paper along the sides and bottom. Pour in the batter and bang the pan twice to remove large air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the crust is golden brown with a raised center, about 27 to 30 minutes. See Notes section for additional baking times.
- Remove all the parchment paper and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing. Use a cake leveler for even slices. Serve with whipped cream and fruit or make a layered cake. Enjoy!
✎ Recipe Notes
- Matcha powder: Use high quality matcha for the best flavor. Either culinary grade or ceremonial grade can be used. For a darker green color, I recommend ceremonial grade. Look for packaging that's air-tight to prevent oxidation.
- Two 6 inch pans: about 27 to 30 minutes
- Three 6 inch pans: about 18 to 20 minutes
- Four 6 inch pans: 15 to 16 minutes
- 9x13 inch pan: about 18 to 20 minutes
- The most likely reason is due to improperly beating the egg whites. It's very easy to over or under-beat egg whites. Over-beaten egg whites will look grainy and lumpy.
- Old or expired baking powder. Check the dates on your ingredients.
- Baking temperatures can also affect the rise of sponge cakes. It's important not to open the oven as the temperature drop can cause the sponge cake to collapse and deflate. Use an oven thermometer or calibrate your oven if not done recently.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.