Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mini Green Tea and Chocolate Mousse Cakes

I've always wanted to make something with matcha, but I had such difficulty finding it (well, finding it at a reasonable price - my aunt in Dallas found it for $99 a lb which is way beyond budget). Thus, I was ecstatic when my friend Cecilia wanted to bake and said she had a huge bag of green tea powder from her mom.

I suggested chocolate green tea mousse cake. But for such a tasty combination, it's not very common; finding recipes was quite difficult, and the few recipes I did see used the metric measurement system, so I ended up inventing my own recipe.

The mousse is adapted from Food.com, but I definitely changed it up as I went along (*cough* I made a mistake with the proportions but fixed it without anyone knowing *cough*)

I'm pretty sure our green tea powder wasn't matcha grade, but it still tasted great. And it definitely beats my original plan of grinding up tea leaves ripped from tea bags. Either way, green tea is healthy and full of antioxidants!

So what is this mysterious matcha?
- Matcha is fine powder green tea
- Preparing matcha starts several weeks before harvest; the tea bushes are covered to prevent direct sunlight. Shade causes the leaves to turn a darker shade of green and make amino acids. The leaves are laid out flat to dry and crumble, becoming tencha (碾茶), which is stone ground to the fine, bright green, talc-like powder known as matcha.

Matcha is definitely expensive, especially if it's higher grade. Grading is based on

- Location on the tea bush (top of the bush is highest grade)
- Treatment before processing (no sunlight) and stone grinding
- Oxidation (avoid exposure oxygen or it can turn a dull brownish green color)
Isn't this Tokyo plate super cute?!
I would like to get paper collars so I could make the layers even higher. Also, chilling the mousse longer would stabilize it more, but we were so eager to decorate and eat it, we took it out after less than an hour (hence the squashed appearance). 

I was SO happy when I cut the cake and could see all the layers nicely defined. And I may or may not have eaten the cake in one day...
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake (from Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe) - 1/2 batch my recipe for 3 mini cakes

Green Tea Mousse:
1 tablespoon gelatin, powder
4 tablespoons water
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups full fat milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder

Directions
Cake: Bake the cake in each mini springform pan (3) and let cool while preparing the mousse.

Mousse: Dissolve gelatine powder in 4 tbsps of water and set aside.

Beat egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Heat milk in a pan and dissolve the gelatine in the milk. Gradually add the hot milk to the egg mixture to temper. Add egg and milk back to the saucepan and stir over stovetop with cornstarch to thicken (watch carefully, you don't want the eggs to scramble). Cool the mousse in an ice water bath, stirring constantly. Add the green tea and mix well.

Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold 1/2 of the whipped heavy cream in the green tea mousse mixture. Save the other 1/2 of the whipped cream for the third layer of the mousse (add sugar if desired).

Assembly: Carefully pour the mousse into the springform pan on top of the chocolate layer. Chill in the refrigerator (or freezer) for several hours to set. Once mousse is set, add whipped cream layer on top for the 3rd layer. Dust with matcha green tea power or coca powder.

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