The ease of a muffin and the beauty of a cake? I’m in! Plus, these handheld treats are perfect for pandemic times; everyone gets their own, with no sharing of utensils and serving dishes necessary.
You essentially mix and bake these mini cakes like muffins, then turn them over and glaze them upside down to make an adorable, individual-size dessert.
I top these cakes with an olive oil glaze, which is simply olive oil and confectioners’ sugar. It goes well with the grassy notes of the matcha in the muffin, and it picks up on the earthy notes of the olive oil used as fat in the muffin batter. Be sure and use the best olive oil you have on hand because the olive oil flavor really does shine through.
Why this recipe works with tea: Matcha—green tea powder—is perfect for baking. It adds depth of flavor with its bittersweet notes. It also adds a cool greenish hue to the cake. It’s already ground, so you’re essentially using it like you would any other baking spice. When baking with matcha it’s always good to use more than less. If you add too little it’s hard for both the flavor and color of the matcha to shine through.
I’ve made these muffin cakes many times for people’s birthdays, brunches, and dinner parties. I’ve even adapted them for friends who avoid gluten, dairy, and/or eggs (see Tips below). You can also freeze the baked cakes then defrost and glaze when you’re ready to present them.
Fans of these cakes often voice their appreciation that this is a not-too-sweet treat, and they almost always ask for the recipe.
Happy cooking and sipping!
Matcha Blackberry Muffin Cakes
Makes 12 muffin cakes
6 ounces blackberries, rinsed
3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup olive oil (use a really good oil!)
2 teaspoons almond extract
3/4 cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
For olive oil glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp. hot water
2 Tbsp. olive oil (use a really good oil!)
1. Toss blackberries with 1/4 cup of the sugar and set aside to macerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a muffin tin.
3. In a large bowl, whisk remaining ½ cup sugar with flour, matcha, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk egg with buttermilk, olive oil, and almond extract until smooth.
5. Fold wet ingredients into dry until combined then fold in 1/2 cup of the chopped almonds, reserving the rest for garnish.
6. Roughly mash macerated blackberries with a potato masher, meat tenderizer, or back of a heavy spoon. Fold mashed berries into batter.
7. Scoop batter into muffin cups until cups are almost full. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes until lightly browned and middle of muffins are done but still soft. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the muffin tin. Gently remove muffins from tin (they may be a bit delicate) and set upside down on a cooling rack to cool completely.
For olive oil glaze:
1. Add hot water to confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth; add more water 1 teaspoon at a time if mixture is too dry.
2. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking until glaze is smooth and the consistency of honey. Add more water or olive oil a little at a time to get the right consistency. You’ll want the glaze to easily drizzle over cakes but still have some body to it.
3. Drizzle glaze over cooled cakes, letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle tops with remaining toasted chopped almonds. Let cakes sit for an hour or so until glaze is set before serving
- The cakes are best enjoyed the same day they are glazed; the olive oil glaze doesn’t hold well as it tends to separate.
- You can make the cakes a day before and store in a sealed container at room temperature; the cakes (unglazed) also freeze well.
- For gluten free: Use your favorite gluten-free baking flour.
- For egg-free: Use use 1/4 cup plain yogurt in place of egg.
- For vegan: Use 1/4 cup dairy-free yogurt in place of egg. Use coconut milk in place of buttermilk; stir 2 teaspoons lemon juice into coconut milk to mimic buttermilk.
- For nut-free: Omit nuts and use vanilla extract in place of almond extract.
- Try versions with other nuts like, e.g. walnuts with black walnut extract or pistachios with pistachio extract.
- Skip the nuts and try a version with crystallized ginger stirred into the batter instead. For this version, decrease the sugar in the batter by 1 tablespoon to compensate for the sugar coating on the ginger.