Black Sesame Cupcakes with Green Tea Frosting

27 Apr

Even after making the black sesame panna cotta, I still had a bunch of black sesame spread left over. I had to Google something else to do with it. Enter this bizzaro-world recipe. It was definitely an exercise in experimentation and improvisation.

For the frosting I had to order what I thought was matcha powder, but was actually matcha in unprocessed form. I ended up whizzing it in the blender for a bit to reduce it in size since I don’t have a food processor. It ended up more powdery, but still a little bit like fine-cut grass (see photos below – it looked kind of cool anyway). I didn’t have black sesame seeds either, and it didn’t seem worth buying them, so I just used the white ones I had in my pantry. The batter looked and sounded exactly like cement mixing (see below photo), though it probably would have been even more so if I had used the black seeds. Oddly, after baking, the cake looked relatively normal.

The public reactions to hearing of the opportunity to try this taste sensation varied from thinly veiled disgust to confused interest. The only other time I had such unusual reactions was several years ago when I made Beer Cheese Cupcakes with Bacon Cheddar Cream Cheese Frosting. Those were not a hit when I tried to give them away, despite containing many tasty ingredients. I liked them, but one was enough due to richness. These black sesame/green tea cupcakes had a bizarre smell, and the first bite was a little overwhelming and confusing, but if someone was adventurous and willing to give things a second bite, they really grew on you. Friends who enjoy Asian desserts also seemed to like them. If you want to weird someone out or impress them, give this craziness a try!

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sticks (170 g) salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (340 g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons black sesame paste
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) black sesame seeds [didn’t have these, just used white]
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups (310 g) flour, sifted
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

Cupcake Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring or tossing them constantly, until they are fragrant, about two minutes. (If you buy already-toasted sesame seeds, iri-goma, you can skip the previous step.) Crush the seeds with a suribachi or spice grinder until they are the texture of damp sand and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the sesame paste and seeds, eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients, then the milk, and beat for a couple minutes.

Fill cupcake tin and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Matcha-Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients & Instructions

Makes enough for about 24 cupcakes

  • 1 8-oz (200 g) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 stick (55 g) butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 cup (125 g) sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons matcha [given that I didn’t have actual powder that would distribute well, I had to put in much more than this]

Beat together the cream cheese, butter and whipping cream until creamy. Add the sugar and matcha and beat until glossy and smooth.

–Recipe courtesy

Cement-like cake batter:

Finished product:

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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized


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