Matcha Cake with Spicy Ginger Ice Cream

I have to hand it to the Japanese; they really know how to make you sweat at the dinner table. From serving up awe inducing, blood red raw horsemeat to a jellied drink made with pig placenta (you’re just going to have to look that one up to believe me), Japanese experimental cuisine has invited both encouragement and nausea into my kitchen.


To those of us who tinker in the kitchen attempting to frivolously induct odd ingredients into an amorous, if not idiosyncratic, marriage, their approach of shaking up the culinary normative as not a frivolous plight, but with unencumbered inspiration, is encouraging. “It’s extremely poisonous you say?” I’d imagine a Japanese chef inquiring about a new bulk shipment, “we should market that to small children.”

Though my curiosity is waxed to the point of gross engorgement, crispy wasp crackers and a zesty, cool beverage of eel soda are not items in which I find myself most inclined to indulge.  Amidst the unusual food pairings tantamount to games of I-dare-you-to-eat-THIS torture, Japanese cuisine has also introduced a few delicious oddities that have stuck with a growing American interest, including mine.

Matcha. Before Starbucks swamped the market with an induction of green-hued frappucchinos, matcha (in Japanese “ma” meaning “powdered” and “cha” being “tea”) had long been a staple in Japan, having originated in China and subsequently made popular by Japanese Zen Buddhists in the 12th century. To say then that matcha is intrinsically a metaphysical stimulant, encouraging mental alertness and an overall inclination toward “oneness” wouldn’t be very far from the truth. Unless you’re an asshole, then it doesn’t work.

Fresh off the heels of ceasing my sugar expulsion, I took to my kitchen/lair to whip up a popular matcha-based confection to appease a three-month-long sugar longing: matcha cake. And in keeping with the Japanese theme, I made up a large batch of spicy ginger ice cream to accompany it. Making homemade ice cream comes with the same ease as making your bed or killing a bum, and why anyone pays for expensive, basic ice creams anymore is beyond my reasonable comprehension.

Though the vibrant green matcha matched against the Isabelline ginger ice cream presented a nice contrast, a duo-tone dish does nothing to quell my requirement of having Technicolor courses. Thinking I was clever, I concocted a sweetly aromatic coconut adzuki bean coulis that was initially very promising and pretty delicious, but whose taste developed into something far more nefarious than I’d initially planned and ended up diarrheal at best. Like many of my aspirant ventures, it’s a work in progress. Failed coulis aside, this is a great dessert if you’re interested in testing out a safer side of Japanese palate-pleasers. Or if you like the color green. Or…if you just like dessert.

Matcha Cake with Spicy Ginger Ice Cream


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4 Comments

  • Pingback: Foodgasm! Matcha Cake with Spicy Ginger Ice Cream

  • Lindsay
    April 3, 2012 - 9:32 pm | Permalink

    I am making this recipe right now, and just realized it does not say what to bake the batter in. Help, please!

    • Kerry
      April 3, 2012 - 9:47 pm | Permalink

      Hi Lindsay! In an oven, of course! I’m just kidding. I baked mine within a 9″ round cake pan and it came out perfect. If you want to bake it in a rectangular shape, make sure to adjust the cooking to time compensate for less thickness in the cake.

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