Matcha Cupcakes with Azuki Bean Buttercream

It has been a while since I had posted anything here and I have to admit that I wasn't feeling very inspired in the kitchen lately. I was going through a stressful time and I didn't want to bring that type of energy here. And when you're in the kitchen, you can tell when food lacks the extra love and care put into it.

A girl friend had requested to replicate Uncle Tetsu's green tea Madeleines on my Instagram, not knowing it was not something I had made before. Upon request, I went to attempt these Madeleines at her place without the azuki bean filling in the center. I used my mini muffin pan to bake them. Surprisingly, it was a simple recipe and it turned out better than I had expected! It was enough to give me that spark I needed again. I had followed justonecookbook's green tea Madeleine recipe, which was inspired by the legendary French chef, Julia Child. Just knowing the original recipe was from Julia Child, I knew from the start it was a good recipe to follow and to expect to use lots of butter. Nami, the author of justonecookbook, has wonderful tips on how to make successful Madeleines. 

These cupcakes are using Nami's Madeleine batter recipe to produce an incredibly gluttonous cupcake!

Azuki / Red Bean buttercream on matcha / green tea cupcakes

Before I get to the cupcakes, let's start with the azuki bean (red bean) paste recipe. I would suggest making it ahead of time as it will take some time to prepare them. Another option is going to your local Asian supermarket and buy the packaged red bean paste in the refrigerated section.

Azuki Bean/Red Bean Paste

Ingredients

Azuki Beans / Red Beans
  • 1/2 cup azuki beans
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Soak the azuki beans overnight for at least 8 hours. Rinse and drain well. Add the washed beans into a pot with water, at least 1 inch above the beans and bring to a boil. Once the water is brought to a boil, reduce the heat to low and allow the beans to simmer for at least one hour or until soft. During the cooking time, you'll need to replenish the water every so often so that the beans are just covered by water. Once the beans are soft, turn the heat back to high and add the sugar in two portions. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved. The mixture should slowly thicken. Once the sugar is fully incorporated, add a pinch of salt and stir. Remove the mixture from the heat. If you like chunky azuki bean paste, use it right away or reserve it in an air tight container in the fridge for future use. You may also portion the paste and freeze it for up to a month. For a smoother texture, pass the beans through a sieve. This will remove the skins from the paste. I would recommend passing at least 1/4 cup of the paste through a sieve to reserve for the frosting recipe as it would make piping easier.

Azuki bean paste
Close up of azuki bean paste

Matcha/Green Tea Cupcake

Ingredients

  • 250ml unsalted butter, melted and at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp milk, at room temperature

This recipe will require a resting period of 3 hours and will yield 24 mini cupcakes.

Matcha / Green tea cupcake batter using matcha madeleine recipe

In one mixing bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, baking powder, matcha powder and salt together. I had used David's matcha powder and was pleased with their quality and flavour it imparts onto baked goods. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk together until frothy. Add the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until combined. The batter will look like there's too much flour, but continue to stir until the flour is blended with the egg mixture. Then, pour half of the melted butter into the batter and combine well. It will look as if the batter is swimming in butter but continue to mix until all the butter is absorbed into the batter. Add the remaining melted butter and repeat. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for three hours.

Line the muffin pan with paper cups. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F / 190 degrees C.

Add 1 tbsp of batter into each cup. Using the chunky azuki bean paste made earlier, portion 1/4 tsp into each cup. Cover with 1 tbsp of batter over the filling. Bake for 8 minutes and rotate the pan and continue to bake for another 5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool to room temperature.

Matcha / green tea cupcakes with azuki bean / red bean paste filling
Waiting for matcha / green tea cupcakes to cool
Waiting for matcha / green tea cupcakes with azuki bean / red bean filling to cool

Azuki Bean Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 30 ml of water
  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of butter, diced at room temperature
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of azuki bean paste

While the cupcakes are cooling, start on the buttercream frosting recipe. It is best to make this recipe with your full attention. Add the egg whites into a stand mixer and start on low speed. In a pot combine sugar and water. Do not stir or disturb the solution. Using a thermometer, bring the mixture to 245 degrees F / 118 degrees C. Start on low heat until the sugar dissolves and then bring to medium heat. Use a pastry brush soaked in water and brush the sides of the pot to remove any sugar along the top edges of the solution. While the sugar is heating, the egg whites should start to look foamy. When the sugar solution is getting close to 245 degrees F / 118 degrees C, increase the mixer's speed to medium. When it reaches to 245 degrees F / 118 degrees C, slowly pour the sugar solution into the egg whites in a slow steady stream. Once all the sugar has been poured, increase the speed to high and continue to whip until the mixing bowl cools down to room temperature. Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add the butter in small portions. Wait 10-20 seconds before adding the next cube of butter to allow it to be fully incorporated. At this point, the mixture may look lumpy and split. Don't fret! Continue to mix at high speed after all the butter is added. It will come together to a smooth and creamy consistency. Add vanilla extract and whip until mixed. Fold 1/4 cup of smooth azuki paste.

Azuki / Red bean buttercream on matcha / green tea cupcakes
Azuki / Red Bean buttercream on matcha / green tea cupcakes

download Recipe