What I love most about this sponge, other than how delicious it is, is that you only need 4 simple ingredients to make it! It’s a Japanese-style sponge cake recipe that I got from my Japanese mother – it’s a lot lighter and healthier than its Western counterpart and it’s also naturally dairy-free.
Matcha is finely ground powder made from specially grown green tea leaves. The traditional Japanese tea ceremony involves preparing, serving and drinking matcha. Matcha that is produced for this is known as “ceremonial-grade matcha”, whilst matcha that is used for cooking purposes, especially desserts, is known as “culinary-grade matcha”.
You can buy matcha from most health stores or Asian supermarkets. I used this one from Lalani & Co.
I made a chestnut paste filling for the cake. Both because it’s December and chestnuts are quite festive, but they’re also used in a lot of traditional Japanese desserts. You may know that red bean paste is used in many Japanese desserts, but did you know that they also make a similar paste with chestnuts, which is known as kuri-an? (Kuri means chestnut)
For this recipe, I bought ready peeled frozen chestnuts which you can find in the frozen food aisle of most supermarkets.
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!
- 175g self-raising flour (or 175g plain flour + 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder)
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons matcha powder
- Handful of chestnuts (thawed if frozen)
- Splash of water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 teaspoons sugar (or sub any other sweetener), to taste
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees
- Put eggs and sugar in bowl
- Whisk until the mixture is so airy that it expands to double the size and so thick that you can leave marks on the surface
- Sieve in flour and matcha powder
- Carefully fold in so that the mixture remains airy
- Pour the mixture into a greased baking tray and bake in oven for 30-40 minutes – if it looks like it’s about to burn at any point, drop the temperature to 150 degrees
- Make the chestnut paste by heating the chestnuts, vanilla, water and your sweetener of choice in a saucepan on low heat for around 30 minutes – stir occasionally
- Turn off the heat once the chestnuts are soft enough to be easily squashed with a fork
- Transfer the cooked chestnuts to a bowl and mash with a fork, so that it becomes paste-like but leave some lumps for a nicer texture
- Once the cake has cooled, slice in half and spread the chestnut paste on one half, and put the other half on top
- Dust with icing sugar or desiccated coconut
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