CG: Green Tea Cupcakes

It all started with some green tea powder.  A member of the geography club knew that I was learning how to bake and so she gave me some green tea powder from her’s family’s business.  I then decided to make cupcakes with it.  Usually I’m not a fan of green tea by itself, but in combination with other flavors, it’s strong bitterness is diluted a bit.  Looking online I found several recipes for green tea cupcakes and even found one with green tea frosting as well.  I decided to go with Teaglad’s recipe.  Reading through the list of ingredients, I was a bit alarmed at the amount of butter needed but figured since this was a special occasion item, I could splurge on the butter just this once.

While green tea is popular among the Asian American community and even among non-Asians in California, for those of you who may not be as familiar with it, I’ll discuss the history of green tea.  Green tea originated in China and is made from Camellia sinensis leaves that haven’t gone through the same withering and oxidation that is done to oolong and black tea.  There are several varieties of green tea, which differ due to the variety of the tea plant, growing conditions, horticulture, production processing, and time of harvest.

Growing conditions can either be done in the sun or the shade.  They are also grown in rows, which are pruned to produce shoots and are harvested three times a year.  The first is from late April to early May, then from June to July and the last from late July to early August.  The first picking usually produces the best leaves and thus costs the most.  The methods also are split between artisanal or modern methods.  Artisanal uses sun-drying, basket or charcoal firing, or pan-firing while modern uses are oven-drying, tumbling, or steaming.

China is the largest producer of green tea with about 80.8% coming from them.  Japan produces 9,5%, Vietnam produces 6.8%, and Indonesia produces 2.1%.  (Data come from 2006 numbers).  Green tea is most popular in China with over 600 varieties.  This allows for many different regional varieties to be produced.  The Chinese also prefer to pan-fry the green tea rather than steam it like in Japan.  Due to the differences in processing, China’s green teas are said to have an earthy taste than Japanese green tea.

Map of tea production. Image from Google Images.

Map of tea production. Image from Google Images.

Tea consumption goes back about 4,000 years in China and according to legend, green tea dates back to 2737 BC during the reign of Emperor Shennong.  Many people have claimed that green tea has various health benefits, such as helping prevent cancer, act as a weight loss supplement, and reduce inflammation.  Unfortunately these have not be proven to be true, usually with inconclusive results done after testing.  Risks associated with cardiovascular disease though may be lowered  with daily green tea consumption and it may help with glycemic control by lowering fasting blood sugar.  It may also decrease the blood concentration of total cholesterol.  But beware of taking high doses of green tea extract and this can be toxic to the liver.

Now onto the cooking!  You could even make a cup of green tea to serve with the cupcakes if you dare.

Ingredients  (My Version)

2 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tbsp baking powder

1 1/2 cups sugar

6 oz butter

3 large eggs

2/3 cup milk

2 tbsp green tea powder

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 F and add cupcake liners to your cupcake pan.

Cooking

In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and green tea powder.  In another bowl, mix the butter and sugar until smooth.  Then add eggs and mix again.  Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and add the milk as well.  Add batter to each cupcake liner and fill to about 3/4 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.  Done!

Frosting

1 stick of butter, 3 cups of powdered sugar, 2 tbsp of milk, 2 tbsp of green tea powder.  Whisk together butter and sugar, then add milk and green tea powder.  Mix until smooth.  Done!

Just add it to your cupcakes and you’ll be amazed at how great they taste.

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