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Black Sesame Matcha Cupcakes

Black Sesame Matcha Cupcakes

I've always had a thing for sesame seeds. I love them on bread and on chicken and I can't get enough of tahini. So when I came across this recipe on the iPad app 'Cupcake' for Black Sesame Matcha Cupcakes I was intrigued to try it out. Not all recipes are a slam-dunk the first time you try them out, but this one was. The only change I made was to use buttermilk instead of regular milk so ensure moistness. The nutty flavor of the toasted sesame seeds goes perfectly with the green tea in the frosting. If you haven't baked with Matcha before you can find it at Asian supermarkets in cans. It's essentially green tea powder, which has an earthy, slightly bitter taste. Tip: eat one of these cupcakes while still warm without any frosting. The sesame flavor is to die for. Just be careful to stop after one (I had 2) so you'll still have the rest left to frost. ;)

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

6 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 & 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
Extra black sesame seeds for garnish

For the matcha cream cheese frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 to 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
10 oz cream cheese, cold and cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 to 4 tsp matcha (green tea) powder, or to taste

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit (175 degrees celsius). Line a standard muffin pan with 12 baking liners.

2. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring them constantly until they are fragrant (about 2 minutes). Crush the toasted seeds with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder until they are the texture of damp sand and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, sift the dry ingredients and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the ground sesame seeds, egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Gradually beat in half the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk and mix well. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until batter is well-combined and smooth.

4. Fill cupcake liners until they are 3/4 full. Lift the pan about 1 inch from the kitchen counter and carefully drop it back down to remove any air bubbles in the batter. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pan as soon as safely possible. Cool completely before frosting.

5. To make the frosting: sift confectioner's sugar and matcha together in a small bowl. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, powdered sugar mixture and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Add the cream cheese, a chunk at a time, beating after each addition (just enough to work it in).

6. Frost cupcakes and garnish with black sesame seeds.

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Toasted sesame seeds crushed with a mortar & pestle

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Matcha & confectioners sugar

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Matcha cream cheese frosting

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