Mini (and cute) Matcha Cakes – ideal for Halloween!!

There’s only 1 more week of Bake Off this series – time has flown by! But before we knew the final 3 bakers, there were the three semi-final challenges to go first! The bakers had to make 24 signature madeleines in two different flavours, travelled to Italy for the complex 7-layered torta setteveli technical before going back to France and making a display of 3 pastries fit for a patisserie window.

This week I decided to do the madeleines. But without a madeleine tin, I experimented by using a bun tin instead. Unfortunately these didn’t really work! However we learned from Kim-Joy this week that you shouldn’t give up during a bake if it’s not going according to plan. And even though my matcha madeleines didn’t go to plan, these Halloween-inspired Mini Matcha Cakes certainly did!

The method of making a madeleine follows that of a genoise sponge. Eggs and sugar are whisked until ribbon stage, which means you can draw a figure of eight using the whisk and it sinks backs after 2 – 3 seconds. Then the flour (traditionally plain with no chemical raising agent) is folded through followed by the melted butter. The easiest way to incorporate the fat is to mix the fat into a smaller amount of the batter before folding these two together. You risk losing too much air adding the fat straight to the batter as the two have very different consistencies whereas adding the fat to a small amount of batter makes it easier to incorporate. Read more about the genoise sponge in this post!

If you aren’t a fan of green tea in your baking, feel free to substitute the flavour powder for anything you want. I quite like the gruesome green colour of the sponge, it fits so well with the Halloween theme! You can also pair your flavouring with the sponge colour or just use food colouring for the green colour if you are doing a plain sponge for children!

The white chocolate for the ‘hair’ of the cake faces is actually Food Thoughts 35% Cacao Melts, a new product from Food Thoughts who sent me their entire range to experiment and use in recipes (in exchange for honest reviews of their products). I decided to pair the matcha flavour with these white chocolate melts. The discs are made from the best Fino de Aroma bean varieties known for their exquisite intense flavour. The flavour is different from the white chocolate I am used to using which tastes much sweeter – perhaps one I’m also not used to – however the cacao melts melted effortlessly in the microwave, which is more favourable since white chocolate can be difficult to melt correctly.

This recipe makes enough for 24 mini cakes and can be easily halved to make just 1 tray instead of 2.

For the matcha genoise:

100g margarine, plus extra for greasing

98g plain flour, plus extra for dusting the tin

4g green tea powder

2 medium eggs

100g granulated sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

For the decoration:

50g white chocolate

Handful of black sesame seeds

Strawberry pencils, shopbought

25g icing sugar

Lightly grease the holes of two 12-hole shallow bun tins with margarine and dust lightly with flour, shaking away the excess. Place into the fridge until required.

Melt the margarine in a bowl in the microwave and set aside to cool slightly. In a separate bowl, sift together the plain flour and the green tea powder and set aside.

Using an electric whisk, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until it is light, paler in colour and the whisk is leaving a trail in the mixture. Add in the dry ingredients and using a spatula, fold to incorporate the flour.

Pour around half of the batter into the melted margarine and mix until even. Pour this batter back into the original batter and fold to combine the two. When evenly mixed, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Transfer the cake batter into a piping bag and cut off a medium hole at the end. Divide the batter evenly between the 24 holes of the bun tins and then give the tray a light tap on the surface.

Bake the mini cakes for 8 – 10 minutes until the edges have browned slightly and the sponges spring back when touched. Leave the sponges to cool for 5 minutes before transferring the cakes to a wire rack to cool fully.

Place 50g of white chocolate (or 35% cacao melts) into a small microwaveable bowl and microwave on 20 second intervals until melted, stirring between each one. Use a spoon to cover the top 30% of the cakes to create the head effect, placing onto parchment. Dust with a tiny amount of green tea powder and sprinkle with some black sesame seeds. Leave to set fully.

Take a strawberry pencil and use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the pencil up into 0.5cm rings. Use your hands to push them into the shape of eyes and then push a black sesame seed into the soft white centre. Make 48 of these for 24 pairs of eyes. Cut the remaining pencil length in half lengthways and then cut 24 small pieces for the noses.

Make a simple water icing by adding water very slowly to the icing sugar so that the icing is thick enough to hold its shape when piped and won’t run. Place into a piping bag and cut off a small hole at the end.

Pipe a small dot of icing on the back of each eye and stick 2 onto each cake. Repeat for all the other cakes and do the same for the nose on each cake. On each face, pipe a mouth with fangs, starting with a smile and then piping two triangles pointing downwards, towards the side of the mouth. Leave the icing to set before serving.

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