This week’s lockup menu has included some Asian-inspired meals. Mapo tofu (one of the only tofu recipes I actually like) and handmade chicken and mushroom dumplings, and rice noodle chicken salad. I was on the hunt for a cake that would complement these meals and the Wagamama cookbook came to the rescue. I discovered Wagamama when I went to London in 2006, and I was absolutely hooked on a duck and mandarin salad, and a chocolate cake with wasabi cream. I like Wagamama. I know its a tad on the basic side, and I know its expensive, and I know that when they opened and then closed in NZ some of the staff ended up getting ripped off, but its delicious and fast. And when you’re in London in winter with a baby, you need fast, hot lunches. Wagamama to the rescue!
The cookbook didn’t have the chocolate wasabi cake, but it did have a recipe for a green tea drizzle cake, which sounded appealing, and interesting, and season-appropriate (the nights are getting cold here). Best of all, I didn’t have to buy any ingredients, thanks to my friend K who gave me a box of matcha latte sachets. The recipe said to get matcha powder but I knew these things would do just as well. Thanks K!
This recipe was more complicated and required more care than some of the earlier cakes. The eggs and sugar had to be whisked in a bowl over hot water. I don’t have a hand-held electric whisk and the metal hand whisk was taking forever, so this part was finished off in the stand beater, and you know what? It worked fine. Care was needed with adding the butter carefully, and its a sponge-type recipe, so you MUST NOT be heavy handed when it comes time to mix the flour and egg. I don’t recommend this recipe for first time bakers, because things could go wrong, and you’ll end up with a cake that is tough, and about one centimetre tall. As it was, this cake isn’t very big, as you can see below.
It only took 20min in the oven and then I poured the green tea syrup over it. As you can see, its not a very big cake, even if it is mixed properly. I was glad I collect teabags from hotels, because I could rip 4 or 5 of them up and make 150ml of very strong green tea without having to waste the very fancy stuff I got given from Korean friends. Did you know that some Korean green tea can cost over $100 a packet? Like wine though, I don’t think it’s necessary to spend that if you’re not a connoisseur, unless you just want to show off.
After an excellent dumpling supper, I mixed some of the leftover syrup with marscapone (that I’m still getting through, slowly…) and there it was: a delicious, syrupy, sweet cake, with that familiar, slightly bitter, green tea undertone. It possibly could have had more of the matcha latte powder (I used half the sachet) or even stronger green tea syrup. I really liked this cake, and the cream made it. (The recipe said to use creme fraiche. Ice cream would work too. So would yoghurt). This is a perfect dessert cake to bring out after a meal that’s explored Asian flavours. Thanks, Wagamama!
- Deliciousness : This is delicious. It is sweet, but the green tea cuts through it. It is comforting and satisfying, but without being too much. Although speaking of too much, I could have eaten a lot more of this than I did.
- Recipe complexity: Not for beginners. You need to be careful whisking the eggs over hot water, and you need to be very careful when you combine all the ingredients, unless you want to eat tough cake.
- Availability/price of ingredients: The matcha powder is optional, but I thought it made the cake. Other than that, everything is right there at the supermarket.
- Similarity of final cake to picture/description: A very close match.
- Would I bake it again? Yes. This is going into the dessert repertoire.