Have you ever had Hojicha flavoured Japanese Chiffon Cake? I recently went to a local matcha cafe with my Japanese friend who is also a Japanese language teacher and I had a hojicha flavoured chiffon cake. I am very lucky to have a friend like her with whom I can talk in my native tongue and explore and check out Japanese restaurants and cafes in Brisbane. The cafe specialises in Japanese matcha green tea and other Japanese sweets. I wanted to recreate the Japanese chiffon cake I had at the cafe because it was fluffy like most Japanese sweets are and was delicious with a distinctive hojicha nutty flavour!
Well, matcha flavoured sweets are well known in the world and I have shared Matcha muffin, Matcha Madelaine, Matcha cookie, and Matcha Ice cream. I knew that hojicha, like earl grey tea, can be used to flavour baked sweets but never used it in my cooking apart from drinking it! Hojicha is Japanese green tea which is roasted at a high temperature in a porcelain pot over charcoal, altering the leaf colour from green to reddish-brown, unlike other Japanese green tea which is steamed. Japanese people often drink Hojicha after dinner because it contains less caffeine than green tea.
I sourced the Hojicha from a local Japanese grocery store I often go to. I wanted to make sure the tea is good quality tea because I am going to use it in my baking and eating. I only could find tea bags so I cut it open and used whole one tea bag which was about 3g. I brewed the tea and used it to make chiffon cake batter.
Baking a chiffon cake is relatively easy when you bear a few steps in mind and I will tell you the few steps that I would be careful with. I learnt these steps in my baking club that I belonged to when I was in the high school over 30 something years ago in Japan. The teacher would tell us these steps over and over again. First of all, all equipment and tools need to be completely dry and each ingredient needs to be measured precisely. I would not use cups measurement to bake Japanese chiffon cake successfully. The next important point is to add sugar in 3 seperate times to the meringue mixture and notice when the texture of the meringue has become shiny and formed a fine, soft peak to make perfect meringue. This is probably the most difficult part because this decides whether the cake succeeds or fails. And finally, cool the chiffon cake down completely upside down to avoid shrinkage (It may not visible but my chiffon cake (in the above photo) sank a tiny bit so I hide it with fruit…..).
I wanted to make it look pretty so I bought figs and fresh raspberries from a local weekend market. I also tried to decorate the cake with mint leaves from my back yard but it was eaten by something! Woops! Well, I guess my mint leaves are organic 😀 Hope you enjoy Hojicha flavoured Japanese chiffon cake!
- 4 egg yolks
- 60 g caster sugar
- 30 g rice bran oil
- 70 ml brewed hojicha tea
- 3-4 drops of vanilla essence
- 1 tea bag of hojicha
- 80 g plain flour
- 4 egg whites
- 45 g caster sugar
- icing sugar to dust
- fresh cream and fruit to serve
- Separate the eggs into egg yolks and egg whites. Leave the egg yolks in room temperature and refrigerate the whites.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
- Sift the plain flour and set aside.
- Brew a hojicha tea bag with 70ml hot water and cool it down.
- Make meringue. Place the cold egg whites in a stand mixer's mixing bowl and beat with med-high speed. When it forms froth and becomes white in colour, add 15g of sugar and keep beating until it forms a fine froth. Add another 15g sugar and keep beating. When it becomes a fine consistency, add the last 15g of sugar and turn the stand mixers speed down to low and beat till it forms fine and soft peaks. Turn the stand mixer off.
- Place the egg yolks and 60g of caster sugar in a different mixing bowl and mix them well until the sugar dissolves.
- Add 30g rice bran oil into the bowl and mix well.
- Add the cooled down brewed hojicha tea into the bowl and mix.
- Add the sifted flour into the bowl all at once and fold in with a spatula.
- Add 1/3 of meringue into the egg mixture and mix them together with a hand whisk.
- Add another 1/3 of meringue and repeat the process (try not to destroy the fine egg white froth).
- Gently fold in the last third of the meringue using a spatula in order to retain the fine form as much as possible, lifting the batter from the bottom of the bowl until the colour of the batter is uniform.
- Pour the batter into a 17 cm chiffon cake tin. Drop the tin a couple of times to remove the air.
- Bake it in preheated oven for about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, test if the cake is done by inserting a skewer. If it comes out clean, turn the oven off and remove the tin out of the oven.
- Turn the chiffon cake tin upside down and place it over the neck of a bottle to completely cool down. This prevents the chiffon cake from collapsing.
- Run a thin knife around the tin to loosen the cake and remove the tin.
- Place the cake on the cooling rack and dust with icing sugar.
- Slice and serve with fresh cream and fruit of your choice.