Black sesame cupcakes with matcha buttercream

I’ve been noticing a funny adverse effect all this snow being dumped on the state of Massachusetts is having on me: the more flights get cancelled and the T is shut down (yet again!), the more my previously non-existent wanderlust grows. The fact that a few of my labmates are flying out to the south of Spain for a research project as we speak does not make things any better.

One of my favorite trips I ever took was with my cousin to Tokyo now more than 4 years ago (!). It was an amazing, otherworldly experience (the cleanliness of the subways! the fashion! bright lights!) and above all, foodie heaven. I swear, even the freakin’ sushi from 7-11 was finer quality than most restaurants I’ve had in the states. Everything was so carefully and beautifully prepared.

Unfortunately, a grad student budget doesn’t really allow for much jetsetting. But snow days do give the opportunity for the next best thing: culinary adventures. Here’s to dreaming of warmer days and many happy travels!

Black sesame cupcakes with matcha buttercream

Black Sesame Cupcakes with Matcha Buttercream

Yield: 12 cupcakes

This is my take on a culinary journey to Tokyo. The green, grassy, slightly bitter taste of Matcha, my favorite Japanese beverage (and the only tea that’s ever held up to coffee in keeping me awake!) pairs perfectly with the nuttiness and richness of black sesame. Both flavors, because they are on the bitter end of the spectrum, make the often cloying sweetness of cupcakes balanced.

The cake recipe is adapted from molly yeh and boy it is fantastic-- 10/10 would make this cake again all by itself and eat it plain, it is that good. So fluffy, so sesame-y-- it would be perfect with a cup of tea. The buttercream is a classic one standard just about everywhere, with the addition of green tea, of course.

Black Sesame Cupcakes

  • 1 stick butter, softened

  • 3/4 c white sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • ¼ cup ground sesame seeds (we used a mortar and pestle, but a coffee grinder would be awesome or just buy sesame flour; this is measured after grinding!)

  • 2/3 c milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350, and line a muffin tin.

  2. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs; stir in vanilla.

  3. in a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. add to the butter mixture. stir in milk.

  4. Fill cupcake tin about ¾ full.

  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until nicely risen and a toothpick comes out clean.

  6. Cool completely before frosting!

 

Matcha Buttercream

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened

  • splash of vanilla

  • 1 tbs matcha

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar

  • milk

  1. You know the drill: basicall, in a large bowl whip the butter with a hand mixer, a fork, anything really; then beat in the vanilla and matcha and sugar a bit at a time, add some milk to make it nice and fluffy.

  2. Frost.