One visit to Japan and I became obsessed with the baking, the ingredients and the apparent infatuation with all things matcha-flavoured. I saw a version of this cake in almost every department-store food hall, metro station bakery, and even all the brilliant convenience stores. Think of it as the Japanese version of the British Swiss roll. Similarly made with a whisked sponge cake, this version is based on chiffon cake – an incredibly soft and flexible sponge made with a little oil and milk.
I have kept the flavours simple in line with what I ate in Japan with one small addition – a little white chocolate in the matcha whipped cream filling, which sweetens it just enough and makes for a creamier texture.
This recipe is extracted from One Tin Bakes: Sweet and simple traybakes, pies, bars and buns by Edd Kimber (£17.99, Kyle Books). Photography © Edd Kimber
Ingredients for matcha white chocolate whipped cream filling Serves: 8
Ingredients for matcha roll cake
- 40ml (1½fl oz/2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) neutral-tasting oil, plus extra for greasing
- 50ml (2fl oz/3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) whole milk
- 3 teaspoons matcha powder
- 3 large eggs, separated
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 80g (2¾oz/⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon) caster (superfine) sugar
- 30g (1oz/¼ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 30g (1oz/¼ cup) cornflour (cornstarch)
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Method for matcha roll cake with white chocolate whipped cream filling
- Make the filling in advance as it needs a few hours to chill before use. Add a quarter of the cream to a small pan over a medium heat along with the matcha and whisk together to form a smooth paste.
- Whisk in the remaining cream, a little at a time to prevent the matcha from going lumpy, until fully combined. Bring the cream to a simmer, then immediately pour over the chocolate in a small, heatproof bowl and set aside for a couple of minutes before stirring to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours until cold.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. Line the base of the baking tin with parchment paper. You can lightly grease the base of the tin to help the parchment paper stick, if you like, but ensure the sides remain clean, as we want the cake to cling to the sides of the tin as it bakes.
- To make the roll cake, add the milk and matcha to a small pan and whisk together until smooth. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Place the egg yolks into one bowl and the egg whites and cream of tartar into another. Add half of the sugar to the yolks, then, using an electric mixer, whisk for 3–4 minutes, or until pale and creamy.
- Add the oil and matcha milk and whisk briefly to combine. Add the flour, cornflour and salt, mix to form a smooth batter, then set aside.
- Using the electric mixer (clean the whisk first), whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy, then slowly sprinkle in the remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking until the whites hold medium peaks.
- The final meringue wants to be stiff but still flexible; if the mixture becomes over-whisked and dry, it will be hard to fold into the matcha mixture without losing volume.
- Add the meringue to the matcha batter in three additions, gently folding together until streak-free, then pour into the prepared tin, gently levelling. Bake for 12–14 minutes or until the cake is lightly browned and springs back to a light touch.
- Use a round-bladed knife to cut the cake away from the sides of the tin, then immediately invert the cake onto a sheet of parchment paper on a wire rack.
- While the cake is still warm, gently peel off the parchment paper from what is now the top of the cake. Leave to cool completely.
- For the filling, transfer the cream mixture to a large bowl and whisk briefly until holding soft peaks. Spread over the cake, leaving the short edge near you clean, then carefully roll up the cake from this short edge.
- Refrigerate the cake, seam-side down, for a couple of hours before serving. The cake is very soft, so when cutting, it is best to use a serrated knife using a gentle sawing motion.
- This cake is best served on the day it is made.