Soft and pillowy matcha sponge cake with a cotton-soft texture that melts in your mouth
After posting my original souffle castella sponge cake, and chocolate rendition I thought it would only be right to post a matcha version of this soft and fluffy sponge cake.
The grassy bitterness of the matcha goes perfectly with the fluffy sponge to create a light green tea flavoured dessert. Enjoy it fresh out of the oven for a warm cloud-like experience, or enjoy it chilled with a dollop of whipped cream for a denser, more flavourful cake. Both are absolutely delicious, so it's up to you!
Tips for the perfect sponge
I've written copious amounts of tips on the original souffle cake recipe and chocolate cake recipe to create the perfect jiggly cake with a smooth crack-free surface. Most of the tips below are a repeat of those tips, but keep reading if you're new here!
Sift the matcha powder and flour
Matcha powder tends to absorb its surrounding moisture and become clumpy as it is stored. Make sure you sift the matcha powder and flour into your bowl to prevent large clumps of matcha powder forming in your batter. These clumps with appear in your final cake, and can potentially cause your cake to crack.
Heat the milk and butter until just melted
Heating the milk and butter is one of the tricks to achieving a cotton soft sponge cake. This technique is called the 'cooked dough' method, and essentially breaks down the proteins in the flour so that less gluten is formed, creating a soft sponge.
However, when heating the milk and butter keep a close eye on it so it doesn't overheat. If the milk and butter is too hot it can overcook the dough, causing it to form a sticky paste. The butter should have just melted and the milk should be just steaming.
Use chilled eggs
Chilled eggs whip up to create a firmer, more stable meringue. The meringue forms the base of this cake, helping it rise while giving it it's fluffy texture, so it is essential to have a strong foundation. You can also add a pinch of cream of tartar to your egg whites once foamy to help strengthen the meringue.
Whip the egg whites to soft peaks
One of the most important tips to creating a crack free sponge cake is only whipping the egg whites to soft peaks. If the meringue is whipped to stiff peaks it can cause the cake to rise rapidly while baking, increasing the possibility of the top splitting.
Add the sugar when the egg whites are just foamy, and whip until a dense meringue
While the egg whites should be whipped to soft peaks it is important to ensure that the soft peaks are dense and stable. The best way to create a stable meringue is to add the sugar as soon as the egg whites are foamy and beat the egg whites on medium-low for a longer period of time. This gives time for the sugar to dissolve, and the proteins in the egg whites to form a stronger network. When you look at the meringue the air bubbles should be fine and the surface should be shiny.
Bake the cake in a hot water bath
Baking the cake in a hot water bath helps to even out the oven temperature and create the perfect moist environment for the cake to bake. It is important to even out the oven temperature, as fluctuations in heat can cause the sponge cake to crack. Extra moisture also prevents the surface of the cake from drying out and becoming more susceptible to splitting.
Make sure the water you use in the hot water bath is hot, but not boiling. Boiling water evaporates quicker and could leave your cake dry halfway through the baking process.
There are a couple of reasons why your cake might crack. The biggest offender is an unstable meringue. The meringue is the structure behind the cake, and without it, the cake won't rise or have that souffle-like texture. There are a couple of tips that will help you achieve that strong meringue:
- Use a clean bowl: A clean bowl wiped down with vinegar or lemon juice will ensure that your egg whites whip up well
- Use chilled eggs: Chilled eggs whip up a lot easier than room-temperature eggs
- Add the sugar as soon as the egg whites are foamy: Add your egg whites earlier in the meringue whipping process, this gives the sugar more time to dissolve into the meringue and form a dense network with the egg white proteins
- Beat on medium-low: Beating on medium-low is one of the most important tips to a strong meringue. If you beat the meringue on a high speed you will form large air bubbles, rather small bubbles to form a fine network. While this will take longer you will have a much stronger meringue
While the meringue has to be strong it is also important that you don't beat it to stiff peaks. Stiff peaks rise rapidly in the oven, causing cracks to form. Beating the egg whites to something in between soft and medium peaks is perfect.
Cake didn't rise
The meringue is also the reason why your cake may not have risen. If you haven't whipped up a stable meringue, or it hasn't been whipped enough your cake may not rise as much during the bake. Follow the same tips as above to create a cake that rises up to a perfect souffle texture.
This cake will deflate a little as it cools, however, it shouldn't deflate excessively. There are a couple of reasons why your cake may have deflated.
- The meringue wasn't stable: If the meringue isn't stable it won't be able to support the cake out of the oven
- The meringue was overwhipped: If the meringue is overwhipped it will rise a lot in the oven, but deflate once it comes out
- The cake was underbaked: The cake needs time to set its structure as it bakes. If taken out too early it isn't strong enough to support itself and will deflate
A tip to prevent your cake from sinking excessively is giving it a sharp tap on your counter top right out of the oven. This releases any trapped air that would cause the cake to deflate as it cools. Make sure you don't tap too hard that the cake collapses though!
Let's Get Baking
If you're up for baking and eating a fluffy matcha cloud this is the recipe for you!
If you liked this recipe make sure to leave me a comment and rating down below, I would love to know how you went.
Also, don't forget to tag me on Instagram @catherine.desserts and hashtag #cattycakes so I can see and share your desserts. Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, and TikTok for more of my baking creations and updates! Until next time... happy caking!Print
Matcha Cotton Soft Sponge Cake
Soft and pillowy matcha sponge cake with a cotton-soft texture that melts in your mouth
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 75 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 8 x 8 inch cake 1x
- Category: Cake
- Method: Easy
- Cuisine: Asian Fusion
- 130g Whole milk (½ cup 2 tsp)
- 130g Unsalted butter (½ cup 2 tsp)
- 105g All-purpose flour (¾ cup 2 tbsp)
- 15g Matcha powder (2 tbsp)
- 8 Egg yolks
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 8 Egg whites
- 130g White sugar (⅔ cup)
- Preheat the oven to 140C /285F
- Line an 8 x 8 inch / 20 x 20cm square cake tin with baking paper
- Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and heat until the butter has melted and the milk is just steaming
- Sift the flour and matcha powder into a large bowl and pour over the hot milk and butter, mix until combined
- Add the egg yolks and mix until smooth and well combined
- In a large bowl add the egg whites and whisk until foamy
- Add the sugar and beat on medium-low until the meringue reaches soft to medium peaks
- Add ⅓ of the meringue to the yolk mixture and mix until well combined
- Add the lightened yolk mixture to the remaining meringue and gently use a whisk to fold the mixture until just combined
- Transfer the batter to the lined tin and place it in a larger baking tray filled with hot, but not boiling, water
- Bake for 75 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched
- Remove from the oven and enjoy warm!
Keywords: matcha sponge, chiffon cake, castella cake, green tea
Hi, any suggestions in how to adapt this recipe for gluten free? What GF flour (brand or blend) will you recommend for this recipe?
I haven't tried making this gluten-free before, but most gluten-free flour blends should work. Give it a try and see how it goes 😊
Hi dear... Thank you so much for the recipe ❤ I'm gonna bake it for my girl's birthday....may I know the size of the pan you use? Thanks before ❤
It's a 8 x 8 inch cake tin 🥳
This recipe is super delicious! I appreciate having all the tips and tricks to a successful soufflé cake listed beforehand. The single thing I did differently was wait until after I whipped up the meringue to mix the egg yolks into the batter (i was worried my batter was too hot and could cook the yolks!). Then I added the meringue as directed after that!
Delicious, pillowy, and a total hit!
Hi Katie, So glad you loved the tips!
Thank you for the recipe and scientific explanations! I followed all the steps and used the exact quantities you gave, but my cake never ended up baked. It was still wet after the cooking time, and even after increasing the temperature for some more. What could have gone wrong? Thank you.
Hi Diana, if the cake is very wet it might be because there was too much water in the water bath. Try reducing the amount of water and checking the temperature of your oven. If your oven tends to run at a lower temperature then increase it a little too 😊
Hey Catherine! Just curious if I replace matcha powder with earl grey tea does it work? Do I need to steep the tea first or can I just add finely ground tea leaves into the batter? Also, I don’t have an 8x8 square pan but I do have an 8” round pan. Do I need to change the bake time? Thank you!
hi Clarissa, I would finely grind the tea leaves and used that instead of matcha powder. Keep in mind that this can potentially change the texture of your cake and cause small cracks. If you are using an 8 inch round pan you will need to halve the recipe ❤️
Hi, can i use a low-fat milk instead of whole milk?
Yes you can 🙂
Hi, I'm in love with this cake. Thank you! I have a question. Would the baked cake freeze well?