So I know I’ll probably get smote down from Santa for saying this, but I just don’t have the mad love for Christmas flavours everyone else seems to have. Gingerbread is meh, I don’t get peppermint hot chocolate (I prefer a simple Italian-style one, and mincemeat is a total head-scratcher for me—seriously, WTF is up with the name? The list could go on, but I don’t wanna be a full blown Grinch.
Just a little one.
A sparkly one. Stuck inside the exact opposite of taste sensations you’d expect from Yuletide.
Enter Black Sesame Banana Cupcakes with Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting. Now, my friends, we are talking.
Black sesame and matcha is not an uncommon combo in Japanese treats. The subtle sesame nuttiness and grassy vibes of matcha are flavour soulmates. And black sesame paste, specifically, makes a ridiculously moist crumb, so a black sesame cupcake loaded with matcha frosting is pure poetry in your cakehole (btw, I dunno how I feel about the term ‘cakehole’, but really, that’s the primary purpose, right??).
The cupcake recipe—adapted from this hella gorgeous Ful-Filled loaf one is basically a banana bread, and is super simple. The only key points is that you keep your cupcakes chilled (they taste incredible like this), and that you don’t skimp on the frosting—I suggest a 1:1 frosting to cake ratio for maximum tastebud pleasure.
How Do I Find the ‘Right’ Matcha Powder?
Typically, a good quality matcha powder has a sweet, vegetal taste, is silky to the touch, and has a bright, almost jade-green colour. Lesser quality matcha will be bitter, coarse, and have a yellow/ brown hue to it.
The good news is that even if you’ve already bought a lower grade matcha powder, it’s still fine to use in baking—but for a tea, you definitely need to level up!Print
A ridiculously moist cupcake made using honeyed black sesame paste, dressed in silky Matcha cream cheese frosting. 💚🖤
For the cupcakes—
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
- 1/3 cup toasted black sesame seeds
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups spotty bananas (4–5 bananas)
- 1/2 cup rapeseed / olive oil
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp toasted black sesame seeds, divided
For the matcha frosting—
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1 cup cream cheese (or soft white cheese)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tsp Matcha powder
- 1 cup icing/ confectioners sugar, sifted
- Stir the 1tsp lemon juice or vinegar into the milk and set aside.
- Next, blitz toasted black sesame seeds in a food processor until mostly finely ground into powder.
- Add honey and blitz again until a paste forms.
- Pre-heat oven to 350F/ 180C/ Gas Mark 4.
- In a bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda & salt together.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs & sugar together until light. Pour into food processor with sesame paste and blitz until thoroughly combined.
- Next, add bananas, oil, milk & vanilla. Blitz again until well mixed.
- Remove mixture from food processor, transferring into a large bowl. Add dry ingredients in three additions, mixing in between additions—do not overmix, though!
- Sprinkle in 2tbsp of sesame seeds and mix just enough to combine.
- Fill cupcake cases 2/3 of the way, topping each with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes (and until skewer poked through comes out clean).
- For the frosting, cream the butter (I use my food processor again, but a stand or hand-held mixer works well, too). Add cream cheese and blitz until smooth. Sift over matcha powder and pulse until colour is uniform. Finally, add icing sugar in three additions, blitzing until silky. Wait until cupcakes have cooled completely, then generously swirl over the frosting. Chocolate drizzling totally optional!