Marbled Matcha Pound Cake

Sometimes I make mental note of a food-related thing that leads me to buy another food-related thing and then that food-related thing sits around for a very long time until I look at it and remember the original food-related thing that led me to buy it in the first place. That’s the case with the original Tartine cookbook; Samin Nosrat mentioned in a podcast or in an interview (possibly with me?) that the recipes in it are flawless and it’s one of her favorite baking books. That book has sat around forever and I’ve never made anything from it until yesterday when I remembered that I had a glut of poppy seeds (long story) and thought that I’d make the lemon poppyseed cake from it because I’ve had it at the bakery and it’s surprisingly light and citrusy. But then another recipe caught my eye on page 191: a recipe for a marbled matcha pound cake.

I’ve discovered, in my almost mid-forties (I turn 44 next month), that instead of exercise at the gym, I prefer the kind of exercise with a reward at the end. My friend Charlotte told me that she takes exercise walks in New York towards bakeries as the carrot dangling at the end of the fishing line. My version of that is to bake something in the afternoon and the effort expended — from whisking, cracking eggs, doing dishes — counts as the exercise and then the cake is the hard-won reward. (Don’t groan, this makes a lot of sense.)

In terms of a workout, this cake doesn’t offer much. You simply beat butter and sugar together in a mixer, add three eggs and an egg yolk, add sour cream and vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste because I’m fancy), and then flour and baking powder. The trick is to take 1/3rd of the batter out and sift matcha powder into that, creating a green layer which you then lay on top of the beige layer that goes first into your prepped baking pan.

matcha pound cake batter

The book offers no instructions as to swirling, so I relied on the internet and ended up just using a butter knife and gently swishing it around, not wanting to blend the two layers too much. (Some recipes just have you plop the top layer on without any swirling, relying on gravity to do the dirty work of marbling your marble cake.)

The ballsiest thing about the Tartine recipe is that it doesn’t give you a baking time! It says, “Bake until the center of the cake is set and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.” How dare they. I set a timer for 45 minutes and started testing around then; I’d say it took about 55 minutes total.

sliced marble matcha pound cake

By the time this had cooled and I’d taken it out of the pan, it was dinner time and then I was nervous to eat this for dessert because I had a bad experience with a matcha-based dessert once where I ate it and then spent the whole night wide awake from all the caffeine. So, instead, I had this as breakfast this morning and it was a most excellent combination. The pound cake portion is just what you want: buttery, sweet, slightly tangy from the sour cream. And then the matcha adds depth, a hint of bitterness and earthiness. It’s a super winning combo. And way better than spin class.

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Marbled Matcha Pound Cake

A modern twist on an old classic from Tartine: A Classic Revisted by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword baking, cake, matcha, pound cake, Tartine
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour If you're weighing, it's 185 grams
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature That's 200 g
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 200 g
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 120 grams
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract If you have vanilla bean paste, it works really nicely here
  • 1 tablespoon Matcha powder

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan (softened butter works way better here than cooking spray, so don't be lazy! Not only does it help the cake detach better, it adds more flavor).
  • In a small bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and salt on medium speed until combined and lighter in color, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, mixing well after each addition until incorporated before adding the next. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on medium speed, add the sour cream and the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture. Once it's combined, add the remaining flour mixture and mix just until incorporated (I finished this final step with a rubber spatula).
  • Spoon two-thirds of the batter into the prepared pan, reserving one-third in the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, mix the sifted matcha powder into the reserved batter until smooth. Spoon the matcha batter on top of the batter in the pan. Marble the two cake batters together slightly using an offset spatula (I used a butter knife). Don't be too agressive here or you'll create a uniform blob.
  • Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the center of the cake is set and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool completely. Once cool, turn out the cake from the pan and return the cake right side up. Slice and serve.

Notes

If I have one piece of advice, it’s to really wait until your butter and eggs are at room temperature. Mine were still a little cool, so I don’t think the batter whipped up airy enough, and as you can see from the pictures the cake came out a little flat. But it was still delicious. 

6 comments

  1. So happy I love your writing and recipes. Have read your blog from the beginning. Especially loved it when you lived in NY

  2. So glad you’re back (or sort of back?) Either way … I’m over the moon!
    Thia looks good – never bakrd with matcha and this seems a good recipe to start …

  3. So glad you are going back to the blog. Your comment about Deb and David sums up exactly what I was thinking. I started following you before the changes and all the stories and TickTock…. I really don’t like the Tick Tock format and have been avoiding the stories that feel spastic and unnecessarily fast. I also used to like to hear you play the piano and I’m not a music person, I would watch your instagram posts and enjoyed them and told my kids about them and they follow too.

  4. I love your exercise philosophy. Somewhere around 40 I stopped obsessing about my weight, and I’m not sure why, but that seemed to be the best weight management tool of all.

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