Alex and I were in full spring cleaning mode this weekend. Cleaning is a task I absolutely hate doing, but it’s something that must be done because I can’t stand living in clutter or mess.
The kitchen pantry has been reorganized. Everything now has a proper place. Ingredients are labeled, dated, and accounted for. The living room has been thoroughly vacuumed, the couch is finally aligned with the rug, and even the dining table is clear of junk.
But the biggest feat in the house is my prop room (aka the guest room/office). Over the years I have accumulated a lot of plates, bowls, and flatware. Let’s not even talk about the stacks of cookbooks, textbooks, and magazines that fill the guest room’s walk-in closet. While cleaning the prop room, I came across a box of photo albums. Upon opening the first album on top, prop room clean-up came to an abrupt stop.
I sat on the couch and looked over all my photos from Japan.
I spent the last semester of my undergrad studying in Tokyo. It was a dream come true. I had been interested in Japanese culture since I was a young child. From sushi and tonkatsu to anime and manga, I had grown up fascinated and captivated by everything produced in Japan. I had visited the country once before as a kid with my family. Although we did all the touristy stuff, I still remember it being everything I had envisioned. So, upon my last year of college, I figured I might as well end my carefree days in my dreamland. I had an amazing, memorable time in Japan. It was half a year filled with happy memories and crazy adventures. It’s just too bad that I have forgotten most of the Japanese I had learned.
I haven’t been back since. It’s not because I don’t want to- but because I’m afraid of ruining the perfect time I had there 7 years ago. I know it’s a terrible way to think…but I’m working on changing such bad habits (among others).
So after finding that photo album, I spent the better half of spring cleaning weekend daydreaming about Japan. The boyfriend and I started scheming up plans of all the places we would visit together in Japan and all the tasty foods we would eat.
One day I will go back with Alex. I’m going to brush up on my Japanese and we’re going to explore the rest of the country that I didn’t get to see. I’ve always wanted to go to Hokkaido, Okinawa, and Hakone. And I really want to go back to Osaka to watch a baseball game. We’re gonna go there and I’ll pack away all the memories from college days and create brand new ones.
Nothing reminds me more about Japan than cherry blossoms. I’ve been seeing cherry blossoms more often during my recent runs. One of my favorite sweet treats from Japan is matcha green tea and cherry blossom ice cream. Sadly, I don’t have cherry blossom on hand, so I substituted strawberry instead. Green tea and strawberry tastes very good together. The slight bitterness of the matcha is complemented by the sweet and fresh flavors of the strawberry.
- Spread cake batter into an even layer on a parchment lined 18×13-inch jelly roll pan. If you have a silpat mat or nonstick silicon baking mat, that would work best. Bake until cake springs back when touched.
- While the cake is still hot, turn cake over onto a clean kitchen towel. Slowly and gently remove parchment (or silicon baking mat) from cake. Don’t worry if your cake layer ends up looking distorted and destroyed. This part of the cake will be covered with the mousse filling.
- Use the kitchen towel to roll the cake into a log. Let the cake rest like this until it has cooled to room temperature.
- Unroll the cake and remove the kitchen towel. Add a generous amount of strawberry mousse filling.
- Use an offset spatula to spread filling to an even layer.
- Use your hands to gently roll the cake back into a log. Place the seam at the bottom of the cake to prevent it from unraveling. Cover log with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for the mousse to set up.
Matcha Green Tea Swiss Roll with strawberry mousse
Matcha Green Tea Cake:
- 1 cup cake flour
- 2 Tbsp matcha powder*
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 2/3 cup strawberry puree
- 1/2 gelatin sheet**, bloomed
- 1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar, depending on sweetness of strawberries
- 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
Matcha Green Tea Cake:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line jelly roll baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat mat. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cake flour, matcha powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, granulated sugar, and milk until pale in color.
- In another clean bowl, whip egg white to medium-stiff peaks.
- Add dry flour mixture to yolk mixture. Fold to combine. Add whipped eggs in three additions. Gently fold to incorporate egg whites.
- Pour batter to prepared baking sheet. Use an offset spatula to spread batter into an even layer. Bake for 8-10 minutes until cake springs back to touch. Remove from oven and run a mini offset spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen cake.
- Invert cake into a clean kitchen towel. Slowly and gently remove parchment (or silpat) from cake.
- Use the kitchen towel to roll cake into a log. Let the cake rest on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
- Once cake is cool, unroll the cake and remove the kitchen towel. Add a generous amount of strawberry mousse filing. Use an offset spatula to spread filling to an even layer.
- Use your hands to gently roll the cake back into a log. Place the seam at the bottom of the cake to prevent it from unraveling. Cover log with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow mousse to set up.
- In a clean bowl, mix together strawberry puree and sugar. Adjust the amount of sugar depending on the sweetness of your strawberries. Take about 1/4 cup of strawberry mixture and place in separate bowl. You will use this for the gelatin.
- Fill a small bowl of ice cold water to bloom gelatin for about 3 minutes. Squeeze out excess water from gelatin. Place soft gelatin sheets into bowl of reserved strawberry mixture. Microwave mixture 10 seconds at a time until gelatin has melted. Pour mixture into the rest of the strawberry puree. Set aside. Allow mixture to sit and come back to room temperature.
- In another bowl, whip chilled heavy cream to medium peaks. Add whipped cream to cooled strawberry mixture in three additions. Gently fold cream into mixture.
** I use silver strength gelatin sheets
adapted from Building Buttercream