This matcha red bean cake consists of three layers of honey matcha cake filled with sweetened red bean paste and lightly coated with matcha buttercream.
I thought I had my fill of matcha while I was in Japan. Apparently, that wasn’t enough. I’ve been making myself a mug of matcha every morning and an iced matcha latte in the afternoon.
My love for matcha is no secret. Just my check my cupboards. It’s overflowing with all sorts of matcha powders, matcha candies, and matcha cookies.
Matcha and red bean is to Japan as peanut butter and jelly is to America. It is a widely popular flavor pairing in Japan, as well as much of Asia.
Sweetened red beans are often used to flavor ice cream, as a filling in bread buns and steamed buns, and stewed to make dessert soup.
Beans in a dessert may seem strange. But, I assure you, matcha and red bean is a delicious and fantastic combination!
Matcha Layer Cake Assembly
- Matcha cake layers
- Matcha buttercream
- Red Bean Filling
CAKE: This recipe makes three 8-inch round cake layers. The matcha cake is sweetened with sugar and honey.
BUTTERCREAM: Flavor simple American buttercream with culinary grade matcha powder.
FILLING: Preparing homemade sweetened red bean is rather time consuming. It’s best to simply buy the canned sweetened azuki (red bean) at Asian supermarkets.
- Place one cake layer on serving plate or cake stand. Spread a thin layer of matcha buttercream over cake.
- Pipe a border of buttercream along the perimeter of cake.
- Spread red bean filling within the buttercream border.
- Repeat with second cake round.
- Top with third cake round. Spread a thin layer of buttercream around the exterior of cake to seal in any crumbs.
- Dust top of cake with a light sprinkling of matcha powder to further enhance matcha flavor.
Matcha Buttercream Notes
Recipe below makes just enough buttercream to lightly frost the exterior of the cake. Make 1.5 times or double batch if you want a heavier frosting job.
Meringue Cookie Cake Decor
Since I had some extra egg whites from another baking project, I made meringue cookies. I used the meringue cookies recipe from Bakers Royale.
They’re the perfect little cake toppers. Plus, it adds a much needed crunch to this otherwise soft dessert.
Storage & Leftovers
Keep leftover cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
Remove meringue cookies before storing in the fridge. Keep meringue in an airtight container at room temperature, away from heat.
Interested in more matcha red bean desserts?
For the ultimate layer cake, try this show stopping matcha red bean mousse cake.
Matcha Red Bean Cake
Honey Matcha Cake:
- 1 cup unsalted butter , room temp
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons matcha powder , culinary grade
- ¼ cup honey
- 4 large eggs , room temp
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup buttermilk , room temp
Red Bean Filling:
- 7.4 oz can (210 g) sweetened prepared red beans (yude azuki)
- 1 cup unsalted butter , room temp
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoon matcha powder , culinary grade
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon whole milk
Honey Matcha Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter. Add sugar and mix until incorporated. Add sifted matcha powder and mix until combined. Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing.
- Add honey. Add eggs one a time, mixing on low speed until incorporated.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with buttermilk. Start and end with flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
- Divide cake batter among the prepared cake pans. Level batter, if necessary. Bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan for 3-5 minutes before unmolding. Allow cakes to cool to room temperature on wire racks.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream butter until smooth. Sift together powdered sugar and matcha powder. Add to bowl in three additions. Mix on low speed after each addition. Add salt and milk. Mix until combined. Adjust consistency according to your personal preference. If buttercream is too thick, add milk 1 Tbsp at a time until desired consistency is achieved. If buttercream is too thin, add ¼ cup sifted powdered sugar (up to ¾ cup). Set aside until ready to use.
- Place sweetened red beans in a small bowl. Coarsely mash some of the red beans with a fork or the back of a spoon. Set aside.
- Level cake rounds, if necessary. Place one cake layer on serving plate or cake stand. Spread a very thin layer of matcha buttercream over cake. Pipe a border of matcha buttercream along the perimeter of cake. Spread half of red bean paste within the buttercream border. Repeat with second cake round. Top with third cake round. Spread thin layer of buttercream around the exterior of cake to seal in any crumbs.
- Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to serve. Allow cake to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving to soften. Before serving, dust the top of cake with sifted matcha powder. If desired, decorate the cake with meringue cookies*.