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?
Try these matcha cupcakes topped with azuki buttercream. These matcha red bean s’mores are a great twist on the classic American campfire treat!
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*.
- I used this culinary grade matcha powder and this canned red bean product
- I used Bakers Royale’s merginue cookie recipe
- Honey Cake recipe adapted from The Cake Blog
- This is the cake stand I used.
Reader Questions and Reviews
i love this combo! i haven’t made many desserts with matcha and azuki beans, but i really need to (and then i can get everyone who eats my desserts into those flavors too! hehe).
Yesss! :) Thanks Heather!
This cake is screaming my name Maryanne! Do you still have something left? ;-) I love matcha and I love red bean, and together I love it even more. Thanks for sharing this recipe!
AHHH! I didn’t know you like matcha and red bean! Next time… I’ll bring you some :)
AHH this may have just been the best recipe I’ve seen all week. Totally hits the spot!! If I could, I’d want this for my birthday cake because I just love love love matcha. Beautiful job on this Maryanne :)
Thanks so much Joleen! :) Matcha is the BEST!
Love, love matcha and azuki beans combo in any form. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Definitely! Matcha and azuki are a perfect pair! Thanks for stopping by :)
Hey dear, would like to ask if I do not have 3 different cake pans, can I just bake the mixture in one 8-inch cake pan and later split them in three?
Baking all the cake in one cake pan will change the baking time. You would need an 8-inch cake pan that is over 3-inches deep. If you don’t have three 8-inch cake pans, I would suggest baking it in two-9 inch pans or one- 10 inch pan. I hope that helps.
Hi can i use 6in cake pans ?
Yes, you can bake it in three 6-inch cake pans. Bake for about 28-30 minutes.
I would like to ask if you have this recipe converted to grams?
May I know if 1 cup of unsalted butter means 8oz of butter?
One cup of butter is equal to 8 oz of butter
Can you make these as cupcakes and fill the red beans inside and frost with matcha on top?
I haven’t make this into cupcakes, but I’m sure it would work!
I was wondering if all the buttercream will be used on the cake or will there be a lot of extra buttercream since you are not covering the entire cake?
Most of the buttercream is used to pipe the borders that hold the red bean filling. You will not have a lot of extra buttercream leftover.
Hi! I was planning to make this recipe for my sister’s birthday and I was wondering if I can make the cake itself more fluffy and light in any way. Also if I could substitute the buttercream with whipped cream frosting like the Japanese short cake uses.
I’m very new to making Meringue but I would love to try it. If there any tips that would help me succeed. Thanks as always!
If you want a fluffier cake, you can use cake flour. Plus, separate the eggs. Whip the egg whites and fold them into the batter.
Whipped cream frosting will not work for this recipe because the cake needs a stronger frosting.
Hi there! I’m making this for Christmas and wondering if I can make the cake layers ahead of time and freeze them? Also, I saw that you suggested cake flour + egg whites for a lighter cakes — how much should I whip the egg whites? Thank you!