Matcha pound cake is moist, soft, and flavorful. It’s an excellent everyday cake that can easily be elevated for special occasions!
Long time fans of matcha as well as those new to green tea will enjoy the creamy and complex flavors of this matcha marble pound cake.
Serve it with coffee or tea, or better yet, an iced honey matcha soy latte!
Dress up the matcha pound cake slices with whipped cream (or vanilla ice cream!) and some sliced strawberries or mango. Sweet strawberry and mango pair wonderfully with the earthy matcha notes.
Matcha Marble Pound Cake
Pound cake is a quick and easy dessert to make. It’s a great recipe for beginners. The batter is simply mixed together using the creaming method.
This pound cake batter may be mixed together using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. I don’t recommend mixing this batter by hand.
Pound cake batter is a great vehicle for layering and incorporating flavors. It may be infused with extracts, ground spices, teas, and powders.
This version incorporates matcha powder to create a visually stunning and palate pleasing Japanese spin on classic pound cake!
Cake Ingredients and Substitutions
Classic pound cake is made with a 1:1:1:1 ratio. That means one part of each: butter, sugar, flour, and eggs.
This matcha marble pound cake slightly varies from that ratio. Instead of all butter, this recipe uses a mixture of butter and sour cream for fat.
A combination of all-purpose flour and cake flour is used to create a tender cake with a soft crumb.
Different brands of all-purpose flour have varying protein contents. AP flour protein content ranges from 10-12%.
- King Arthur Flour = 11.7% protein
- Gold Medal = 10.5%
- Pillsbury = 10-11%
Whereas, cake flour’s protein content varies from 7-9%. Less protein means less gluten development. As a result, cake flour produces an airy, lighter textured product.
Combining 3 parts AP flour with 1 part cake flour creates a tender cake with a soft crumb. It’s the perfect delicate texture for this matcha pound cake.
While you can certainly make your own cake flour my mixing together all-purpose flour and cornstarch- I don’t recommend it for this recipe.
If you don’t have cake flour, simply use all-purpose flour.
What is matcha?
Matcha is Japanese green tea leaves ground into a fine powder. Traditionally, the powder is whisked with hot water to a make tea.
Unfortunately, the global popularity of matcha has also opened the market to all sorts of lower quality matcha powder.
Not all matcha is created equal. Matcha powder comes in a wide range of quality, color, and taste.
Generally, the more expensive the matcha powder, the brighter and more vibrant the green color. As you can see in the image above, matcha powder ranges from muted brownish-green (top) to bright green (bottom).
What makes matcha different from other teas?
To make matcha tea, fine matcha powder is whisked and dissolved in hot water. When you drink matcha tea, you are actually consuming the tea leaves.
This differs from all other tea leaves which are steeped in hot water, then strained and discarded.
How to incorporated matcha powder into cake batter?
Matcha powder requires hot liquid in order to dissolve into a smooth mixture.
In this recipe, the matcha powder is whisked with hot milk.
If you try to blend straight matcha powder into batter, you will end up with an uneven green batter speckled with bits of matcha powder that didn’t dissolve.
How to achieve the swirled marble effect
- Divide batter into two bowls. Add dissolved matcha mixture into one bowl. Fold to combine until thoroughly combined.
- Alternate adding dollops of vanilla batter and matcha batter into prepared baking pan. Use a large spoon or a cookie scoop (ice cream scoop) to easily add batter to pan.
- If desired, use a mini offset spatula or knife to gently swirl together the two cake batters
- Use a mini offset spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth the top of the batter into an even layer.
Recommended baking pans
This recipe works best in a 9×5-inch metal loaf pan.
It will also work in an 8×4-inch or 8.5×4.5-inch loaf pan.
To bake in a 10-cup bundt pan or tube pan, double the recipe. Generously butter pan and dust with flour. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 60-70 minutes.
A note on Matcha Powder
There are dozens and dozens of matcha powder now available online. However, it is important to remember that not all matcha powders are created equal.
Some matcha are more green than others. Some taste more grassy, while some are rather bland and flavorless.
I recommend using bright green colored, high quality matcha. Pricing and labeling will vary.
Regardless of whether the matcha powder is labeled as ceremonial, barista, or culinary grade, pay attention to the color! The color is a huge indicator of its quality.
Make sure to use PURE 100% matcha powder. Do not sure matcha powder mixed with sugar or cut with milk powder.
How to get clean slices? Use a serrated knife!
There are two important factors to consider: cake temperature and type of knife.
Cool cake to room temperature before slicing. The cake needs time to cool and regain its strength and structure.
Use a serrated knife and slice the cake in a gentle sawing motion. A serrated knife will produce nice, clean slices.
This small serrated knife is great for slicing pound cake, banana bread, and tomatoes.
How to store cake and leftovers:
Unmold loaf from cake pan. Cool cake to room temperature on wire rack. Once cool, use a serrated knife to slice cake into serving portions.
Keep whole cake or cake slices in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. Alternatively, keep tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature.
For longer storage, keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before eating.
Matcha Pound Cake
- 2 Tbsp matcha powder* (10 g)
- ¼ cup milk, warmed to 110°
- ½ cup unsalted butter (113 g) softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 g)
- 3 large eggs, room temp
- 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour (195 g)
- ½ cup cake flour (60 g)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup sour cream (180 g) room temp
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, along paper overhang to extend along the two long sides. Generously grease lined pan with butter. Set aside.
- Sift matcha powder into a medium bowl. Pour in hot milk. Whisk until mixture is smooth and matcha powder has dissolved. Set aside and allow to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using an electric hand mixer), cream butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth and pale, about 3 minutes.
- Mixing on low speed, add eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated. Add vanilla. Scrape down sides of the bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing.
- In a large bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, cake flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. On low speed, add dry mixture to wet batter in three additions, alternating with the sour cream. Mix just until there are no longer any dry streaks of flour.
- Divide batter in half. Add dissolved matcha to one bowl. Fold until matcha has been throughly incorporated into batter.
- Alternate adding dollops of vanilla batter and matcha batter into the prepared loaf pan. When finished, use a mini offset spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth the top of the batter into an even layer.
- Bake for about 45-55 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Unmold loaf and continue to cool to room temperature on wire rack. Slice room temperature cake with a serrated knife.
- Matcha powder comes in a wide range of quality, color, and taste. For best results, use bright green matcha powder.
- Make sure to use 100% matcha powder. DO NOT use matcha powder mix which contains sugar or milk powder.
- Any milk will do: whole milk, low-fat milk, almond milk, soy milk, etc.
- Mixture of all-purpose flour and cake flour creates a tender cake with a soft crumb. If you don’t have cake flour, simply sub in more all-purpose flour.
- Make sure to use room temperature, softened butter. This will allow for easier mixing and creaming with the sugar.
- Be careful not to overmix batter. This will toughen the texture.
- Can be baked in an 8×4-inch pan or 8.5×4.5 inch pan.
- Double the recipe to use a 10-cup bundt cake pan or tube pan. Butter and flour cake pan. Decrease oven temperature to 325°F and bake for 60-70 minutes until cake springs back to the touch and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Alternatively, keep tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature.
- For longer storage, keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before eating.