This time-tested Matcha Pound Cake is a lightened up pound cake, yet it still retains all that delicious, buttery flavour. Matcha green tea adds an earthy flavour and compliments the cake's light sweetness. Make it once and you'll know why it's our go-to pound cake recipe!
This post first appeared on Sift & Simmer in November 2018. Updated Jan 2021.
I absolutely love it when my Mom comes to visit, because we conjure up the best things to make and bake.
So when she was here for a visit last month, I thought of her pound cake that she used to make when I was a kid.
I normally don't crave pound cake, but for some reason, I kept thinking of it and how I wanted to make a matcha version.
I remembered that my Mom's version was lighter, yet still had that buttery flavour.
Curious, I sought her advice as to how to create a cake that wasn't too dense or oily, and still retained that flavour from the butter.
What is a pound cake?
A pound cake is traditionally made with: 1 pound butter, 1 pound flour, 1 pound eggs, 1 pound sugar.
It's the reason why I don't typically make or eat pound cake, because of all that sugar and fat!
Pound cake is usually baked in a loaf pan and sometimes has a sweet glaze or icing on top.
There are many variations of pound cake, which can include different flavourings or additions of ingredients such as dried fruit or sour cream.
What is matcha?
Matcha is a fine Japanese green tea that comes in powder form.
It is earthy in flavour and I use it in a lot of my baking.
I say this over and over again, but it is important to use a high-quality matcha powder.
A high-quality matcha powder will be deep green in colour (not yellow-brown) and will help with retaining a vibrant colour while baking. It will smell pleasantly grassy with no bitter taste.
Texture of the cake
This lightened up Matcha Pound Cake has tight and even crumb that isn't too heavy and dense.
The cake is perfectly moist and doesn't leave your hands greasy.
It is the perfect loaf cake with that signature crack on the top.
Why is there a crack on the top of the cake?
This is normal.
Because pound cakes are typically dense, the exterior begins to cook first and the heat causes the interior to expand and push out, resulting in a crack.
Ingredients you'll need
You'll need the following ingredients for making the Most Delicious Matcha Pound Cake:
- whole eggs: the egg whites and egg yolks will be separated and beaten at different steps; it's best to separate the eggs after taking them out from the fridge, but leave them to warm to room temperature before proceeding.
- cream of tartar: helps to stabilize the beaten egg whites (or you can use a little lemon juice in place of cream of tartar)
- granulated sugar: adds sweetness and stability to the egg white meringue mixture
- salted butter: I like the flavour from using salted butter, but you can use unsalted if that's what you have on hand. Be sure to add a good pinch of salt if you use unsalted butter.
- whole milk: (or any type of milk you like)
- vanilla extract: use pure vanilla extract for the best flavour
- flour: all-purpose flour will work fine in this recipe; if you have cake flour, you can use that instead and omit the cornstarch.
- cornstarch: if you use all-purpose flour, add cornstarch and it will help produce a tender cake
- matcha: sifted, use a high quality matcha powder which will retain its green colour while baking
- baking powder: adds a little lift to the cake
How to make it
The trick to making this lightened up matcha pound cake lies in beating the egg whites separately from the egg yolks.
Tip: Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites while the eggs are still cold.
Room temperature egg whites whip up with more volume than cold egg whites. This is why it's best to keep the egg whites at room temperature.
Whip the egg whites
Whip the egg whites (using a whisk attachment) in a clean stand mixer bowl until foamy.
Add in cream of tartar and gradually add in ¼ C of the granulated sugar and keep whipping until stiff peaks form. [Stiff peaks is when the egg whites reach a consistency where when you pull out the whisk, the peak remains straight].
Transfer the whipped egg whites to a clean bowl and set aside.
Cream the butter & sugar
Using the same mixing bowl, change to a paddle attachment and cream the butter and remaining sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes on high speed.
Next, add in the egg yolks one by one, and then slowly pour in milk and vanilla extract. A little curdling is fine.
Note: It's important to keep the butter, egg yolks and milk at the same temperature (room temperature) so everything emulsifies together.
Alternate folding in the dry and wet ingredients
Remove the mixing bowl and sift in the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, matcha, baking powder) alternating with the egg whites in ⅓rd portions.
Fold in both the egg whites and dry ingredients until the batter is combined, but be careful not to deflate the mixture.
Transfer the mixture to a prepared loaf tin and bake at 350F for 60-65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, or with the slightest crumbs clinging to it.
Tips & tricks
Separate the egg whites from egg yolks straight from the fridge while cold -- it is harder to do this when the eggs have warmed up.
Ensure that your mixer bowl is free from grease by giving it a quick wipe with lemon juice or vinegar before adding in the egg whites.
It's imperative that the ingredients (especially the butter, egg yolks, and milk) are kept at room temperature so that they can be emulsified together smoothly.
Be careful not to overmix the cake batter, which will deflate the cake.
Tapping the cake pan before baking will release any trapped air bubbles, which will result in a uniformly textured cake.
My butter/sugar/egg yolk mixture curdled! What do I do?
Don't panic. This just means that your ingredients are at different temperatures. It's totally fine.
Solution: if the mixer bowl feels cold, remove it and heat the bottom with a blow dryer until it feels warm. The butter may melt, but this is OK. Return to the mixer and beat until the mixture emulsifies and smooths out a bit.
For next time: beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, and then add in one egg yolk at a time. Make sure the egg is fully incorporated before adding the next egg.
Can I glaze the pound cake?
Sure, you can glaze the pound cake for a more decadent feel.
I prefer it without since the cake itself is sure perfection!
How to serve
Serve the Matcha Pound Cake in slices at room temperature.
Add a dollop of whipped cream and fruit and turn it into a fantastic dessert.
Or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for pure indulgence! Yum!
How to store
Store the Matcha Pound Cake in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.
Pound cake freezes beautifully. You can slice the pound cake and wrap them individually.
Store the individually-wrapped cake slices in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months in the freezer.
Other recipes you may like
If you're looking for more delicious matcha recipes, you might like these:
My Dad and my son both polished off their slices when I laid them out on the table. Seriously, this cake is SOOOO incredibly good.
Moist, tender, and ultimately delicious, my Mom's recipe for Matcha Pound Cake will become your go-to recipe. It's great for an afternoon tea, or something more festive.
Try this recipe for Matcha Pound Cake and let me know what you think! Tag me @siftandsimmer on Instagram or leave me a comment/rating below.
Most Delicious Matcha Pound Cake
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 4 egg whites room temp
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar or use a bit of lemon juice / vinegar
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 140 g salted butter room temp
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 4 egg yolks room temp
- 45 ml whole milk room temp
- 4 ml vanilla extract
- 155 g all-purpose flour
- 20 g cornstarch
- 9 g matcha sifted
- 3 g baking powder
- Separate the egg yolks and egg whites into 2 different bowls.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C. Line a 8" by 4" loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a clean stand mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, add the egg whites and whip until foamy. Add in the cream of tartar and keep beating until lots of bubbles form.
- Gradually add in the ¼ C of granulated sugar and whip until stiff peaks. (Peak will be straight when whisk is lifted).
- Remove the whipped egg whites and transfer to a large clean bowl. Set aside.
- Using the same mixer bowl, change to a paddle attachment and add in the butter and sugar.
- Cream until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on high speed.
- Gradually add in the egg yolks one by one, and then slowly add the milk and vanilla extract. Beat until combined. (A little curdling is fine).
- Remove the mixer bowl and sift about ⅓rd of the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, matcha, and baking powder) over the egg yolk batter.
- With a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the mixture and alternate with ⅓rd of the whipped egg whites, repeating until everything is combined together and there are no white streaks left, but making sure not to overmix as to deflate the batter.
- Transfer the cake batter to the lined loaf pan. Carefully drop the pan from a height of about 1 foot a few times to release any trapped air bubbles.
- Bake at 350°F/177°C for 60-65 mins, until golden brown on top, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, or with the slightest crumbs clinging to it.
- Let cool completely before slicing.
- Cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Sliced cake can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 2 months. Just remove from the freezer about 15-20 minutes and leave at room temperature before serving.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.