Soft and fluffy Matcha Green Tea Cupcakes topped with a white cloud of vanilla whipped cream taste just like a Matcha green tea Frappuccino! These cupcakes are delicate with just enough matcha flavor without being overpowering or bitter.
I remember those hot summer days in college when I would order all these Starbucks Matcha Green Tea Frappuccino. Do they still have that? It was one of my favorite sweet drinks. And these Matcha cupcakes are just like those drinks in cupcake form!
This Matcha cupcakes recipe is one of the very first recipes I’ve developed before I even started this blog. I intended to open up a cupcake shop just like everyone and their grandmas, but that idea never came to fruition. And I’m glad it didn’t, since writing on this blog is way more fun!
What is matcha?
So, what is matcha anyways? If you don’t already know, matcha is green tea leaves ground into a fine powder. But not all green teas are matcha. Matcha is produced from a shade-grown leaf called tencha, that is specifically grown and processed for this purpose.
You can buy matcha at all Japanese grocery stores, as well as pretty much any Asian grocery stores, and even mainstream American supermarkets nowadays. You may find 2 to 3 types of matcha or matcha powder mix at the store:
- Culinary matcha – this is the one we want for cooking and baking.
- Ceremonial matcha – this is more expensive and usually reserved for drinking.
- Matcha latte mix – this is not the one you want because it is usually presweetened and can contain creamer or dry milk. But you don’t need it because making a homemade matcha latte is super easy!
What does matcha taste like?
Good matcha should not be bitter or acidic. Matcha is like freshly cut grass, earthy with a hint of the ocean.
How to make Matcha Cupcakes
Easy matcha green tea cupcake batter
- Add all the wet ingredients – buttermilk, oil, egg, vanilla extract – in a large mixing bowl.
- Using a hand whisk, beat until combined. You can use an electric mixer or a stand mixer, but it is not necessary.
- In another bowl, sift flour, matcha powder, baking soda, and baking powder together. Then stir in sugar and salt until well distributed. Add the flour mixture into the liquid mixture.
- Whisk until a smooth batter forms.
- Use a large cookie scoop to divide the cake batter evenly into 12 lined muffin cups.
- Bake at 350°F until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
What type of frosting is best for matcha cupcakes?
Matcha is such a delicate flavor that you don’t want to overpower it with a too strong or too rich frosting. I opted for a light and fluffy whipped cream to top these cupcakes off and a dusting of matcha powder.
- Beat heavy whipping cream with sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Using a stand mixer or an electric mixer here would be wise, but you can certainly make whipped cream by hand.
- When the cupcakes are completely cool, fill a pastry bag fitted with your favorite piping tip and pipe swirls on top of the cupcakes.
- Finish off with a dusting of matcha powder.
My typical whipped cream recipe doesn’t contain a lot of sugar, but I increased the amount of sugar in this recipe just a little bit to make it sweeter, which pairs well with these cupcakes.
But I prefer buttercream frosting…
Even though whipped cream is my preference for these matcha cupcakes. If you want a richer frosting, I would recommend using a not-too-sweet buttercream and flavor it with matcha powder to amp up the matcha flavor even more.
Try one of these buttercream frosting recipes and add up to 1 tablespoon of matcha powder to it.
Do I need to stabilize the whipped cream to use as frosting?
But if you want to stabilize your whipped cream, you can add ½ – 1 teaspoon of powder gelatin to the whipped cream.
- Bloom the gelatin in a tablespoon of water
- Microwave until the gelatin dissolves completely
- Mix the gelatin mixture into your whipped cream when it is at soft peaks stage
- Continue whipping until stiff peaks form
- You can use either type of matcha powder in this recipe: culinary or ceremonial. However, it is more economical to use culinary matcha powder meant for cooking and baking.
- Make sure your matcha powder is pure tea powder and not a matcha latte mix, which is usually already sweetened and can contain creamer.
- If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, check out how to make homemade buttermilk.
Storing leftover matcha cupcakes
These cupcakes are best within 1 – 2 days, but you can refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
The cupcakes can be made a few days ahead and stored at room temperature for 3 – 5 days without the frosting. They can even be kept frozen for up to 6 months, be sure to wrap them well. Simply thaw them at room temperature and add the frosting when you plan to serve.
Whipped cream is easy to make so I recommend making the whipped cream and topping the cupcakes the day of or just before you plan to serve, especially to save fridge space.
More matcha recipes
- Matcha Madeleines
- Matcha Shortbread Cookies
- White Chocolate Chip Matcha Cookies
- Matcha Green Tea Mochi
- Matcha Donuts
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!
Matcha Green Tea Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup standard size muffin pan with cupcake paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.
- Sift flour, matcha powder, baking soda, baking powder in another bowl, add salt and sugar and whisk until evenly distributed. Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredient mixture and stir until a smooth batter forms.
- Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups using a large cookie scoop and bake for 17 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 - 15 minutes until cool to the touch before removing them from the pan and setting them on a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the whipped cream, beat together heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract and sugar until stiff peaks form.
- Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with your favorite tip and pipe a swirl on top of the cupcakes. Dust some matcha powder on top. Keep refrigerated.
- Use culinary matcha powder for baking, make sure your matcha powder is pure tea powder and not a matcha powder mix used to make matcha latte.
- The whipped cream will last as long as the cupcakes without any stabilizing agent, but make sure you beat until stiff peaks.
- You can stabilize the whipped cream using ½ - 1 teaspoon of gelatin powder, bloom it in a tablespoon of water, microwave until completely dissolved, and mix this in with the whipped cream while it is at soft peak stage and continue beating until stiff peaks.
This post was originally published on 5/1/2017. The recipe has been updated and republished on 8/13/2020 with the latest improvements, extra tips, process photos and a video to help you in the kitchen.