matcha cake with black sesame buttercream

greetings from the alps!! today we left salzburg and arrived in the tiny town of mittersill, austria, which is surrounded by the biggest and handsomest mountains i ever did see. we are so full on cake and knödel and rye bread and i have forgotten what vegetables taste like. we are having the most wonderful time! 

i believe there is a sauna at our hotel so we're off to do some research on that! but more on our honeymoon soon :) 

for now, cake!

may we all give a round of applause to the power couple that is matcha and black sesame? they go so swimmingly well together in sweet green tea and nutty sesame glory, and they even look good together, in that dark but whimsical way. to the designer that creates a matcha and black sesame inspired dress, can i be your friend?

let's take a look at some of matcha and black sesame's recent appearances:

buttermilk matcha rolls with black sesame filling aka the star of my next brunch party!

black sesame vertical cake roll with matcha mochi completely mind blowing.

matcha + black sesame mousse cake it almost looks too perfect to eat.

black sesame cake with matcha frosting as if these mini cakes just swapped their outfits.

matcha panna cotta with sesame brittle such daintiness!

matcha cake with black sesame frosting and brittle beautiful!!! 

sesame nougat with matcha chocolate and black sesame yes.

do you see what i mean? look out, blake lively and ryan reynolds. 

here we have mini cakes and medium cakes. the mini cakes were made in their typical mini cake way, with 2 1/2-inch circles stacked with a blob of frosting piped in the middle. and the medium cakes were made using a newer-to-me technique that's based on momofuku milk bar's cake decorating technique, with of course further inspiration from graham and his cake to end all cakes. with this technique, you are supposed to use a cake ring and some acetate to create sort of a tube that you fill with layers of cake and frosting before freezing and then removing from the ring. (specific steps are here.) but i spent about 20 minutes too many searching for the perfect cake ring online before deciding to just make my own by way of a 28-ounce tomato can. so i removed both ends of the can, (made tomato soup), and then used the can to cut out a few cake circles. instead of using acetate i lined the inside of the can with parchment, and then set it on a plate before pressing some cake down into it and piping in some frosting between the layers. i froze my can of cake for a few hours before removing the can and the parchment. it was so much fun! i highly recommend it.

of course, if you'd like a magnum sized cake, this recipe will also work to make one 2-layer 8-inch cake. 

matcha cake with black sesame buttercream

makes one 2-layer 8-inch cake, three to four 4-inch cakes, or about twelve 2 1/2-inch cakes



1 3/4 c sugar

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

2 tb aiya cooking grade matcha 

1 1/2 tsp each: baking soda, baking powder, kosher salt

2 large eggs

1 c buttermilk

1/2 c flavorless oil, like canola

1 1/2 tb vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

3/4 c boiling water


2 c unsalted butter, softened

4 2/3 c powdered sugar

6 tb toasted black sesame seeds, finely ground in a spice grinder

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

a pinch of kosher salt



preheat oven to 350.

for an 8-inch cake, grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment. for medium or mini cakes, grease a half sheet pan (18" x 13") and line the bottom with parchment.

in a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. in a medium bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients except for the boiling water. whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and then stir in the boiling water. it will be a very thin batter. pour into cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes for a sheet pan and 28 minutes for round cakes.

if you're making a round cake, let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then turn the cakes onto a lightly greased cooling rack. make your frosting (below) and decorate as desired.

if you're making medium or mini cakes, it is easiest to let the large sheet cake cool fully in the pan. once it's cool, wrap it in plastic wrap and then freeze it for a few hours or overnight, until firm. cut out your circles and then decorate as desired.


use an electric mixer to beat all ingredients together until smooth. 



this post is sponsored by aiya matcha! all opinions are my own.

chinese hotdish

a few months ago, i was flipping through a few of eggmum's old church cookbooks when i found my stripper name in the casserole chapter of the 1984 our savior's lutheran book: chinese hotdish. it was nestled between beef pie and oriental hotdish, and i took it as a sign for my true calling. not to be a stripper, but to finally become a true woman of the north by making a hotdish. 

ok, what is a hotdish.

if you're not from the northern midwest, you probably know it as a casserole. from what i understand, all hotdishes can be considered casseroles, but not all casseroles are hotdishes because a true hotdish has three main components--meat, vegetables, and creamed soup--which are dumped into a casserole dish, and then, in the words of sam sifton, you cover the bitch in tater tots and bake it. some hotdishes use wild rice or mashed potatoes or another type of grain or starch instead of tater tots, although covering the bitch in tater tots is really fun to say.

so, like, technically you can make a mac and cheese casserole, but without meat and a vegetable, it wouldn't totally be a hotdish. 

all of this is obviously up for debate and i am in no way an authority, i'm just going by church cookbook research, wikipedia, and the delicious hotdishes that eggmama makes. (and whether it's hot dish or hotdish is still something i do not know.)

hotdishes are as comforting as a new fleece blanket on a cold winter day and they make excellent leftovers. here are some examples of things that you can put into a casserole dish in order to make a hotdish:

hamburger meat + peas + cream of mushroom soup + tater tots

pulled chicken + wild rice + celery + cream of chicken soup

chopped spam + macaroni noodles + cream of mushroom soup + velveeta cheese + onions

i have never tried that spam one, but if you were to place the other ones on an x/y chart where x = how much it looks like barf, and y = how delicious it is, they would be maxed out on both accounts. that's the charm of a hotdish. 

for my first hotdish, i've made a variation on the chinese hotdish in the our savior's lutheran book. as much as i loved the sort of imaginary camaraderie of standing in the creamed soup section, piling cans upon cans into my basket, and then coming home and placing them on the shelf marked with a handwritten label for "cream of mush" that egggrandma must have made decades ago, i couldn't actually bring myself to use it without first trying some less processed options.

i know, coconut milk isn't technically a creamed soup, but it is creamy, and slightly sweet, and the results even got the eggboy seal of approvali used brown rice to up the healthy ante, and scallions to add flavor and greenery. a little ginger here and some ground pork or chicken there, and this guy might even be ready for the annual hotdish competition.

chinese hotdish

makes 3-4 servings


1 pound ground chicken or pork

2 tb soy sauce

1 tsp chopped fresh ginger or 1/4 tsp ground ginger

black pepper

3/4 c brown rice (short or medium grain)

1 c chicken broth

1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk (regular or light)

4 stalks scallions, minced

crispy noodles or crispy fried shallots, for topping



preheat oven to 375.

in a small* dutch oven or other stove-safe/oven-safe dish, brown your meat with the soy sauce, ginger, and a few turns of black pepper.

*the dutch oven that's pictured has a 2 quart capacity. also, if you don't have a stove-safe/oven-safe dish, you can certainly brown the meat separately and then add it to a casserole dish.

add the brown rice, chicken broth, coconut milk, and scallions, and give it a little swirl.

bake for about 1 1/2 hours, until the rice is tender. it will still be slightly liquidy. let it cool for about 10 minutes, top with noodles or shallots, and enjoy!


pictured: dutch oven // knife // measuring cups

day-after-thanksgiving rye steamed buns + friday links

ok so i have had just enough corn casserole to get me through the next few weeks until eggmama makes it again for christmas. how about you?? how was your thanksgiving?! do you own stock in stretchy pants yet? my thanksgiving was spent making lindsay lohan (oreo + peanut butter) pie and dancing around to on the town in front of the television as eggboy miraculously avoided a train wreck while making his first ever turkey (and stuffing and more stuffing and pie). i'm so proud of you, eggboy!!!

most of the things we ate were delicious: the corn casserole, tennessee's brussels sproutshawaii's mochi stuffing, and california's sourdough kale stuffing were my favorite. we are still deciding what we thought of the salty pluff mud pie. and i don't know if i had eaten too much by the time the grape salad was passed around, or if the sour creamy slimy appearance got to me... but i just couldn't do the grape salad. i'm sorry, grape salad, i wanted to like you. 

now it's snowing and i am back to working on my gingerbread village: i've assembled all of my buildings, i figured out how to make royal frosting icicles, and rudolf is taking a dip in a jolly rancher hot tub. mum kept asking where the sukkah was, but i opted for a huppa to be more relevant with the timing because holy eff, i am getting married in less than a month!!!!!!! ahh!!!

for my final west elm recipe, i have these day-after-thanksgiving rye steamed buns, which were inspired by the typical day-after-thanksgiving sandwich and milk bar's thanksgiving croissant! turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, all cozy in a bun. so don't eat all of those leftovers yet, go proof some dough and steam some bao! get the recipe here.

friday links!!

instant ramen with american cheese 

"Do you ever dream up what the Big Gay Ice Cream menu would have looked like in 1621?"

emoji search at nyt cooking is the best early christmas present ever.

i miss hong kong!

this linda lomelino interview!! i love her so much.

ok, thanksgiving is over, i know, but i still want to make these stuffing dinner rolls.

it is a loaf of bread, it is a bagel. it is a bagel bread loaf. omg.

michelle's asian style thanksgiving though!!

this gingerbread cake is gonna get made today.

happy friday, everyone!!


p.s. i also did a fun little thanksgiving-y radio interview in the midst of my pie making, you can hear it here!

rich little brownies with matcha glaze + a giveaway

as first time guest-bedroom-having humans, we have a rule: whenever someone braves the small planes, long drives, and lack of 4g or l.t.e. or whatever in order to just visit us, we have to be as hospitable as possible. five-star hospitable. so hospitable that they would easily brave the planes, trains, and automobiles all over again to come back for another visit. every pillow must be fluffed, every towel must be warm, every political stance must be taken into account when curating the guest bedroom library. and obbbbbbbbviously, there must be plenty of little welcoming snacks, representing sweet and savory, and addressing any applicable dietary preferences.

so before my pops arrived on monday, we scurried around, cleaning, collecting apples from our backyard, combing through our magazine collection, and putting out these itsy bitsy brownies. like why have a chocolate on your pillow when you can have a chocolate brownie on your pillow?

pops was in and out before you could say sugar beet but we had such a delightful time! we strolled around town and ate many kinds of cake. we ate ribs and roamed around the fields. more on this later...

my point is, if he wasn't my dad and also already in possession of a plane ticket to come back for the wedding, i'm pretty sure that eggboy and i made a very convincing argument that yeah, he totally needs to leave chicago for a few days again and come back soon.

i overlook brownies entirely too often. which is silly because not only are they very good, but also these ones are so quick and easy to make. no softened butter, weird ingredients, or even cooling time necessary. (ok, some might consider matcha a weird ingredient, but it shouldn't be. it's wonderful. i keep one little bag on hand at all times and i rarely need to buy more because a little goes a very long way.) my mom used to make these and instead of matcha, she'd spike the glaze with peppermint schnapps. addicting. they'd never last more than a day. so if you're having a chocolate emergency of medium intensity, meaning you can wait about 45 minutes but no more than an hour, i'd highly recommend these little bites of joy. 

rich little brownies with matcha glaze

based on my mom's recipe!

makes about 24 little brownies



1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 c sugar

1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 c butter, melted and slightly cooled

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla


3 tb butter, melted

1 tb matcha tea powder

1 tb honey

1 tsp vanilla

1 c powdered sugar


preheat oven to 350 and grease and line an 8-inch square pan (or a pan of similar size).

in a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. add the butter, eggs, and vanilla.

pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.

whisk together the glaze ingredients and pour the glaze on while the brownies are still warm. cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. give to all your friends, otherwise you'll eat them all yourself.



thanks so much to kiss me organics for sponsoring this post! enter to win a bag of their organic matcha tea powder by leaving a comment here or on Facebook with the craziest use for matcha that you can think of! open to u.s. residents only. update: this giveaway is now closed.