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I had a lovely invitation to visit a friend for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres yesterday. Rosemary is a longtime friend of my aunt’s and is now a friend of ours. She lives in a wonderful apartment on the Upper East Side and wanted to show us her great kitchen and the specialty cookbook store up the block (very dangerous: I bought two!).

I didn’t want to go empty handed, and brought along some truffle salt, which I am now in love with, and particularly like in the baked risotto dish I shared recently (coincidentally, Rosemary is making it for company this week so the timing was perfect!). I also decided to concoct a matcha tea cake, which was inspired by the different versions I’ve seen around the blogosphere lately, namely on Tartelette and 80 breakfasts. The versions I’ve seen include white chocolate, which I’m not terribly fond of, and it occurred to me that I could easily adapt the moist and marbled coffee cake that I love to create a matcha-marbled version. I love that cake for its moistness and perfect balance of sweetness: it’s a phenomenal base for any flavoring. I last used matcha to make green tea ice cream. Next, I’d like to try cookies.

The little cake, which I made in a loaf pan, was a hit. It’s not only delicious but the green marbling is quite beautiful: how perfect to perfume a tea cake with tea?

Matcha tea marbled tea cake

1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup sour cream, room temperature

1.5 teaspoons matcha powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Butter a loaf pan. Line with a piece of parchment paper that covers bottom and long sides (leave some poking up from the pan to facilitate lifting the loaf out later). Butter the parchment paper.

3. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with sour cream. Add vanilla, and mix 1 minute.

4. Portion out 1/3 of the batter into a small bowl. Mix in matcha powder, stirring well to combine.

5. Spread one-third of the plain batter into prepared pan. Use a small offset spatchula to ensure an even, flat layer. Dollop with 1/3 of matcha batter and use a spatchula to gently spread the matcha layer on the top of the other. Spread another third of the plain batter on top, followed by another third of the matcha batter. Repeat one more time so that the final layer is the rest of the matcha batter. Run a thin knife through batter to marbleize. Run spatchula over top to ensure the batter is flat in the end.

6. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire cooking rack for a few minutes. Lift cake out by the parchment handles and allow to cool completely on rack.

Ah! Almost forgot: I’m submitting this to this month’s “click” event, the theme of which is “au naturel.” I know this image is a tad random here, but it needs to be posted to my blog!

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