Have you ever had cupcakes that are so good you don’t really need any special frosting? These hojicha cupcakes (roasted green tea) are just that. With plenty of earthy, roasty hojicha flavor, you could eat them plain, with a dollop of whipped cream, or my favorite, sweetened whipped cream with some matcha (green tea) powder sprinkled on top. Oh, and don’t forget the black sesame. Of course you could just keep it a secret and see if whoever eats these will even notice 😉
Hojicha ほうじ茶- Roasted green tea
While matcha seems to have hit mainstream these days, there’s another Japanese tea that may not be as well-known.
And that’s hojicha!
Roasted green tea.
Have you had it?
If not, it’s got a very unique flavor.
Extremely robust, earthy, tea-like and very hojicha.
It’s a very bold tea and I like it that way.
It’s often served at the end of a meal or with dessert in Japan.
And the great thing about it is that it’s basically caffeine free.
So you can drink this anytime of day or night without worrying that it’ll keep you up all night long.
Cuz it won’t!
Ok, so how do you use hojicha?
How to use hojicha tea
The most frequent way I ingest hojicha is by drinking it.
Hot hojicha tea in the winter and cold tea in the summer.
Spring and fall?
Hmm, not so sure, but likely a mixture depending on the weather.
Do you change the way you drink your beverage by season or temperature?
If you decide to brew hojicha tea, a guideline you can use for one person is about ~3 grams per 160-200mls of water at 200F for 30 seconds.
Of course you can brew it longer or use a larger quantity for a more potent tea
If you’re just getting started with hojicha tea, the above might be a good starting point for you.
And yes brewing time, temperature, tea quantity etc all affect the resulting flavor in your cup.
Even the cup affects the flavor.
Or does it?
Well, consider having champagne out of a mug versus a champagne glass, I think it might be perceived as tasting different.
But I guess you’d have to close your eyes and have someone serve you to know for sure. Will you try it?
Anyways, back to the hojicha…
If you cold brew it tends to have a different character to it (cold brewing tea or coffee tends to smooth the flavors out)
So what that means is less bitter if you’re sensitive to bitter flavors.
You don’t need any special equipment and in fact you can just use your tea pot, add tea as you usually would, fill with cold water and allow to brew overnight.
Try it and see if you notice a difference.
So aside from drinking it as tea, I’d say the second most common way I use it is in sweets like ice cream and baked goods.
While hojicha is good and delicious on it’s own I do like to add a little somethin somethin to make it even better…
Wanna know what that is?
Black sesame seeds (黒胡麻 kurogoma)
Black sesame goes great with a lot of sweet things.
Be it ice cream, baked goods, pudding and many other things.
And that includes these hojicha cupcakes!
I particularly like to add black sesame for an additional layer of flavor and texture.
Sometimes I mix them in to the batter, but this time I just sprinkled them on top.
You can even hide them under a the whipped cream or layer them in the bottom of the cupcake batter for a crunchy bottom 😉
How about that?
Other ways you can serve the hojicha cupakes –
- with a scoop of matcha or green tea ice cream
- with a scoop of hojicha ice cream
- with some azuki or sweet red bean
- with some kuromame sweet black bean
- plain with a sprinkling of powdered sugar
- a cup of coffee
- and of course, with a nice warm (or cold) cup of Japanese green or hojicha tea!
Tips for making the hojicha cupcakes a success-
- Weigh your ingredients, I’ve found ever since I started to weigh out my ingredients (especially when it comes to bread), I end up with better results
- Want to really indulge? switch out the olive oil for the butter it’s a lot 😮
- Though I like to use silicone cups every now and then I’ve found i get a better crust using the bare metal cupcake pan.
- If using the bare cupcake pan, spray it with cooking spray so your cupcakes don’t stick or break when you try to remove them. Before removing them, use a chopstick or spatula to loosen them from the sides and then tongs to pick them up out of the cupcake hole.
- Preheat your oven so that you’re baking time is the same as mine. I usually preheat for a minimum of 20 minutes, longer is better
- Use the toothpick or (ohashi-chopstick) test to check for doneness, poke in the center and when it comes out clean, it’s done.
- I’ve found hojicha whole leaf tea is somewhat easy to source, but haven’t seen the powdered version in the US. If you can’t find the powder, just use a mini coffee grinder and do it yourself. 20 seconds of wheeeeeeee and you’ll have powdered hojicha tea. Be careful not to inhale the fine tea dust or you might sneeze achoo!
- You need to powder the tea for the cupcakes and most other food preparations of hojicha. I mean do you really want to be eating tea leaves? Ya I don’t think so Even if you’re a koala, they eat eucalyptus leaves Not tea leaves…
- The dust wand i used in my video is here – fun to play with if you like to dust your food 🙂
Here’s a video of me making the hojicha cupcakes and sweet cream –
So what do you guys think? will you be giving hojicha tea or these hojicha cupcakes a try?
lmk in the comments!