I worked on a matcha cake last week, and did quite a bit of experimenting to get its matcha buttercream just right. Matcha has a deliciously earthy flavor and I wanted to make sure the sweetness of the frosting was properly balanced with this amazing flavor.
I wanted a smooth, sturdy frosting that was stiff enough to frost a layer cake and pipe swirls on cupcakes. I’m happy to share that I believe this frosting achieves that and more. It’s light, delicious, and perfectly sweet.
What is Matcha?
Matcha is made from special green tea leaves that are ground down into an incredibly fine consistency.
These leaves are specifically grown and processed to make matcha powder.
The tea leaves are special in a lot of ways, but a big part of it is how they’re grown. They’re grown in the shade for the last 3 to 4 weeks before they’re harvested.
Sounds pretty wild, right?? But there’s a method behind the madness. Growing these tea leaves in the shade increases the amount of caffeine they contain and intensifies their color.
You can buy matcha at most grocery stores in either the tea and coffee section, or the international section. I get mine from Whole Foods, but you can also order matcha powder on amazon.
I’m not going to lie, high-quality matcha powder is not cheap. This tiny little can was $13, and there’s not a ton of powder in there!!
The good news is a little goes a long way.
What Does Matcha Matcha Taste Like?
The first time I tried matcha, it was matcha soft serve! I liked it a lot more that I thought I would. Slowly I progressed to matcha pancakes, matcha croissants, and even matcha lattes.
Matcha has a uniquely earthy flavor. It’s rich and smooth, but sometimes it can have a bitter aftertaste. However, good-quality matcha should have almost a sweet finish.
A lot of it comes down to how the matcha is prepared and its quality.
When matcha is mixed with sweeteners in desserts or with milk in lattes, the sugar balances out any hint of bitterness.
Choosing The Right Base for This Buttercream
Most people that enjoy matcha flavored desserts don’t like super sweet flavors. With that in mind, I knew that my American buttercream wasn’t the right base for this buttercream.
While I love it, I’m the first to admit it is quite sweet. I wanted a fluffy frosting that wasn’t too sweet.
Swiss meringue frosting is a great, less sweet alternative but it takes a bit longer to make.
In the end I decided to use my friend Minette Rushing’s faux Swiss meringue buttercream as the base for this frosting.
I love its texture and flavor, but most of all I love how easy it is to make. You start by whipped together powdered sugar and pasteurized egg whites (the kind you get in a carton) until they reach stiff peaks.
Then you slowly add in the room temperature butter, followed by the matcha powder, vanilla, and salt.
I found I liked it best with a tiny bit less butter than the original recipe calls for, and that’s exactly what I’ve included in the recipe card below.
Tips for Making the Best Matcha Buttercream Frosting
- Make sure your butter is at room temperature to give your frosting the right consistency.
- Use good quality matcha powder to really pack your matcha buttercream with flavor!
- Mix with the paddle attachment at the end of the process if you plan to add this frosting to a cake! It helps make super smooth frosting that’s easy to smooth onto a cake.
- If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tbsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
- Don’t worry if you frosting breaks in the beginning when you add the butter! Just keep mixing it, and it should come together in a few minutes.
Making This Matcha Buttercream in Advance and Storage Tips
- Make your frosting ahead of time or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Be sure to give it a good stir in your mixer once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
- A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
- If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.
Let Me Know What You Think!
If you try my matcha buttercream recipe, I’d love to hear what think of it! Please leave a rating, and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment.
Also tag me @chelsweets and use the #chelsweets on social media so that I can see your amazing creations!
Other Recipes You Might Like:
Matcha Buttercream Frosting
- 1/2 cup pasteurized egg whites (from a carton), room temperature (120g)
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (440g)
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (339g)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (12g)
- 2 Tbsp matcha powder, sifted (12g)
- 1/2 tsp salt (3g)
Matcha Buttercream Frosting (adapted from Minette Rushing):
- Place 1/2 cup of pasteurized egg whites and 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if you plan to make with a hand mixer).
- Mix on a low speed to combine.
- Once incorporated, mix on medium high (8 on a KitchenAid) with a whisk attachment for 5 minutes until stiff peaks form.
- Swap the whisk attachment for a paddle attachment. This will help make your buttercream be smooth once it's fully made.
- Mix in 1 1/2 cups of butter in small chunks on a low speed.
- Once the butter is incorporated, mix on medium speed for an additional 5 minutes. Mix until the buttercream is fluffy and smooth.
- Add in 1 Tbsp vanilla extract, 2 Tbsp matcha powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix until combined, scraping the side of the bowl as needed.
- If you frosting breaks in the beginning when you add the butter, don't worry! Just keep mixing it, and it should come together in a few minutes.
- Stir for an additional few minutes by hand with a rubber spatula, to get it silky smooth. Set aside.
This recipe makes about 7 cups of frosting, which is enough to frost 3 dozen cupcakes or an 8" layer cake.
Making This Matcha Frosting in Advance and Storage Tips:
Make your frosting ahead of time, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
If you are making frosting for a cake, mix the buttercream on the lowest speed at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process.
Amount Per Serving Calories 726Total Fat 54gSaturated Fat 34gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 144mgSodium 176mgCarbohydrates 63gFiber 0gSugar 62gProtein 1g