Green Tea and Red Bean Cake


I’ve always wanted to try making a Katherine Sabbath inspired cake with her signature chocolate ganache drip and chocolate bark combination. Since a friend’s important day is coming up, I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to create a cake like this.  I chose the flavours, green tea and red bean. It’s the best combination in my opinion!

The recipe I used for the cake was Stefani’s Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake recipe, following these tips from Amanda and substituting the vanilla for matcha. Although my batter was a light green shade, the product actually turned brown when it was done. It’s not burnt, but I was not really sure why it changed colour. I didn’t use a cake mix, because they are usually too sweet.

For the icing, I made a simple combination of red bean paste and whipped thickened cream in between layers. The paste I used was not the puréed kind, but the one with soft whole red bean pieces. The outer coating was a green tea Swiss meringue buttercream, a modified version of Jemma’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe.

I experimented with using either dark or white chocolate for an unconventional red bean “ganache”. It was really tough. I found white chocolate to be too sweet, and I couldn’t taste the red bean, when I used dark chocolate. Eventually, I came up with a ratio, which uses more of red bean paste, while still having the ability to transform from a syrupy consistency to a solidified one.

To top it all off, I made a marbled chocolate bark using dark and white chocolate with some crushed freeze-dried strawberries.


This cake was made like Frankenstein’s monster with all the recipes I’ve put together. I was scared that it would be a disaster, but it was actually delicious and not too sweet! I would experiment with a different cake layer recipe next time though.

I’m sharing my method below. I hope you give it a try!


Cake Base

1 cake base recipe of your choice (I divided mine into 3 4.5″/11.5 cm diameter layers)
1 tbsp matcha for about 3 1/4 cup of batter


200 ml thickened cream
200 g sweetened red bean paste with whole red beans

(adapted from Jemma’s recipe, click to watch the video, yields double the amount for this cake)

4 egg whites (use large eggs and free-range if possible)
300 g caster sugar
400 g chopped unsalted butter, soft
1 tbsp matcha

Red Bean Ganache Drip

100 g sweetened red bean paste, puréed
25 g thickened whipping cream
25 g white chocolate

Chocolate Bark

160 g dark chocolate, melted
140 g white chocolate, melted
freeze dried strawberries, roughly crushed


Cake Base

  1. Make the batter according to instructions on the box for the cake mix or another recipe. In a small bowl, mix about 2 tablespoons batter and matcha, forming a paste. Put the mixture back into the batter, and combine using a whisk or mixer.
  2. Bake the batter according to instructions.
  3. Level the cake.


  1. Using an electric mixer or a whisk, whip the cream until stiff peaks are formed.
  2. Gently fold in the sweetened red bean paste.

(adapted from Jemma’s recipe, click for the video)

  1. Mix sugar and egg whites on a heat proof bowl over a bain-marie until all the sugar crystals are dissolved. Remove from heat.
  2. Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer, whisk the sugar and egg whites until the mixture is cool.
  3. Add the butter piece by piece and whisk on medium speed. Take a bit of frosting, and mix with the sifted matcha on another bowl, making a paste. When all the lumps are gone, put back the matcha frosting into the buttercream mixture, and whisk until incorporated.

Red Bean Ganache Drip

  1. Combine the cream, red bean paste and white chocolate in a heat proof bowl and melt over a bain-marie.
  2. Set aside. Make sure that the ganache is not too warm before using.

Chocolate Bark

  1. Place baking paper on top of a baking sheet or flat dish.
  2. Melt the chocolates separately in a heat proof bowl in the microwave or on a bain-marie.
  3. Pour the dark chocolate onto the baking sheet and spread until the desired thickness is achieved.
  4. Put dollops of white chocolate on top of the dark chocolate.
  5. Run a spatula or knife, over the mixture, creating a marble design.
  6. Put the freeze dried strawberries over the chocolate and gently push them down.
  7. Refrigerate until hardened, then break into pieces.


  1. Alternate layers of cake base and red bean filling, except for the top layer.
  2. Using a spatula, apply a thin crumb coat of swiss meringue buttercream to the cake. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. Add a generous amount of buttercream on the chilled cake, then smooth out the surface while taking off extra buttercream as needed. Refrigerate again for 15 minutes.
  4. Put ganache in a piping bag with the tip cut out or a squeeze bottle. Press the product near the top edge of the cake in an “M” motion, allowing it to drip on the sides. Then, pour the remaining ganache on the top of the cake, and smooth it out using a spatula.
  5. Refrigerate until the ganache solidifies.
  6. Top with chocolate bark.

5 responses to “Green Tea and Red Bean Cake”

  1. Wow that looks amazing! I love Katerheine Sabbath-style cakes, looks like you did an incredible job with yours. Matcha + red bean sounds like a great flavor for the cake 😀

    • Kai says:

      Thanks June! There are so many unconventional cake designs I want to try out. This is the first one I actually put into practice. I still haven’t perfected my frosting application skill, as you can see from the tiny holes, but I’m glad it turned out well both visually and gustatorily (yes, I had to Google this word!). Matcha and red bean is my favourite combination 😀

  2. Wow, you outdid yourself! I’ve seen her cakes and it always looks so inspiring. Love the marbleized effect too. Have you presented it to your friend yet?

    • Kai says:

      Thanks Linda! Yes I’ve presented it to my friend. I was surprised it actually tasted nice. Prior to finalising, I’ve only sandwiched some leftover cake base and frosting to make sure it wasn’t a failure.

      Yes her cakes look nice and unique :)

  3. […] 5. Matcha and Red Bean Cake […]

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About Me

Hello world! I'm Kai. I'm fascinated with how and why things are made. In this blog, I share my attempts to make these ideas come to life. Feel free to comment and give me suggestions! Read more»

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