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  • Writer's pictureNina Dudko

Matcha Cake With Rose Buttercream

It’s Friday Eve, and I’m so ready for the weekend. I start grad school next week, and my stress and anxiety are slowly building up the closer it gets to the first day of class. I’m excited for school, but I have some lingering feelings of jumping back into that environment after being out of it for three years now (ouch . . . undergrad feels like yesterday). So when I get stressed or need to distract myself a bit, I bake!

One of my favorite people to bake with is my goofball of a little brother, Mark. He visited me last weekend, and we spent at least a day trying to brainstorm and figure out what to bake. One thing that I love about my brother is that he loves food as much as I do. He loves to cook, and he’s pretty darn good at it to boot.

My brother and I have the same weird sense of humor, equally geeky. We can’t be taken to museums together. We’re just too immature. Especially when it comes to modern art. A few years ago, we took a family trip up to Dia Beacon, a contemporary art museum an hour’s drive north of New York City, and my brother and I were so annoying, we were sure mom was going to kill us.

I don’t understand some modern art. I kid you not, I went to MoMA on a school field trip in high school, and there was an old shoe in the middle of the floor . . . and that was art. I stared at it for a solid five minutes just confused. When Mark and I were at Dia Beacon, it was more or less the same confusion of “how is this art?,” but with more vocal jokes.

Dia Beacon is a fairly open space, and it wasn’t too crowded. As we were walking through the museum, Mark and I stumbled upon a pile of glass in the middle of the floor. These were very large glass chunks that were carefully cut and laid out, but still . . . it’s a pile of glass on the floor. With large arms, Mark gestured and said loudly, “Look, Nina! Art!” It gets better. In the next room was a pile . . . of dirt. He exclaims, “Look, Nina! More art!” This has now become a running joke, where the word “art” slowly loses its pronunciation. We now refer to it as “urt.” This all probably started with this meme.

Running around museums is our favorite past time, but when we’re together, we always try to bake or cook something new and fancy. Last weekend during his visit, we decided to make a Matcha Cake with Rose Buttercream Frosting. Why rose buttercream? Well, when my brother visited for Thanksgiving, he decided to bring rosewater with him, because he wanted to make rose ice cream (which was super delicious). But now I’ve had rosewater sitting in my pantry and I wanted to use the stuff. Hence . . . rose buttercream.

I’m a huge fan of all things green tea. It tastes so good and earthy. After a nice hot cup of green tea, I feel all warm and fuzzy. It can be 100 degrees outside, and I will still drink hot tea.

When it comes to cooking with matcha, I’m a noob. The first step was acquiring matcha powder, and luckily I live across the street from a World Market, where I found some Mighty Leaf Matcha Powder. It seemed to do the trick, though I will need to bake more with matcha powder to figure out which powder is the best quality (which means more recipes, yay!).

I adapted this recipe from Real Simple. The cake was pretty easy to bake, and the frosting was not super sweet, with a nice flavor of floral rose. The actual cake itself was delicious. Very moist and that matcha flavor gave it a nice earthy note. My favorite part about this cake was that I recently bought a fancy new table light for food photography, and was able to test it out with the cake. I’m so happy with it! The photos look pretty good, though I’m still trying to get the hang of food photography. All in good practice.


Matcha Cake With Rose Buttercream

Servings: 12



4 eggs

2¾ cups all-purpose flour

1½ cups granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup whole milk

2½ tablespoons matcha powder

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3½ cups confectioners’ sugar

1–2 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons rosewater

Pinch of salt



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8" round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

  2. In a large stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Add vanilla extract.

  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and matcha powder.

  4. Add one third of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix on low speed until well combined. Add half of the milk, and mix together. Continue alternating between adding dry ingredients and milk until everything is well combined.

  5. Divide the cake mixture between the cake pans. Bake for 25–30 minutes. Test by poking with a toothpick, which should come out clean.

  6. Remove the pans from the oven and let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Flip the pans upside down and remove the cakes onto a wire cooling rack so the flat side is facing up, and let cool completely.

  7. Once the cakes are cool, use a serrated knife to remove any browned bits off the cake so that the green edges are exposed (save the sliced-off parts, though).

  8. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Spread the sliced-off cake parts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast the cake bits for 10-12 minutes then remove from the oven. Put the slices into a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Save for decorating the cake.


  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the softened butter until smooth.

  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the salt.

  3. Add the rosewater and milk and mix until desired consistency. You can add another splash of milk if the frosting is too dry.


  1. Put the cake base layer on a serving plate. Line edges underneath the cake with parchment paper. *This is to keep your plate nice and clean for photos ;)*. Spread about ¾ cup of frosting onto the base layer.

  2. Top with the remaining cake piece, flat side up. Cover all sides of the cake with frosting. Use a spatula to smooth the edges.

  3. With a fine mesh sieve, sprinkle the cake top with the toasted cake crumbs.

  4. Serve cake at room temperature.

  5. Enjoy!


This cake is best enjoyed the day it is baked. You can cover it and leave it in the fridge, but it will become denser overnight.

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