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Azuki-filled Mochi Cupcakes with Green Tea FrostingMar 10, 2011

This week, my neighbor Jamie invited me to a Real Housewives-style lunch (sans crazy drama and plastic surgery) at her house with a couple other ladies from the block. Our other neighbor Cathy offered to whip up some of her delicious egg rolls and noodles, Jamie supplied her precious Lupicia tea, and since Jamie has her hands full chasing around her adorable 10-month-old daughter, I figured I would chip in with dessert. But what do bring that would be tasty next to Cathy's delicious Chinese delectables and Jamie's wonderful tea?

One of my favorite Japanese treats is daifuku manju: sweetened mochi (rice cake) filled with an (sweet bean paste) that is intended to be eaten with tea. I used to love to stop at Benkyo-do in Japantown for a manju sampler: white mochi with red koshi-an (smooth bean paste), pink mochi with white koshi-an, green tea mochi with red tsubushi-an (chunky bean paste). Lately, I have been intrigued with how to infuse my favorite Asian flavors into traditional western pastries, and since cupcakes afford so much flexibility with ingredients and textures, they seemed like a good starting point.

I wanted the cupcake to mimic the sensation of biting into chewy, soft daifuku manju, so I knew that the cupcake batter needed to contain mochiko flour, and the an would need to make an appearance, too. But I also love the flavor of green tea with manju, so I figured: why not use some matcha powder to whip up some green tea frosting? After tracking down a few recipes online, I had a good base to start with. I made my own an, but you can find it premade in Japanese grocery stores (though it tends to be on the sweet side...if you make your own, you can control the sugar).

Azuki Red Bean Paste (An)

Mochi Cupcakes

Matcha Green Tea Frosting

Thanks to Apple Pie, Patis & Pate, JustJenn Recipes, and Cupcake Bake Shop for providing the recipes and inspiration for my experiment.

P.S. When you cut the cupcakes in half, they look like those crazy-haired, naked troll dolls that I used to collect back in the 80s:

posted by

You are my hero

posted by

That's funny -- you are mine!!

posted by a cook

no offense to your generous neighbor but these look and sound repulsive.....NOT a dessert. by a long shot. bean paste????
NO nom nom noms from me.
minus 3 NOMS..... at least.

posted by

Oh Yum these look really tasty! And yes I completely agree look like little troll dolls from the 80s!

posted by MadonnaU

Just tried your recipe two nights in a row (one test run, and a double batch for a bake sale). The test run came out perfectly chewy in the middle. The double batch had lumps in it, so I over mixed it trying to get rid of the lumps and they came out harder and not so chewy. Any suggestions on how to prevent the lumps of Mochiko flour?

posted by

Hi MadonnaU -- I think you are right that overmixing makes the cupcakes too dense. The technique I used for mixing these cupcakes was kind of like making biscuits: I first whisked the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and made a well in the center. Then I added all of the wet ingredients in the well, beat them gently with a fork, and then gradually stirred the dry ingredients toward the center and mixed with the wet. I stirred until all of the ingredients were just combined. The other thing I noticed is that overbaking can make the cupcakes too hard, so keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven when they are just cooked through (the timing may differ from my recipe based on your oven, climate, and altitude). I hope that helps! :-)

posted by Anonymous

How many cupcakes doe this yield? Thanks!

posted by

I believe this made between 18-24 cupcakes. Of course, I overbaked the first dozen, so I ended up with fewer than a dozen usable ones. :-)

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