Matcha-Almond Layer Cake with Meringue Mushrooms

I’ve been having disorganized pantry shame for a few months now, so last Friday I decided to do something about it. I went in armed with a roll of garbage bags and an indiscriminate attitude (let’s get rid of it all!), but soon found that my pantry was more like an archaeological dig into the past two years of my life.

Cake boards and tuile stencils (once lost) were found flattened against a wall. A binder of dessert sketches and scribbles lay open with bent pages under a pile of cookbooks. A grocery bag held gold plastic eggs for an Easter post that never happened. Flattened cupcake papers would surface every now and again, along with stocking stuffers that never made it to the mantel at Christmastime. Last unearthed, a box of miscellany; cookie cutters, ribbon, rock candy and chocolate transfer sheets.

After everything was considerably more organized (though not much diminished), I pulled out a chocolate transfer sheet that had caught my eye. The delicate pattern was almost indistinguishable with airy spirals and green flecks… but what I managed to see reminded me a little of mushroom spore prints – an art-slash-science project I’d had fun with as a kid.

That’s all it took. I spent the rest of the day with my head in the clouds. I was dreaming of my own species of mushroom (Boletus saccharo – sugar mushroom?) and sketching ideas for a cake teeming with them.

It’s been ages since I’ve made meringue mushrooms. I first made them for this Buche de Noel, in my early blogging days, but who says you have to wait until Christmas to make these guys? They are delightful any time of year!

It’s also been a while since I’ve made anything with matcha tea powder, which is surprising because it’s one of my favorite ingredients of all time. It’s really perfect for this cake – not bitter at all, especially when paired with almond – and with just a hint of earthiness. I whipped these flavors into silky Swiss buttercream to coat layers upon layers of almond-scented butter cake.

If you’re a newbie at using transfer sheets, you can find additional instructions here and here. I usually find my transfer sheets at Fancy Flours, though some may be found locally at specialty cake shops.

I had so much fun immersing myself in every aspect of this cake, albeit the inspiration was a little weird and unconventional (spores, mushrooms… who makes a cake with that in mind?). In the end it turned out pretty cute and woodsy-looking, but above all – it’s mighty tasty.

Matcha-Almond Layer Cake with Meringue Mushrooms

[click for printable version]

Yield: 8-10 servings

Recipes adapted from the SprinkleBakes book

Prep 2 hours 30 minutes; total time about 5 hours

Cake

1/4
pound (1 stick) butter, softened

1 3/4
cups (350g) sugar

3
eggs, at room temperature

2
teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon
(2g) almond extract

2 1/4
cups (270g) all-purpose flour

3 1/2
teaspoons (10g) baking powder

1
teaspoon (7g) salt

1 1/4
cups (292g) full fat sour cream

Swiss
buttercream frosting/ chocolate transfer

6 egg
whites

1 cup
(118g) sugar

Pinch
of salt

1 1/4
pounds (5 US sticks) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature

2
teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract

1/2
teaspoon (2g) almond extract

1
tablespoon (10g) matcha green tea powder

1 1/2
tablespoons (22g) hot water

4 oz.
semisweet chocolate chips

Chocolate
transfer sheet of your choice

Meringue
mushrooms

2 egg
whites, at room temperature

1/4
teaspoon (1g)  cream of tartar

1/2
cup (100g) granulated sugar

4 oz.
chocolate chips or candy coating

2
tablespoons (20g) cocoa powder

2
tablespoons (20g) matcha green tea powder

  1. Make the cakes. Preheat
    the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of three 7-inch springform pans (if
    you don’t have 3, you can reuse the ones you have or use two 9-inch pans). Line
    the bottom and sides with parchment paper, and then grease the paper.
  2. In
    the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the
    butter and sugar together. Add
    the eggs, vanilla and almond extracts, and beat until combined. Combine
    the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the mixer bowl in three batches, alternating
    with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape
    down the bowl and beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Divide the batter evenly into
    pans, or if reusing a pan, fill each pan two-thirds full.
  3. Bake
    for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into
    the middle of the cakes. Let
    the cakes cool slightly in the pans. Remove and let them cool completely on a
    wire rack. Level cakes with a large serrated knife or cake leveler. Torte each
    cake so that there are six layers.
  4. For
    the matcha-almond Swiss buttercream, set a
    saucepan filled one-third full of water over medium-high heat and bring to a
    simmer.
  5. Whisk
    together the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large heatproof bowl. Set over
    the simmering water and whisk until the mixture is hot to the touch and the
    sugar has dissolved.
  6. Transfer
    the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  7. Beat
    on low speed for 2 minutes. Increase to medium-high until stiff peaks are
    formed.
  8. Continue
    beating at medium-high speed until the mixture is fluffy and has cooled (the
    mixing bowl should feel cool to the touch).
  9. Turn
    the mixer off and switch from the whisk attachment to the paddle. Turn the
    mixer on medium-low and add the butter, a few cubes at a time, beating until
    well incorporated before the next addition. The egg whites will deflate and thin
    with the first few additions – don’t let this discourage you – keep going. It may also look curdled, but don’t fret. Beat
    on high speed when all the butter has been added. The mixture will thicken and
    become smooth after several minutes of beating. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. 
    Place matcha tea powder and hot water in a small bowl and stir until a smooth
    paste forms. If mixture is very thick, add additional hot water until it is
    very smooth but not too liquid. Add the matcha paste to the batter and beat
    until the frosting is completely smooth and consistently green.
  10. Reserve
    1/4 cup frosting for later use. Place a cooled cake layer on a cake stand and
    top with 1/3 cup frosting; top with another cake layer and repeat frosting with
    remaining layers. Cover cake with a thin coat of frosting (crumb coat) and
    refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Remove cake from refrigerator and coat
    cake in a thick even layer with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate until firm.
  11. For
    the chocolate transfer, measure and cut a 4×16-inch band from the transfer
    sheet. Place it smooth-side-down on a large piece of parchment (you should be
    able to feel the raised chocolate pattern on the side facing upward). Melt
    chocolate at 30 second intervals until it can be stirred smooth. Place a large spoonful of melted chocolate at
    one short end of the cut transfer sheet band, and smooth it over using an
    off-set spatula. Try to smooth the chocolate over the entire area in one fluid stroke;
    this will decrease the chances of the pattern shifting. Holding the coated transfer
    sheet at both ends, press the middle of the sheet onto the cake and wrap the
    ends around the cake. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 15
    minutes. Once the chocolate is firm, remove the acetate coating. Measure and cut another piece of the transfer
    sheet to fill in the remaining gap. Coat with chocolate, and press onto cake as
    before. Let chill and remove acetate when the chocolate is firm.
  12. For
    the meringue mushrooms, prepare
    two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 200
    degrees.
  13. Place
    room temperature egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a
    whisk attachment. It is important that the bowl and whisk both be very clean,
    so that the egg whites whip properly. Begin
    beating the egg whites on medium speed. Once they are very frothy, stop the
    mixer and add the cream of tartar. Start the mixer again and continue to beat
    the egg whites. Once they form soft peaks, increase the speed to high and
    gradually add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Beat the whites until they are
    very shiny and hold stiff peaks, but are not dry or crumbly.
  14. Spoon
    the meringue into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. First,
    pipe the mushroom caps: hold the pastry bag at a 90-degree angle about 1/2 inch
    from the parchment paper. Using firm and even pressure, squeeze out a round
    meringue disc about 2 inches in diameter and 1 inch high. Stop squeezing, then
    twist the bag and lift it from the meringue to get a clean break from the cap.
    Repeat in regular intervals on the baking sheet until you have approximately 2
    dozen mushroom caps. The mushroom caps will most likely have peaks on top, so smooth
    the tops by wetting your index finger and lightly pressing the peaks down into
    the caps.
  15. Next,
    pipe the mushroom stems. Again position the bag perpendicular about 1/2-inch
    from the baking sheet. Begin squeezing the bag to form a 1-inch round base.
    Continue to squeeze as you slowly and evenly draw the bag up, then release
    pressure (causing a break) to form a tapering stem about 2 inches tall. The
    stems will have peaks on top, but do not smooth them down as before with the
    caps. Use the remaining meringue to pipe as many stems as possible—allow some
    stems to tilt and collapse to the side, these mushrooms will be applied to the
    side of the cake in a “climbing” manner.
  16. Bake
    the meringues at 200 degrees for about 90 minutes, turning them halfway through
    the cooking time to ensure an even bake. The meringues should be hard and dry
    to the touch, and you should be able to easily lift one from the parchment.
    Once the meringues are done, let them cool completely before assembling. If
    time allows, you can also turn off the oven and let them sit in the oven for
    several hours or overnight.
  17. To
    assemble the mushrooms, melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave,
    stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Use a toothpick to carve
    a small hole in the bottom of a mushroom cap. Dip the top (pointed end) of a
    stem in the chocolate, and stick the chocolate-covered stem top in the carved hole
    of the mushroom cap. Place the mushroom on a baking tray and leave to set, and
    repeat with remaining caps and stems.
  18. Place
    the cocoa and matcha powder in separate small bowls. Dip the bottoms of the mushroom stems in the matcha
    powder, then in the cocoa; tap to remove excess powders. Load a dry pastry
    brush with the matcha powder and brush the caps. You may also use a sifter to
    sift matcha and cocoa over the mushrooms.
  19. Use
    the reserved 1/4 cup frosting to attach the mushrooms to the side of the cake.
    Group them together as tightly as possible. Place a group of mushrooms standing upright on
    top of the cake. Randomly place one or two mushrooms away from the groups of
    mushrooms on top of the cake.
  20. Store
    cake loosely covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours. To increase longevity,
    store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator. Mushrooms will most likely
    wilt, but the cake will keep for a few days longer refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Note: Mushrooms can be stored for up to a month in an airtight container in a cool,
dry room. Humidity can make the mushroom soft and they will collapse. Mushrooms
will become soft after 12 hours on the cake at room temperature, but they
should still hold their shape relatively well.  Do not assemble mushrooms on cake more than 24
hours before serving.

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Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

oh you reminded me I need to clean out my cake supplies too! Oh the horrors I could find there.

The mushroom design is adorable they remind me of enoki mushrooms! SO quirky

Tieghan
Tieghan
8 years ago

OH my gosh! This is the most adorable and kind of weird cake I have ever seen!! I LOVE the mushrooms!! What a clever and genius idea. So fun!

Rosa's Yummy Yums
Rosa's Yummy Yums
8 years ago

Absolutely stunning! I love the color as well as the flavor of this cake and the mushroom decorations.

Cheers,

Rosa

megan
megan
8 years ago

Meringue mushrooms have to be the cutest edible thing ever. LOVE how they're going up the side of the cake. <3

Kelster
Kelster
8 years ago

It says: 1 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, softened. Do you mean 5 sticks of butter?

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
8 years ago

Oh boy. Typo! I mean 1 stick (1/4 lb.) butter – thank you for catching that. This was a very long recipe and I knew I'd miss something. Corrected.

xo
h

Olga P
Olga P
8 years ago

I can't stop looking at it! really beautiful work and colours are amazing!

ThisGirlBlogs
ThisGirlBlogs
8 years ago

That is one of the most beautiful cakes I've seen! Looks like something out of a storybook. Love the attention to detail 🙂
http://www.thisbakergirlblogs.com

Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

I love the mushrooms. What a beautiful cake!!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
8 years ago

Whoaaaaaa!!! This looks amazing!! AWESOME job…as always!

Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

That is such a beautiful cake. I m not sure i d ve the heart to slice it all up!!

[eeny]
[eeny]
8 years ago

looks amazing. i love these mushrooms. so pretty.

Colette (Coco)
Colette (Coco)
8 years ago

Looks like something made for Snow White!

beckcorbin
beckcorbin
8 years ago

The cake is amazing!!!
Where can I buy matcha powder?
Thanks!

Julia Darling
Julia Darling
8 years ago

That is STUNNING, fine art, and so glad to hear it tastes delicious too.

Nessa
Nessa
8 years ago

What a fun cake! I love the mushrooms 🙂

claire
claire
8 years ago

Oh wow: GRAM WEIGHTS! Thanks so much for going there -one less excuse for me to procrastinate this awesomely appealing yet technically terrifying bake. A stunner of jaw-dropping creativity and quirkyness. Love it.

Jacquee
Jacquee
8 years ago

I adore this cake!!! Matcha is one of my best loved teas and I love using it in my baking. AND that flavour combo is perfect!

Unknown
Unknown
8 years ago

I'm obsessed with matcha…must try this!

Angelyn
Angelyn
8 years ago

Wow, you are so talented! Can't believe how even your layers are and how smooth your frosting is! Gorgeous!!

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com
8 years ago

Oh my gosh! I am speechless.

Sunshine - www.cancersurvivor26.blogger.com
Sunshine - www.cancersurvivor26.blogger.com
8 years ago

Awesome!

Laura
Laura
8 years ago

What a unique cake idea! This is gorgeous, and looks delicious too.

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

A piece of art from a true artist! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes. I'm eagerly waiting to see what you come up with next

Simo
Simo
7 years ago

ma che capolavoro!!!!!!!!!

Unknown
Unknown
7 years ago

oh wow, this is really amazing!

Sunchowder
Sunchowder
7 years ago

I love your work 🙂

Unknown
Unknown
7 years ago

I LOVE your cake stand do you mind letting me know where you got it I need it for my collection!! 🙂

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
7 years ago

Williams-Sonoma! They are on sale right now, too. I bought the smaller version.

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/fau-boix-cake-stand/

Sasha
Sasha
7 years ago

*staring* *speechless*

Mal
Mal
7 years ago

Intrigued! I must make Matcha Swiss Meringue now!

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

There ARE mushrooms called candy cap mushrooms that taste like maple syrup! I had ice cream made with them once and it was divine! They would be a great addition to this cake somehow!

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

This is just the most beautiful cake I have ever seen!

Manderley de GuindillayCanela
Manderley de GuindillayCanela
7 years ago

Waooo it's a wonderful cake!!

Kat
Kat
7 years ago

Gorgeous cake! As my family is Asian, we prefer the less sweet desserts that are usually flavored with coffee, black sesame, and especially matcha. Have you tried to make a matcha flavored gateau opera? It is quite delicious and a stunning cake to make. Another "odd" ingredient used in Asian baking is purple sweet potato. The color is absolutely beautiful, and I would love to see you create a masterpiece with its mild flavor.

Unknown
Unknown
7 years ago

Can you use this cake recipe for your mini oreo sprinkle cakes? If so, what do you suggest for baking time/temp? thanks!!

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
7 years ago

Yes! This cake will work for sprinkle cakes for sure!

Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers
Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers
7 years ago

This is amazingly gorgeous… as always!

Elena
Elena
7 years ago

This cake reminds me of something out of Alice and Wonderland! I would love to make this; thank you for a wonderful post.

lindsay
lindsay
7 years ago

LOVE THIS CAKE! It's beautiful. Can't wait to try it out! A few questions:

1) what kind of matcha do you have? I haven't used it before so I don't know much about what kind is best.
2) do you know the name of the design of that transfer paper? I checked on fancy flours and I didn't see it.

You're kind of my hero 🙂 I've made almost 20 of your cakes and cookies and I've loved every one.

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
7 years ago

Hi @thatpersonwhohatesblogs!

I use Maeda-en culinary grade matcha. You can find it here. http://maeda-en.com/matcha/167-matcha-green-tea-powder.html#

I can't seem to find that particular transfer sheet either. They often discontinue designs, so that might have happened. There are other designs that would work with this cake, though- like this wood grain (love!) http://www.fancyflours.com/product/Woodgrain-Brown-Chocolate-Transfer-Sheet/brown-patterned-chocolate-transfer-sheets

or maybe even this bubble transfer sheet – http://www.fancyflours.com/product/Bubbles-Chocolate-Transfer-Sheet/gold-patterned-chcolate-transfer-sheets

I'm so glad you've made my recipes and loved them! That makes me so happy!

xo
h

Sue
Sue
7 years ago

Your cake looks amazing and sounds sooooooo GOOD! You even have the perfect cake stamd!

Kelly Williams
Kelly Williams
7 years ago

Yummy cake!!! I adore you for being a great baker! Very creative and I love the idea of meringue mushrooms. 🙂

Angela
Angela
7 years ago

This cake is beautiful! Love the mushrooms!
Angela
Food & Photography by Angela Gotborn

Jessica
Jessica
7 years ago

I love the mushrooms! Now I want to branch out to meringue oyster mushrooms and other fungi, just because I have mycology friends who would adore it.

anna @ annamayeveryday
anna @ annamayeveryday
7 years ago

That cake is honestly, unbelievably beautiful!

Unknown
Unknown
7 years ago

I love the mushrooms! They are so whimsical and fun!

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

8o… I am amazed!!!! I LOVE mushrooms, but never thought to put them on a cake!! you are an ingenious woman. I am definitely trying this. Thank you soooooooooooo much!

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

Oh wow. Just beautiful!

Unknown
Unknown
7 years ago

ı didnt quite get how you did the mushrooms but its looking perfect