As spring is officially in full swing, it’s all about the gingham this time of year. Because I love it so much, for the longest time I’ve been trying to translate this iconic pattern into something edible for afternoon tea. Just in time for Easter, I finally figured it out, all thanks to one very special ingredient. If you’ve ever decorated cakes or cookies with fondant or gum paste before, you know that those methods of cake decorating involve a lot of, well…work! Pastel soy wrappers are the easiest way to create a gingham look to all your spring-themed cakes and cookies. The trick here is to cut with accuracy.All you need is a sharp knife (an X-acto knife works great), a ruler, and a cutting board. Long strips of soy wrapper can than be arranged directly atop of your iced confections in a criss-cross fashion. Even though soy wraps are more commonly used for savory recipes, their flavors are so mild that they easily compliment the flavors of sweets too!Use this simple decorating technique on the flat side of any baked confection, but do use a base of white icing so that the color of the wrapper comes though. Thanks to ingredients like powdered Sencha tea, yogurt and lemon juice, this cake has a bright-tart flavor, frosting to crumb. Serve these eye-catching Gingham Sencha Tea Cakes alongside decorated eggs for Easter or even for a outdoor picnic during the sunny days of summer. And don’t forget to pair these moist, tender cakes with some extra grassy Sencha for sipping on in between bites–this tea time won’t be complete without it!This post is sponsored by Yamamotoyama. Soy wrappers are often used for savory culinary creations, but since they have a very mild flavor, they work great for cake & cookie decorating too. Visit Yamamotoyama’s site to discover the rainbow of colors that they come in!
Gingham Sencha Tea Cakes
Makes 4- 4″ square cakes.
2 cups cake flour
3 Tbsp of Sencha green tea powder (I used 6 packets of Yamamotoyama’s Powdered Sencha)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 egg whites, at room temp
1 cup plain or lemon yogurt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
half-sheets of soy wrapper, cut into 10 cm x 1/2 cm strips (you’ll use about 18 strips per 4″ cake)
8″ square baking dish, greased well
1. Make the Cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the sugar with the rest of the dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine the yogurt, egg white and extracts and incorporate well. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until fluffy.
2. Add 1/3 amount of the wet mix to the butter, then lightly mix, then add 1/3 of the dry mix and lightly mix again. Alternating, add the rest of the wet and dry mixes. Continue mixing until everything is just incorporated.
3. Transfer the batter to a well-greased 8″ square baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Place the baked cake on a cooling rack. After completely cool, use a serrated knife cut the cake into 4″ squares before frosting.
4. Make the Frosting. Combine all the ingredients. Spread a thin layer of frosting on each of the cakes, enough to be opaque.
5. Decorate the Cakes. Arrange the soy wrapper strips first in one direction, spaced out a 1/2 cm in between each strip. Start placing the strips in the center of the cake, then work out to the edge.
Repeat this process in the opposite cross direction (2nd set of lines is perpendicular to the 1st set of lines), creating a gingham pattern. Again, start by placing first strip in the center, then work out to the edge until the gingham pattern is created.
***Serving Tip: If you need to cut the cakes after decorating, cut with a sharp knife while the cake is cold.