Another week, another birthday cake! This one was made for one of my husband’s coworkers. I asked her what her favorite cake was, and after a minute of thinking, she (very politely) requested green tea cheesecake (then proceeded to insist that I really didn’t have to go out of my way to make it).
To set the record straight, while I love tea, I don’t really like green tea all that much. I find it completely tasteless and boring. However, I was excited to take this challenge because I knew it would showcase something I rarely use: subtle flavors. It can be really difficult to achieve just the right amount of a flavor (just enough to be noticeable, but not so much that it becomes gross). The base recipe has to be just right, because any flaws or inadequacies will be that much more apparent if they don’t have bold flavors to hide behind.
For that reason, I used Taste of Home’s Layered Turtle Cheesecake recipe as the basis for this recipe (as I did with my Lemon Pomegranate Cheesecake). This recipe is only just barely related because I used a different crust, stripped out all of the chocolate, caramel, and nuts, and added in green tea latte mix. I chose to use the green tea latte mix rather than straight matcha powder in part because it was easier for me to procure at Trader Joe’s, but also in part because the latte powder contains powdered milk and sugar, which I felt made the cake creamier and sweeter. If you choose to use traditional matcha powder instead, I suggest adding it 1 tablespoon at a time and tasting the batter after each edition.
The mint raspberry sauce is completely optional, but it’s a nice addition if you (like me) just want some fruit with your mild, green tea. The longer you leave it to steep, the more mint flavor should infuse into it. I didn’t have the patience to wait very long, so mine wasn’t very minty. If you have more patience than I do, let me know how yours turns out!
You will need the following ingredients:
For the graham cracker crust:
- 1½ cups graham crackers, finely ground
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
For the green tea cheesecake filling:
- 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
- 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. ground cardamom
- ½ cup Matcha Green Tea Latte powder (Trader Joe’s)
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
For the mint raspberry sauce:
- 8 oz. raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 3 sprigs fresh mint, bruised
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
For baking ambiance:
- I’m on a Squeeze kick again lately, so East Side Story and Argybargy have been on the stereo constantly (I’ll bet my downstairs neighbor just looooves it).
Let’s get baking!
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Wrap the outside of a springform pan tightly in aluminum foil. If you want to make it easier to transfer the finished cake to a serving platter, you can also line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper.
Using a food processor (or a plastic bag and a rolling pin), crush the graham crackers to the consistency of sand.
Stir together the ground graham crackers, sugar, ginger, and melted butter until all ingredients are uniform and the mixture holds together when pressed.
Dump the crust mixture into the springform and press it evenly across the bottom and as far up the sides as you can manage.
Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Set aside for now.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or other large bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and sugars until smooth.
Beat in the flour, cream, vanilla, cardamom, and matcha latte powder. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to make sure that the batter is fully mixed.
Beat in the eggs until they are just incorporated (there will probably still be some yellow streaks in the batter). Avoid the urge to beat it until it’s uniform because over-beating can lead to cracking.
Spread the batter on top of the crust. Shake the pan from side to side and drop it on the counter a few times to make sure the batter is evenly distributed, and that it doesn’t have any air bubbles inside.
Place the pan inside a high-sided roasting pan and add 1″ of hot water to the roasting pan (this is why you needed to wrap the springform in foil).
Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the top is matte, not shiny, and the center barely jiggles anymore. If you see tiny cracks beginning to form around the edges, it’s probably done (and fear not, because these won’t be noticeable after the cake cools).
Remove the cake from the water bath and carefully remove the foil from the outside as soon as it is cool enough to handle. Let the cake cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edge of the springform to release the cake from the edge. Leave the cake to cool for another hour on the cooling rack, then transfer it to the fridge to chill overnight before unmolding.
While the cake is cooling, you can prepare the raspberry sauce (it will become mintier the longer it sits in the fridge). Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the raspberries and mint leaves and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the raspberries completely break down and the sauce begins to thicken. Transfer the sauce to a heat-proof container and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
If you don’t mind raspberry seeds, you can just pick out the mint stems and larger leaves and serve the sauce as is. If you don’t like them, you can strain the sauce through a fine, mesh strainer. You can also reduce the sauce on the stove after it’s steeped if you find it to be too thin.
Either way, carefully remove the springform ring and transfer the cake to a serving platter (if desired) after it has chilled overnight. Slice, drizzle with raspberry sauce (or serve it on the side), and serve.
You can download the printable PDF recipe here: Green Tea Cheesecake