Green Tea Cupcakes with Red Bean (Azuki) Buttercream Frosting | Cupcake Project

Green Tea Cupcakes with Red Bean (Azuki) Buttercream Frosting

Green Tea Cupcakes

I don’t sell my cupcakes.  I’ve prepared cupcakes for weddings 1, 2, 3, and 4 (all good friends and family), but since then, I’ve steered clear of events.  Baking massive quantities of cupcakes – for me – makes the whole thing more work than play.  There are exceptions.

I received an email from my friend Andrew who heads up the St. Louis Osuwa Taiko.  He asked if I would accept the challenge of baking 50 – 100 Japanese-inspired cupcakes for a party to celebrate the visit of their parent taiko drumming group from Japan, Osuwa Daiko.  I jumped at the opportunity.  I loved the idea of experimenting with Japanese flavors and serving them to people from Japan – plus, Andrew invited Jonathan and me to stay for the party!  Fun!

I didn’t know what to expect from the Taiko party.  I imagined the two taiko groups standing around making awkward conversation based on their shared interest in drumming.  I hoped that maybe there would be some drumming.  I’d seen St. Louis Osuwa Taiko perform before and they are exhilarating to watch:

The party far exceeded my expectations!  Everyone was super friendly, and not only did they drum, but the U.S. and Japanese groups had a jam session where everyone let loose and played like no one was watching.  The energy in the room was through the roof.

And then, there was this…

Japanese Dragon

Members of the Nine Dragon Academy Lion Dance Group surprised everyone with an expert-level performance.  Seeing that up close was unforgettable.
But, the best part of the night for me was watching everyone enjoy the green tea cupcakes with read bean (azuki) buttercream frosting – we bake for the smiles, right?  Attendees raved about the cupcakes and many of them had two or even three!  They loved the fan toppers too (from The Paper Lot) and many taiko members cleaned the toppers off and wore them in their hair during the event.
Green Tea Cupcakes

Ujinotsuyu Matcha Hagoromo Green Tea Powder In Tin

The key to the green tea cupcakes is matcha powder (green tea powder).  This product can be a little hard to find unless you have an international market near you.  However, there are many varieties available on Amazon.  This is the one that I used.  One container was enough for exactly fifty cupcakes.

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Koshi an (Fine Sweeted Red Bean Paste) - 17.6oz (Pack of 1)

For the frosting, you'll need red bean paste.   If you're not used to it, beans in dessert can be odd.  Don't be scared.  Think of the sweetened mashed beans like fig paste - thick and sweet.  Be sure to buy the smooth/fine paste, otherwise you'll have unappetizing bean chunks in your frosting.

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Green Tea Cupcakes with Red Bean (Azuki) Buttercream Frosting

Yield: 16 cupcakes

Green Tea Cupcakes with Red Bean (Azuki) Buttercream Frosting


    Cupcake Ingredients
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons matcha powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • Frosting Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup smooth/fine red bean (azuki) paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


    Cupcake Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together sugar, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, matcha powder, and ginger.
  3. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you'll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, and oil until smooth.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  6. Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquid. (Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong. It's supposed to be that way.)
  7. Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
  8. Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it. If they are not done, test again in two minutes. If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
  9. When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don't own a cooling rack) to cool.
  10. Frosting Instructions
  11. Mix butter on high speed for three minutes or until light and fluffy.
  12. Mix in red bean paste until smooth.
  13. Mix in salt.
  14. Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time until fully combined.
  15. Spread or pipe on cooled cupcakes.
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15 Responses to Green Tea Cupcakes with Red Bean (Azuki) Buttercream Frosting

  1. Kristin @ Bake Something September 3, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    These sound great! I enjoy both matcha and azuki and have made green tea brownies but ive never used azuki. How is it? Are you going to try baking with it? The party looked fun! Loved the dragon.

    • Stef September 3, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

      Thanks! I bet the green tea brownies were fantastic! Azuki is tasty and easy to work with. For now, I was just going to stick with the frosting. But, maybe I’ll bake with it at some point. If you do, let me know!

  2. alex clarkson September 4, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    nice pictures and your cupcakes are too tempting. Thanks for the recipe will try these at home soon

  3. Chris September 6, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    Thanks for the recipe. What can I use in place of the yogurt?

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    What Can Green Tea Do For You : Some women choose to drink several cups a day because it can help reduce the effects of aging. Studies have shown that EGCG is almost 200 times more potent when combating aging process…

  5. Green Tea September 11, 2013 at 5:37 am #

    thanks for sharing these ideas it will be great to see these pice these are looking very temting and yummy

  6. Christine February 14, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    Awesome recipe! I just made it yesterday and it turned out awesome. I didn’t have plain yogurt at home so I ended up using vanilla greek yogurt and it worked out really well. Thanks!

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  1. Yaksik Cupcakes for a Korean Wedding | Cupcake Project - June 9, 2014

    [...] do it again.  However, when my friend Andrew buttered me up by reminding me how much he loved the green tea cupcakes that I baked for his taiko group and then asked if I could bake cupcakes for his upcoming nuptials, [...]

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