Matcha, Cupcakes, and Polymer Clay

matcha in bowl

Matcha – green tea powder

I experimented with a new ingredient this weekend: matcha.  Matcha is the finely milled green tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony. It’s also used to dye foods. After working with it this weekend, I can see why. A very small amount gives a very intense green color to whatever it is added. And to your dishwater as you clean up your mess.

It resembles the very fine mica powders and pigments I use to tint my polymer clay. So, after using it to make some matcha cupcakes with matcha cream cheese frosting, I decided to mix it into some translucent polymer clay and see what happened.

matcha cupcakes

Matcha cupcakes with matcha cream cheese frosting.

But first, the cupcakes. I found a recipe on Pinterest last year for matcha cupcakes and finally got around to making them. One of my hobbies is making gourmet cupcakes and I love to experiment with “exotic” and unexpected ingredients.

These are the third tea-flavored cupcakes I have tried. I made some Earl Grey (technically, those were brownies), chai cupcakes with ginger cream cheese frosting, and Firefly sweet tea vodka cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting.

I don’t eat the cupcakes. I am a salty-savory person and don’t much care for sweets and baked goods. (but hide your potato chips and roasted almonds)  I just like to bake because it lets my inner organic chemist out to play. I take the cupcakes to the office where my co-workers magically make them disappear. I usually top them with a cream cheese frosting regardless of what the original recipe calls for. I detest American buttercream: it’s so flat and sickly sweet, it ruins a good cake. I have occasionally used dark, milk, and white chocolate ganaches (whipped and not) in lieu of frosting. And once I made a Swiss meringue buttercream. Whipping up that emulsion made my inner organic chemist giddy.

Anyway, once the cupcakes were done, complete with some little pink Cadbury mini eggs for garnish, I cleaned up the kitchen and turned it into my polymer clay studio. I mixed a teeny weeny bit of the matcha with some translucent polymer clay. I didn’t have any project in mind, so I just rolled the clay into some balls and then squished them between some texture sheets. That’s a shape idea I got from The Blue Bottle Tree’s rustic beads tutorial. Just as baking delights my inner organic chemist, squishing polymer clay amuses my inner child.

polymer clay beads tinted with matcha

Rustic beads made with matcha and translucent polymer clay.

I wasn’t sure what would happen to the color of the matcha-tinted clay during baking so I only made a few test beads. Once I took these out of the oven, I was wishing I had whipped up a whole big batch. These are unfinished – not sanded, painted, glazed, etc., and I may not do anything more to them. I love the saturated earthy organic green color with the rustic off-center shapes. Maybe I will dig through my stash to find some accent beads and make myself a bracelet. I will definitely make more of this recipe, in other bead shapes and sizes.

By the way, I also made myself a cup of matcha after cleaning the kitchen/studio for the second time in a day. I am sure it wasn’t nearly as sublime as what I could get from an authentic tea ceremony. But it was earthy and aromatic and soothing just the same.

4 thoughts on “Matcha, Cupcakes, and Polymer Clay

  1. Beth Petricoin

    Great thinking Tammy! The cupcakes look divine (wish I had your lack of a sweet tooth 😉 ) and the polymer is awesome! I love the way it turned out… I’ll have to go buy some Matcha now to play! 😉 Thanks for sharing!

    1. Tammy Adams

      Thanks, Beth. I used some high dollar organic matcha with the test beads, because that’s what I bought for baking. I will get some less expensive stuff for future bead making. Can’t wait to see what you do with it for your work.

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