Carrot cupcakes with genmaicha frosting

Konnichiwa! Intern #156 Maren here. After my senpai Yena’s series on tea and food pairings which I got to help with early in my time here, I was inspired to do some experimental baking of my own. I have a particular love for carrot cake and cream cheese frosting, and I thought the sweet and creamy flavours could pair well with the roastier, nuttier notes of genmaicha. To keep the genmaicha flavour as strong as possible, I wanted to use cooking powder rather than infused tea, and I wanted to avoid baking it. So my idea was to use the powder in the frosting rather than the cake itself. After a few more or less successful experiments, here I am with a recipe to share!

I baked my first attempt in a loaf tin, and didn’t quite get the ingredient proportions or timings right. The flavour was good, but the cake texture was too moist. The genmaicha frosting was a hit with everyone though, so for the second try I kept the frosting the same and fiddled with the cake recipe. This time I went for cupcakes rather than cake to save on baking time and for ease of distribution, and this was definitely a good call. I did break my piping bag immediately, so the aesthetics suffered, but reviews were good all round. The cupcakes on the third attempt went a bit wonky (hungry distracted baking may have been to blame here) – they erred more on the side of quiche than cupcake. So for the recipe proper we’re combining the 2nd batch cupcakes with 3rd batch frosting.

Cupcake ingredients

  • 2 cups / 250 g flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cup / 295 ml vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup / 100 g granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup / 150 g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-3 big carrots, around 300 g


  • 1 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 dash of whiskey or rum
  • pecans, walnuts, raisins, or anything else you want to add in (I’ve not tested with these as we have some allergies to consider, but I think they would all go nicely)

Frosting ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp genmaicha powder
  • genmai for sprinkling on top


  1. Preheat your oven to 175 C / 350 F.
  2. Shred or grate your carrots into small chunks.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, and toss the shredded carrots in until they’re well-coated.
  4. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl and mix well.
  5. Fold the wet ingredients into the mixture of carrots and dry ingredients.
  6. Line your muffin tin with baking cups, and scoop your batter into them. They will rise quite a bit, so don’t overfill!
  7. Bake at 175 C / 350 F for about 25-30 minutes, until the cupcakes are golden brown on top and inserting a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. While the cupcakes are cooling, mix the powdered sugar and cream cheese into frosting, and add around 1 tablespoon of genmaicha powder. You can do this to taste – if you prefer a gentler genmaicha flavour, use less powder, and vice versa.
  9. Wait until the cupcakes have cooled to frost them, otherwise the frosting might melt off. When they’re cool, frost them and top with a sprinkle of genmai!

Cooking powders are a fantastic way to incorporate tea into cooking and baking because the flavours of the tea will always come through more strongly when using powder than infused tea. This is why we have several tea cooking powders available at Obubu – various matcha grades, houjicha, genmaicha, sencha, and wakoucha. They’re even available altogether as a handy little sampler! And if you need more inspiration for your cooking powders, a collection of past interns’ and staff members’ tea recipes is available free to download here.

Many thanks to everyone in Obubu House for helping me bake, for taste-testing everything (even the less successful batches), and of course for the emotional support when everything went wrong in new and interesting ways each time! Let us know if you give these cupcakes a try – I hope you enjoy!

Posted in Interns, Tea Recipes.

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