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The Original 1upcake (or, Minted Green Tea with White Chocolate Cupcakes)

September 22, 2009

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, my husband brought home a t-shirt for me. It featured what looked like a Super Mario Bros. mushroom sprouting from a cupcake wrapper, with the caption “1upcake”. And so a dream was born. I said, “I want to open a cupcakery! And call it 1upcakes!”

Then reality set in – reality being, a) I have no food-service experience, unless you count volunteering to schlep trays with my erstwhile church youth group at the Iowa State Trapshoot (don’t count it; it totally wasn’t service, two days a year isn’t experience, and it may or may not have been real food) and 2) we don’t really have the capital for me to start up any new ventures that would include a storefront lease and professional-grade ovens. I may salivate in an uber-attractive way whenever Robert Irvine swings open the double doors of a Blodgett, but sadly, drool is not cash.

Deterred from actually opening a business, but not from pretending I was a master cupcake artist (hahahahaha), I set about creating a signature 1upcake. It had to be green, with white dots, I insisted, to match the ubiquitous mushroom icon. What can you put in a cupcake that’s green??? Well, green tea is green. Mint is green. Might as well throw them both in. And for the white dots, white chocolate chips. Then add a white chocolate mousse filling to tie things together, sort of.

Okay, so it doesn't look EXACTLY like the mushroom . . .

Okay, so it doesn't look EXACTLY like the mushroom.

The recipe is based on a simple chiffon cupcake. After several iterations, I realized that by whipping the egg whites before the yolks, I could skip washing my stand mixer bowl in between steps. Personally, I think this may be one of my favorite realizations ever; I’d much rather have to wash an extra bowl afterwards than stop and wash mid-cycle. Straight matcha powder, I discovered, is horrendously expensive and impossible to find other than online, even in Chicago. I go to Starbucks and ask nicely for a cupful of their green tea powder; they have never balked at giving me a cupful at no charge, which is awesome. It is, reportedly, cut with sweetener, but it works just fine nonetheless. In total for the cupcakes and frosting, you’ll need 5 tablespoons (aka 2.5 ounces).

Minted Green Tea Cupcakes

(Adapted from Alton Brown’s Chocolate Chiffon Cupcake recipe. I am so, so sorry that he uses weight instead of measure.)

  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 5/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 4 oz cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 oz matcha powder
  • 6 oz sugar (divided use)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp mint extract

Preheat oven to 325F and place liners in 2 cupcake pans (one batch makes ~24 cupcakes).

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whip attachment, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until foamy. Reduce the speed to low and trickle in 1 ounce of sugar. Increase the speed back to high and beat to stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Scrape the beaten egg whites into a mixing bowl and reserve.

Combine matcha powder and hot water (I do this right in the measuring cup). Stir/whisk until well combined. Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Back to the stand mixer (no need to wash; this is why I do the egg whites first). Whisk the egg yolks with 5 ounces sugar on high for about two minutes, until the mixture is pale yellow and forms “ribbons” when lifted. Add the matcha mixture, oil and mint extract; whisk just until combined.

Fold the egg whites into the batter in thirds. (I like to gently fold until no white streaks remain; failure to do so can result in green-and-white striped cupcakes.) Transfer the batter into the cupcake pans (a 2-ounce disher is perfect for this). Bake for 17 minutes, turn on the oven light and check for uneven browning. If they look uniform, leave ’em in for another 8 minutes; if not, turn the pans and then let them go 8 minutes more. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a rack before filling and frosting.

White Chocolate Mousse Filling

  • 8 ounces white chocolate
  • 1 cup whipping cream (divided use)
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup

Chill a stainless steel mixing bowl, beaters and whipping cream in the freezer.

Combine the white chocolate, corn syrup and 1/4 cup whipping cream in a small, heavy saucepan and melt over very low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.

Beat the remaining 3/4 cup whipping cream in the chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cooled white chocolate mixture in 2 additions. Chill until cold.

Green Tea Buttercream

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tbsp matcha powder
  • 2-3 tbsp cream or milk

Cream the butter. Gradually add half the powdered sugar and the matcha powder. If the mixture looks too thick or dry, add a tablespoon of milk. Continue adding powdered sugar and/or milk until the sugar has all been added and the mixture reaches the desired consistency.


Fill the cooled cupcakes with white chocolate mousse. I use a Wilton piping tip (#230, I believe) and a pastry bag. Alternatively, you could fill the cupcakes by the “cone method” – for me, this takes roughly 3x longer than piping in the filling, but YMMV. (Note:  the recipe I’ve given will leave you with more than enough mousse for 24 cupcakes; you could maybe halve it, but I like to have extra just in case the piping bag explodes or whatever.)

Frost the cupcakes with the green tea buttercream. I just slather it on with a butter knife, since my like-a-mushroom design calls for more of a smooth, rounded dome. Use a piping bag if you prefer.

Top the frosted cupcakes with white chocolate chips. I flip mine upside down to make them look like polka dots, but again, do as you wish.

Filled cupcake

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2009 7:09 pm

    No, the white chocolate chips must be flipped upside down. That is key. I’m sorry.

  2. Carissa permalink*
    September 24, 2009 9:26 am

    LOL. Well, if Aunt Becky says so, it must be true! And you’ve sampled these, so you ARE an authority. 😉

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