Black Sesame Cupcakes with Matcha Frosting

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. We’re using that as an excuse to sit down more often and relax over a cuppa’. If you like combining matcha with your desserts, check out this milkshake!

Lately I’ve come across so many dessert recipes that combine the flavors of black sesame and green tea, and I’ve been so intrigued. As you may know, I’m already a fan of having my matcha green tea as a dessert rather than as a hot tea, so extending that passion to cakes seemed like a no-brainer. And since we liked the chocolate chip cookies with tahini so much, I was excited to experiment with another sesame-flavored baked good. It only took me a week and an embarrassing number of hours to hem and haw over recipes before deciding on these black sesame cupcakes with matcha green tea frosting.


In this post Molly Yeh provides a roundup of beautiful black sesame/green tea combinations (the subject of that post happens to be a green tea cake with black sesame frosting – the opposite of what we have going on here today!)… and if that weren’t enough, both of today’s recipes come from Molly’s site. What can we say, we’re fans.

Extending our search farther into the interwebs, the black sesame-matcha combination is nothing new.  From what I’ve learned it originates in Japanese cooking, where you’ll find many desserts that use flavors not extremely common to American treats, think beans, seeds like this sesame, and sweet potatoes.



The sesame seeds provide a nice nutty flavor, and in these cupcakes the dose is doubled with the addition of tahini. The matcha green tea provides a light, “green” flavor to the frosting. Together, they are delicious, unique, and not overly saccharine. Plus, the dark cake and bright green frosting makes for a fun color combination – I think these would be great in the springtime as the base for an Easter or general spring treat.

Black Sesame Cupcakes with Matcha Frosting

Black Sesame Cupcakes with Matcha Frosting


    For the Cupcakes
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 6 Tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (or not)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • For the Frosting
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp matcha green tea
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extra


    Make the Cupcakes
  1. Lightly toast the sesame seeds. Heat up a cast iron pan over medium-high heat on the stovetop, add the sesame seeds and toss every minute or so until you hear and see them start to pop, being careful not to burn the seeds. Let them cool, and then grind the seeds into a fine powder in a spice grinder.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and sesame seeds and set aside.
  3. The bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and tahini for a couple of minutes until the mixture is creamy and pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.
  4. With the mixer on a low speed, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and just as they are beginning to combine, whisk in the milk, being careful not to over-mix the batter.
  5. Pour the batter into a lined cupcake pan (I used a big and little set). Bake the large cupcakes for about 18 minutes and small for about 14; a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cake should come out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for at least 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire wrack.
  6. Frost once completely cooled.
  7. Whip up the Frosting
  8. Place all frosting ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until well combined. Frost the cakes!



We were taking these cakes to a Valentine’s Day brunch for big and little kids, so it worked really well to make a combination of big and little cupcakes. As written, the recipe made 9 large cupcakes and 12 minis. I did something new for this brunch and didn’t frost the cakes. The cupcakes tasted great without frosting (almost like a sesame muffin), so this gave parents an easy out to keep the frosting off their kiddo’s cupcake/muffin, plus I wasn’t sure if having the green tea in it would be a turn-off for anyone who didn’t want their little one to have caffeine (even though it’s so slight).

Everything about these recipes and the flavor combination turned out beautifully, except for my bright idea to make them for a party. Now there are none left in the house and I may have to make another batch. Throw me a pitty party.

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