Ichigo Abekobe Cupcakes (Matcha Cupcakes with Adzuki Paste Filling and Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

(From the Cupcake Archives)

I've been wanting to make a cupcake with Japanese flavors for some time now, and after the matcha ice cream cupcake, I decided this was the perfect chance to continue in that direction. Part of the inspiration came from Cheryl's Mooncake Cupcakes, which I must admit are quite awesome. Plus I had a lot of matcha left over after the matcha bombe cupcake I did.

Ichigo Abekobe means "Reverse Strawberry" in Japanese, so named because of the green cake and pink frosting, colors opposite of a real strawberry (so I took liberty with the pink, sue me). Many of these flavors are found in Japanese sweets and candies, and compliment each other well.

The bitter and slightly pungent flavor of the matcha is made slightly sweet in this cake. The bean paste is amazing, I can see why it's loved by so many. It's sweet and, well, beany. The strawberry cream cheese frosting is delish as ever, packed with fresh flavor and fruity aroma.

These are time consuming, I won't kid you, but they taste different and make for a very unique cupcake. You could cut some work out and just throw in a bit of matcha into the cream cheese frosting instead of macerating strawberries, or cut out the bean paste if you like. For me this was mostly a cupcake that allowed me to experiment with some new flavors, still each component is delicious on it's own and I hope to try out using adzuki beans in a few new ways.

Adzuki "Red Bean" Paste
What You'll Need...

1 1/4 cup of red beans

3/4 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

What You'll Do...
1) Place the beans in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit overnight in the fridge.

2) Rinse and place in a pot with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for an hour and fifteen minutes. Drain again.

3) Puree the beans in a food processor or blender.

4) Warm the vegetable oil in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the sugar and bean puree and stir with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes. Place in a bowl and let cool.

Matcha "Green Tea" Cupcakes (Filled with Adzuki Red Bean Paste)
Makes 15 cupcakes / 350 F oven

What You'll Need...

1 stick of unsalted butter, r
oom temperature
1 cup of sugar

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of kosher salt

1/2 cup of milk

1 tablespoon of matcha

What You'll Do...

1) Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Beat the butter for about 2 minutes until well creamed. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through.

2) Add the eggs one at a time and beat for 45 seconds each. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

3) Combine flour, salt, and baking powder and sift together. Combine the milk and matcha together. Add some of the flour mixture, then some of the milk, alternating between dry-wet-dry and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix together until just combined.

4) Fill the cupcakes about 1/4 full and smooth out the top. Place a small amount (1 tablespoon, more or less) of the bean paste on top. Cover with more cupcake batter until almost full.

5) Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes, rotating the pan after the first 15. Check with a toothpick for doneness of the cake on top. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
What You'll Need...
8 ounces or 1 package of cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
5 strawberries
2 spoonfuls of sugar

What You'll Do...
1) Macerate strawberries with about 1-2 tbs sugar for 15 minutes.

2) Put strawberries in a small saucepan and heat under medium heat with lid on. Cook strawberries for approximately 8 minutes till strawberries cook down and become soft and saucy. Place in a blender and pulse a few times. Taste and adjust sweetness with sugar until you get the desired sweetness. Allow to cool completely.

3) Using a hand blender, puree until you get the desired smoothness or chunkiness. Cool before using.

4) Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl.

5) Beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add half of the sugar, beat until combined. Add strawberry sauce until you achieve the right color and flavor, making sure not to add too much or the frosting will be too soft. Gradually add remaining sugar (more if you have to) until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.


  1. I can't even pronounce the title of that cupcake. So I will just call it the cupcake with the awesome green insides.

  2. How did you fill the cupcake?

  3. Annonymous - Please see Step 4 in the cupcake instructions.

  4. The green is so intense in this cupcake - would be worth making for the 'wow' factor alone, though I dare say the unusual ingredients and resultant flavours would elicit comments along the way as well.

    I have to ask - what process do you follow when creating a new cupcake recipe? The flavours and ingredients are so exotic at times - how do you conceive of combining them the way you do?

  5. Rob - Honestly, I am not quite sure. Mostly just some random ingredient or recipe (for anything from soups to salads) I have seen just kinda lingers in my head for a while and I decide to make a cak out of it. From there it's just thinking about what other flavors would pair well with it, and how to translate all that into a dessert.

  6. They look great but I'm not too sure on the ingredients they don't quite seem to go together. But then as they say the proof of the pudding is in the tasting. If you don't try you will never know.

  7. Hey Garrett, don't know aboout Sac but over here in Aust, the red bean paste is readily available in big asian grocers so maybe you could get that out and save some time. They taste just as good, maybe a little sweeter but it's definitely worth the time saved. =) and those matcha cupacakers look reallyreally yummyy. I'm all for matcha and adzuki bean!!!

  8. Hi Garrett, right now in Manila, Starbucks is offering an adzuki bean frappuccino. It's terribly sweet, and I know sweet! But I like adzuki very much and the paste is freely available here in the Japanese stores. Matching it with matcha is an innovative idea. Great job!

  9. Looks great. Something like this would probably work great with this recipe - baking matcha.

  10. Garrett - Wow. Your recipe and photos have me absolutely salivating. I bet those would be great alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

  11. Talk about an awesome cupcake with an awesome topic. I love Japanese cuisine, adore it really. Everything in this cupcake is full of win with the homemade koshi an and the matcha cake!!!

    You don't know how I love you now.....

    Scruffy moo cards - You are so right the proof is in the pudding. The combination of matcha, adzuki paste, and any fruit is such a common combination over in Japan and neighboring countries with alot of their sweets. They are really an experience! =D

  12. Your blog is super. So are your photographies. They make me hungry. I have spent a nice moment when seeing them. Thanks a lot.

  13. These cupcakes are fantastic! My roommate and I made these as well as many others last year, and although not what was expected, they were strangely delightful. The recipe made much more bean paste than was necessary, but the excess made a great addition to a vegetarian chile.

  14. These are amazing, as are many of your recipes.

    With this one, though, I had about twice as much red bean paste as I needed to fill 15 or so cupcakes; with that in mind (and a lack of powdered sugar in the kitchen) I halved the frosting recipe and had enough to cover them all. Great stuff, though!


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