Last updated on April 5th, 2020
Fluffy gluten-free matcha cupcakes with honey matcha buttercream. Added honey keeps the crumb super moist! Easily halve the recipe to make just six or make a full batch as a treat for a few days. You can also leave the frosting off entirely and eat them as muffins – they’re that good!
What do you stress bake? For me, it’s cake. At any given time, I have all the ingredients needed for homemade cupcakes. At any given time, I can also come up with a sufficient reason why we need cupcakes. Maybe I’m just stressed a lot? You too?
Come to think of it, I could easily replace cake with cookies in the above paragraph. I don’t discriminate when homemade gluten-free dessert’s involved.
I baked these gluten-free matcha cupcakes as the first cake course of my isolation birthday. Do any of you also bake your own birthday cake?
Whether you’ve got a birthday to celebrate or just need to bake out some anxiety, these matcha cupcakes do the trick. You get homemade cupcakes AND the matcha offers a calming boost of energy (“zenergy”). Okay, the sugar probably negates that effect, but they’re delicious nonetheless!
Bonus: You can easily halve the recipe to make just six!
Moist Matcha Green Tea Cupcakes Recipe
The bit of honey in these matcha green tea cupcakes does more than offering a sweet floral hint. It also helps to keep the crumb of these matcha cupcakes extra moist when baked.
These gluten-free matcha cupcakes taste like a vanilla cupcake with slightly nutty vegetal notes and a hint of honey.
Many cupcakes need frosting, but these are moist and flavorful enough that you could leave off the frosting and call them matcha muffins. If muffins are what you’re after, sprinkle some coarse sugar on top for crunch!
How to make Green Matcha Cake?
There are two important factors when making bright green matcha cupcakes.
First, start with high-quality matcha. Your cake can only be as green as the matcha you use and low-quality matcha tends to be browned from oxidation with unpleasant bitter notes. I always use Encha organic matcha, and for these cupcakes, their culinary or latte grade matcha work great! If you plan to drink it later, get some latte grade and make yourself a matcha latte while you bake!
The second is to use baking powder as the only leavener to keep the color bright green. Baking soda is a chemical alkaline which will produce more browning in baked goods. For a matcha cupcake, muddy greenish-brown doesn’t look super appetizing (though it’ll taste equally as delicious). Baking powder contains a built-in acid which keeps the cake bright green. If you’re interested in learning more about how this works, I’ve explained more in detail in my gluten-free matcha cake with black sesame streusel.
Honey Matcha Buttercream
Honey matcha buttercream makes these green tea cupcakes taste like a matcha latte baked up into a soft fluffy cake. Does that mean you can eat one for breakfast?
Gluten-Free Flour Substitutes for Matcha Cupcakes Recipe
Many of you ask about flour substitutions for cakes so here are my recommendations! As with any recipe, when you make substitutions, the result will differ slightly. I have not tested these gluten-free matcha cupcakes with every possible variation described below, but I have baked other cakes with these substitutions!
- All flours: Sub in all the flours by weight with all-purpose gluten-free flour. Make sure to use one that is not bean/chickpea-based.
- Gluten-Free Oat Flour: Oat flour adds to the fluffiness and cakiness to the crumb. It also helps your baked goods stay moist.
- Millet Flour: Millet flour is a neutral flour that’s used almost as the mediator between the oat and sweet rice flour.
- Sweet Rice Flour: Sweet rice flour is the most difficult flour to substitute in gluten-free baking. It’s the magic weapon for gluten-free baking as its stickiness helps bind the baked good together, while adding chewiness.
- Sub in by weight: All-purpose gluten-free flour, or (possibly) tapioca flour (Note, I have not tested gluten-free cake with tapioca flour in place of sweet rice flour, but it is what I would try first. If you can’t eat rice or can’t get sweet rice flour, you might also want to look for an alternative recipe. Here’s my matcha olive oil cake that doesn’t use sweet rice flour!)
More Gluten-Free Matcha Baked Goods
- Matcha Mochi Cake
- Gluten-Free Matcha Olive Oil Cake
- Gluten-Free Matcha Crepe Cake
- Matcha Macarons
- Gluten-Free Matcha Cream Tarts
- Gluten-Free Matcha Shortbread Cookies
And for everything you want to know about matcha with so many more matcha recipes, check out my ultimate guide to matcha.
Gluten-Free Matcha Cupcakes
- ½ cup (81g) sweet rice flour (different from "white rice flour" or "brown rice flour")
- ½ cup (77g) millet flour
- ½ cup (60g) gluten-free oat flour
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (*See note)
- 1½ tablespoon high-quality matcha powder
- 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup cane sugar
- 1½ tablespoons honey
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened slightly above room temperature
- 2¼ cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon matcha powder
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon heavy cream or whole milk
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with liners.
- Whisk the sweet rice flour, millet flour, oat flour, xanthan gum, matcha, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides and beat in the honey, vanilla and eggs, one at a time.
- With the mixer on low, add half of the dry ingredients alternatively with the milk.
- Divide the batter among 12 cupcake liners and bake for 22-24 minutes, until the center springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs. The cupcakes should still be very green and only slightly browned on the edges, if at all, when finished. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting.
- Sift together the powdered sugar and matcha powder.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat the butter over medium speed until smooth. With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar, scraping down the sides as needed, and beat until smooth.
- Add the honey, cream, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes. For the pattern above, use a large closed-star pastry tip.
*You can leave out the xanthan gum if needed, but the results will be slightly less chewy and fluffy