It’s been a while since I’ve felt as stressed as I have been in the last few days. I wish I could just chill out and detach myself from work like most normal people do, but one of my greatest flaws has always been being too absorbed in all the things I do. Regardless of whether I like it or not, I always feel that if I’m already spending my time doing something I might as well do it well. Even in the things I am not so enthusiastic about, some of my passion floods over. On the opposite end, when I am actually enthusiastic about something and it fails, my heart crumbles to pieces painfully. Either way, I think we can agree that being too much of a “perfectionist” can be the source of a lot of stress.
In my need for things to be perfect I think I expect too much out of other people too. I always expect them to work at the same level as I do; expect them to give as much effort and time and sweat as I do. Usually this sort of trust ends in misery and disappointment, as I seem to never fully learn even if I’ve been burned countless times before. In my lifetime I have come across maybe only four or five people I can say do have my back for real (and I thank the Lord everyday for these people), but I guess having too much hope and faith in others can be a weakness too.
Anything that exists in the real world feels ten times more frustrating than anything I ever experienced in the world of academe. Back then all I had to work for was myself. Any triumph and failures would directly affect only my grades and whether or not I reach my goal of graduating with honours (which I did thankfully). But when you’re out in the real world it’s no longer just about you. There is an overwhelming amount of factors seemingly welded together in a chain– a lot of people are counting on you to deliver, a lot of events depend on whether you execute well or not. And if you think about how you’re going to make sure absolutely everything in the chain gets what it wants, then it will drive you crazy. So sometimes, it helps to step back. Ironically this is easier said than done in my case.
Usually I just get mad when things don’t go smoothly as planned. I get really pissed off when people mess up simple tasks and instructions. And you know what comes next: Stresssssss. I hate stress. I didn’t use to experience it so much before but it has admittedly become a mainstay in my life as of late.
There have been a lot of moments in these last two weeks when I’ve had to hold my anger very very tightly in the palm of my hands, and it’s a good thing that I know myself well enough to know how to make my anger and stress flow out of me:
1. I’ve sat in a corner and forced myself to breathe in and out, all the while thinking I’m too young to let myself get this worked up.
2. I’ve blasted Charli XCX and Boom Clapped my head off in my room after coming home from work. (I am currently insanely addicted to that song though I haven’t watched the film it is attached to.)
3. And of course I have baked. But I didn’t just bake any regular thing. It had to be something that I would look at and feel relaxed with, and nothing does that like the green-tinged pastries produced by some great-quality matcha.
In my world, nothing much else says zen like the colour green. I can sit by myself in a breezy park and stare at the gentle swaying of the trees on the leaves and instantly it would pick me up. I can stare at the horizon while sitting on a grassy field and the meeting of greens and blues would lift up my spirits. And on the days the outdoors are ruled out because of the arrival of the rainy season, now I can stay home and bake something green.
I know it’s tough to buy real matcha powder in the Philippines, but because of the influx of online shops it seems like a lot of things are more accessible these days. Previously I spent so much time looking for a seller that imports Japanese brands, but finally I came across Cebu-based online store Matcha King. I got myself a pack of 87 grams of their self-packaged Organic Matcha for Php 400 (for Manila residents please remember to pay an extra Php 50 service fee when paying for your orders!) but Claire from Matcha King was kind enough to throw in a 34 gram packet for me. 🙂
To say I am very pleased with the quality of the products is an understatement. Right from the smell I can tell it is of good quality. The colour is also a lovely natural green that is not the pale kind found in sweetened instant mixes. Green tea has long been known to be healthful and full of antioxidants, so stocking up on matcha was a no-brainer for me. Yet I’ve no plans in drinking this, and this bundt cake is the first among many I am planning to bake with this beautiful ingredient.
I love bundt cakes mostly for the way they look. They are essentially just cakes but shaped in a cute way depending on your mold. My Wilton pan is of the more common shape. I got it from Gourdo’s and I have plans of buying more intricate molds, but they can be a bit pricey depending on the brand so I am pacing myself still.
Anyway, bundt pans are a great tool to make cakes look more interesting, and add to that the beautiful green crumb of this cake thanks to the matcha and you’ve got yourself a marvel! It tastes fantastic too, with the matcha flavour a tickle in the tastebuds. My beef with this cake is the texture though, because it is strangely dense despite the amount of oil and the yoghurt.
The original recipe uses only half the amount of oil but I’ve doubled it here. I also think that yoghurt is not enough to create a moister crumb, so I strongly suggest using sour cream instead. I’ve had excellent experiences with cakes made with sour cream, and though it might be a little less diet-friendly it may just produce a nicer crumb. The original recipe also has the option of adding almond extract but that will just overpower the matcha flavour, so I’ve omitted it in the recipe below. You can add it if you wish, just about a quarter of a teaspoon or less would be enough.
I know this is a very pretty cake, but because I am a crazy crumb lady complaining about the crumb comes naturally to me. It’s a good thing this cake does actually taste really good, because that almost erases everything else from the equation. 😉
Green Tea Bundt Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 2 Tablespoons pure Matcha green tea powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream*
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup olive oil, light or extra virgin is fine
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 6-cup bundt pan.
- 2. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Whisk or sift them together. Set aside.
- 3. In a smaller mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the sour cream just until combined. Pour in the oil and the extracts and mix together.
- 4. Fold the wet ingredients with the dry until just combined. Make sure not to overbeat.
- 5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, giving the pan a little tap on the countertop to make sure all spaces in the bundt pan is filled.
- 6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, checking at the 30 minute mark if a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean or with only a few crumbs clinging to it.
- 7. Take the bundt out from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Flip the bundt over onto a serving platter; it should slide out easily. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar before serving with a cup of tea.
It’s so hard to get good help these days! Haha! But it’s a good thing his picky palate was pleased with this cake. It’s worth a try despite the density issues, I tells ya!
Sugar and Cinnamon
I relate so much to this post! I’m such a perfectionist with the silliest of things as well, when I should just get over it and leave it be! And green is definitely a zen colour, especially matcha green. This cake looks delicious, and very calming!
It could’ve been me talking through this post because I feel and experience the exact same things as you! I’m always stressed out at work and I carry it home with me. I don’t know why it’s so damn hard for me to let it go. Being a perfectionist definitely hurts. I’m trying to find ways to de-stress and calm myself down but when I’m unable to, that causes me even more stress! Craziness. I think I need a few slices of your beautiful, moist, fluffy green tea cake with a big cup of tea to get myself into a zen-state of mind. This is lovely!
I totally agree. Sometimes when I’m feeling hopeless about trying to unwind I just go straight to bed. The way when I wake up, I’ve got some energy to deal with whatever I did not get to finish the night before!
Can I make this in muffin forms instead?
Hi there Natalie! Yes I do believe you can. 🙂
Thank you for this very good idea. Recently jumped into the matcha bandwagon. God bless!