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Product Review: Matcha Cupcake from Whole Foods Market Bakery

MatchacupcakeProduct Information:

Where to Buy:  Whole Foods 

Note:  this cupcake is a specialty of the Bakery inside the Mills Plain Whole Foods Market in Vancouver, Washington.  I don’t know if they offer anything similar to it in other Whole Foods Markets.  

Taster’s Review:

OK, so this is a very local review, because the Matcha cupcake is a specialty of the Mills Plain Whole Foods Market in Vancouver, Washington.  (Sorry about those folks who don’t live close enough to make the jaunt.)  But I felt like this yummy cupcake deserved some praise.

I stopped by the bakery at my local Whole Foods because my oldest daughter and I have developed quite a fondness for Macarons, so I decided to pick up a yummy Macaron for each of us on my most recent visit.  While I was there drooling over the bakery case, I noticed this sign:  Stella’s Matcha Cake.  And I’m like … WHAT?

So I start browsing the case and I see the Matcha cupcakes.  Mmm!  I’m glad that they are cupcakes and not large layer cakes because … well, because I’m the only person in my household that would have been willing to try it.  I mean, the rest of my family might have tried it, but probably not.  I suspect that they would have looked at the green frosting and thought: “That’s weird.”  Which means: “I’m not going to try it.”

And I’m really glad I got the opportunity to try this because it’s totally YUM!  The cake itself doesn’t taste like it’s got Matcha in it, it tastes like a yellow cake.  Moist and flavorful and not too sweet.  It has been “tunneled” so that they could fill the cake with the Matcha frosting that tops the cake.  The Matcha used in this frosting is Townshend’s Tea Matcha, which is one that I haven’t yet had the opportunity to review, but hope to do so sometime soon.

For now, I must be content with trying it in Stella’s Magical Matcha frosting.  No, it’s not actually called that (at least I don’t think it is).  But I am calling it that, because this is amazingly good.  It’s sweet (most frosting is!) but I like that I’m not overwhelmed by the ratio of sugar and shortening.  It doesn’t taste like one of those cloyingly sweet frostings that you’d find in your typical grocery bakery that is more concerned with quantity than quality.  You can tell that some love and care went into this frosting.

I like that I can taste this and taste the Matcha, that the sugary sweetness doesn’t overpower the lovely vegetal notes of the Matcha.  It’s nicely balanced.  I think I can even taste more of the natural cacao notes of the Matcha when used to make a frosting.  I also taste a hint – just a hint! – of a citrus-y note to this frosting, like maybe a drop or two of lemon juice was added?  I don’t know, but it adds a nice contrast to the sweeter flavors.

This is really good!

So, if you happen to be anywhere near Vancouver, Washington, it’s certainly worth the trip to visit our Whole Foods market on Mills Plain and try one of these divine treats!  You’ll be happy you did!

Market Chai African Redbush Tea from MarketSpice

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  MarketSpice

Product Description:

Our standard chai spice blend with Rooibos, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Ginger, Nutmeg, Orange Peel and Vanilla flavoring. High in anti-oxidants and naturally caffeine free.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve had my share of rooibos chai teas in the past:  some good, some not so good.  This one is one of the best that I’ve tried.  The spices are robust, and I like the touch of orange and vanilla and even the nutmeg that’s been added to some of the “usual suspects” of masala chai. It is the strength of the spices that kicks this tisane “up a notch” for me because these delicious spices replace (or mask) that unappealing aftertaste of the rooibos.

In fact, there really is very little of the rooibos that I taste here.  I do taste the nutty character of the rooibos, and it is accented well with the nutty flavor of the nutmeg.

What I do taste in this cup is a delicious blend of warm spices.  These spices have a nice balance, because the tisane doesn’t taste overly ginger-y, or overly cinnamon-y.  It just tastes warm and spicy without being too over-the-top in spices.  The vanilla offers a deliciously sweet, creamy touch to the cup, while the orange perks up the flavors, adding a bright little citrus-y taste to the tisane while enhancing the rooibos natural fruity tones that are so often missed.

The rooibos leaves in this blend seem to be a bit smaller (finer?) than I usually see in rooibos blends, so I recommend steeping this tisane in a tea-bag type product such as these Tea Pockets to help keep the spent leaves out of your beverage.

This tisane doesn’t need any sweetener, although I don’t think the addition of some honey or turbinado sugar would hurt anything.  It would also make a tasty, caffeine free latte.

This is not only one of the best (if not the best) chai rooibos blends I’ve tasted, it is also one of the best rooibos blends I’ve had.  Period.  It’s awesome!