Goji berries, as they are most commonly referred to in the English-speaking world, are also known as Chinese wolfberries. And rightfully so, as you’d be surprised at how often these unassuming little red berries are used in Chinese cooking. In fact, they are a celebrated ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In many parts of Asia, dried goji berries are added to a variety of sweet and savoury dishes such as almond jelly, rice congee, herbal soups and herbal teas.
While the Chinese have been using these berries in their cooking for centuries, the rest of us are only now starting to realise the benefits of eating them. Frequently classified as a superfruit, goji berries are high in antioxidants and contain many essential minerals and vitamins, including vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, C and E.
I don’t know about you, but dried goji berries taste much like tomatoes to me; a little sweet, a little salty, a little tangy. They also make an interesting textural addition to this green tea cake. Soaked in water to soften and plump them up, the berries are then folded into the matcha-infused batter for an extra sweet-savoury burst of flavour.
The cake bakes to a lovely brown on the outside, but slice it open and you will find pretty green speckled with dark red. Not overly cloying, it is much like a sweet bread rather than a cake. You might like to try toasting a slice and giving it a smear of red bean paste or strawberry jam. Other serving suggestions include a side of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Goji Berry Green Tea Cake
1 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon matcha (green tea) powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup raw caster sugar
1/3 cup dried goji berries (Chinese wolfberries), soaked in water for 10 minutes, drained
5 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 7x3x4 inch loaf tin with non-stick baking paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, matcha, baking powder and salt. Mix well, set aside.
- Using a stand mixer, combine eggs and sugar until pale and thick (ribbon stage). This can take several minutes.
- Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture and add the softened goji berries. Gently fold the mixture with a spatula until berries are evenly distributed, then fold in the melted butter. Do not overmix.
- Pour batter into prepared tin, evening out the mixture with the spatula as needed.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove cake from tin and remove paper lining before leaving to cool on a wire rack.