May 23, 2016 4 min read

Nettle Moss Cake + Matcha Genoise Recipe with douglas fir - grapefruit buttercream

At Kenko Tea most of our matcha recipes are easy and delicious. But every now and then a more challenging recipe emerges, and it’s impossible to resist having a go!

We’re excited to share this one with you - Matcha Genoise Layered Nettle Lemon Moss Cake by Betsy Hinze aka @sand_or_sugar.

Betsy is a passionate artist and culinary designer from the Northwest United States. She loves making art with glass, ceramics and fibre.

All her artworks and recipes are inspired by the time she spends in nature, and she loves using natural herbs and ingredients for her works. Find out more about her amazing artworks and recipes here:

The Turkish dessert Ispanakli Kek, which is a bright green cake coloured with spinach, inspires Besty’s Moss Cake!

Spinach Cake, Turkish dessert cake made with Spinach

(Photo from

The cake is composed of the Stinging Nettle Lemon Cake that is layered with Matcha Almond Genoise and Douglas Fir-Grapefruit buttercream. The cake crumbs coat the top of the buttercream, making it look JUST like moss.

This cake is flavoured with plants that grow in forests such as stinging nettle, a herbal remedy for arthritis and muscle pains.

Are you ready for the challenge? Let’s get started!

Layered Matcha Genoise Nettle Lemon MossCake


Nettle Lemon Cake:
  • 1 cup stinging nettle puree*
  • 1 cup spinach puree**
  • 1 ½ cup shortening or unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 lemons’ zest
  • 4 cups flour (I used gluten-free baking mix)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

*Nettle Puree:

Stinging nettle, herbal medicine for joint & muscle aches

(Nettle leaves from

  1. Pickall the leaves of the stinging nettles (wear gloves!)
  2. Boilthem for a couple of minutes, thenstrain &plunge them into an ice bath to blanch
  3. Puree them in a blender into a smooth paste (Make 1 cup)

**Spinach Puree:Blend raw baby spinach leaves in the blender with water until it forms a smooth puree.

Matcha Genoise:
  • 2 whole eggs
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 ½ tsp matcha powder
  • ⅛ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tbsp white granulated sugar
Douglas Fir - Grapefruit Buttercream:
  • 1 cup shortening
  • A pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar (adjust the amount)
  • 1 tbsp ground douglas fir needles, fresh
  • 1-2 tbsp grapefruit juice


Nettle Lemon Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven at 375 F or 190 C (this lower temp helps keep the color very green!)
  2. Cream shortening (or unsalted butter) with sugar in a large bowl
  3. Add 6 eggs, one at a time and mix until they are well combined
  4. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest, mix well
  5. Add nettle puree and spinach puree. (*Note: stinging nettles is slightly stronger than spinach, so I substituted half and half. In retrospect, doing all of either nettles or spinach would be also fine!)
  6. Sift flour, baking powder and salt, mix well in another bowl
  7. Mix the flour mixture into the spinach mixture until combined
  8. Bake the batter for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
Matcha Genoise:

*Adopted fromSprinkle Bakes

Matcha Almond Genoise Sheet Cakes

(Matcha Genoise Sheets (L) by Sprinkle Bakes)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F or 220 C
  2. Combine whole eggs, confectioner sugar and almond flour in a bowl with hand mixer till batter is lightened in color
  3. Add matcha powder, mix on low speed till combined
  4. Whip egg whites in another bowl (low speed) till frothed
  5. Add cream of tartar, increase the speed and whip till stiff peaks form
  6. Add in granulated sugar, whip for few more secs to incorporate
  7. Sift flour over the matcha-egg mixture
  8. Fold in ⅓ of whipped egg whites, then fold the rest egg white mixture until mixed
  9. Pour into the sheet pan that greased & lined with parchment paper
  10. Level and smooth out, bake for 5-8 mins till the cake is firm (Keep an eye on the cake as it burns easily)
  11. Remove from heat, cool slightly and set aside for layering later
Douglas Fir - Grapefruit Buttercream:
  1. Beat shortening with salt & sugar (adjust the sugar until the mixture is stiff)
  2. Beat in ground douglas fir needles and grapefruit juice until it’s fairly runny
  3. Adjust the consistency and sweetness of your preference with more powdered sugar & grapefruit juice.

Matcha Genoise Nettle Lemon Cake recipe with douglas fir-grapefruit buttercream

  1. Slice horizontally the nettle lemon cake into two
  2. Layer the cake slices with the buttercream & matcha genoise (like the picture)
  3. Cover the whole cake with the remaining buttercream
  4. Coat the cake with extra nettle cake crumbs to create the green moss look for the cake

Although it is quite a challenging recipe, this Nettle Lemon Matcha Genoise Cake looks amazing with the bright green colour, and definitely makes you smile during the week.


Love this recipe? Then, don’t forget to:

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