Eggless Hojicha Tiramisu Cake is a Japanese twist on the classic Italian dessert. It consists of hojicha soaked ladyfingers layered with airy mascarpone cream and finished with a generous dusting of hojicha powder.
Do you still remember my previous Eggless Matcha Tiramisu Cake? It was a huge hit and I got it delivered multiple times already. So, I thought that it would be fun to experiment with the flavor.
For today’s recipe, I use hojicha, the cousin of matcha. Have you tried hojicha before? If you have not, you have really got to try it. Hojicha powder has a naturally sweet taste and smoky flavor with distinct notes of cocoa. If you are looking to replace your coffee or tea with a product that has a great taste and less caffeine, hojicha may be a perfect choice.
This Eggless Hojicha Tiramisu Cake consists of hojicha soaked ladyfingers, layered with a light and airy mascarpone cream, and finished with a generous dusting of hojicha powder. The cake is eggless and requires no cooking or baking. It takes only 30 minutes to prepare and assemble the cake. Sounds easy right?
What is Hojicha?
Hojicha is a Japanese green tea. It is distinctive from other Japanese green teas because it is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal, whereas most Japanese teas are steamed. The tea is fired at a high temperature, altering the leaf color tints from green to reddish-brown and makes the taste less astringent.
The roasted flavors are extracted and dominate this tea. The roasting process used to make hojicha also lowers the amount of caffeine in the tea. Because of its mildness, hojicha is a great choice for late afternoon tea time and even preferred for children and the elderly.
What does Hojicha Taste Like?
Hojicha has a very aromatic, roasted, nutty, slightly sweet, and woody flavor and aroma. It has a slightly smoky flavor that is reminiscent of coffee but without caffeine. It does not taste bitter because any bitterness typically found in green tea is removed from hojicha when the tea leaves are roasted at a high temperature. The leaves can be light, medium, or heavily roasted. The darker the tea leaves, the more intense roasted flavor it will have.
Hojicha vs Matcha
Hojicha and matcha are both Japanese green teas, but they are very different. The only thing they share is the same origin. Here is a comparison of their most notable characteristics.
- Process. The tea used for making matcha, Tencha, is shaded, harvested, steamed, dried, and sorted before grinding to create the powder. Meanwhile, the tea used for making hojicha, Sencha or Bancha, is harvested, steamed, dried, sorted, and then slowly roasted before grinding to create hojicha powder.
- Color. Matcha is a bright green color, especially when it is of ceremonial grade. Unlike traditional Japanese green teas, hojicha has a reddish-brown color.
- Aroma. Fresh matcha has a vegetal earthy aroma. As a roasted green tea, hojicha has an aromatic, roasted, nutty aroma.
- Flavor. While lower-grade matcha powder tastes bitter, ceremonial-grade matcha is slightly sweet with a savory umami flavor and vegetal notes. Hojicha powder has a naturally sweet taste and smoky flavor with distinct notes of cocoa.
- Caffeine content. Matcha has approximately 70 mg of caffeine per cup, almost as much as coffee, making it perfect for early mornings. Hojicha has only about 7.7 mg of caffeine per cup, so it can be enjoyed later in the day.
The Best Hojicha For Tiramisu
Hojicha is available in the market as whole leaves and powder form. Depending on your purpose and the taste profile you like to achieve, there is a variety of hojicha you can purchase. For this recipe, I use hojicha powder instead of loose-leaf tea. The reason is that the powder form is the easiest and quickest way to enjoy a strong hojicha flavor in tiramisu. If using tea leaves, the flavor will not be as strong as the one made from powder.