Monday, June 25, 2012

Yerba Mate soda and Tamarind Teacakes

Our local purveyor of yerba mate (Guayaki) has become very popular; not sure if they're national yet, but it's getting up there. A while ago, my dad was messing around with their loose leaf tea, trying to make a cheaper, homemade version of their delicious canned teas. He has also started using the tea leaves to brew his own kombucha, which is an acquired taste, plus you NEVER want to ask to see the process before you've tasted it, as it involves a kind of fermentation that uses a lot of disgusting-sounding terms and has the appearance of a giant mushroom floating in muddy water. And yet, the beverage is actually very refreshing and good for you, so don't knock it til you try it.

I was driving home from knife skills class this morning, feeling kind of morose and wondering if it was too early to go back to bed (at noon) when I thought I'd try making a Guayaki/yerba mate soda. Of course I am of the mind that tea should be accompanied by treats whenever possible...

I started trying to think of what flavors would go well with the delicious yerba mate. It's a very delicate flavor and from my experience at tea shops and cafes, green tea does best paired with light, citrusy or floral accompaniments. I had a jar of tamarind paste from my godmother that has been neglected for months, so I started experimenting and got lucky.I also got a chance to use my cute mini-bundt pan, although I am sure the batter would make very good mini muffins. I thought that the tamarind would make the cakes a bright orange, but they turned out kind of a dull golden brown, although the flavor is sweet and tangy.

tamarind cake, 1) dusted with cocoa and sugar and 2) glazed with orange glaze and topped with candied orange peel

mini bundt pan

Green Tea Syrup
1 1/2 Tbs loose leaf yerba mate
3 cups water
1 2/3 cup sugar- the syrup will keep its color better if you use processed, white sugar although I used unprocessed sugar for this recipe
Tie the loose tea with the cheesecloth and brew in a saucepan with 3 cups of water. Once the tea has a deep, golden color (but is not bitter), add the sugar and whisk until dissolved. Allow the syrup to reduce on low heat, then transfer it to a heatproof bowl to cool. Use it in mineral water to make an Italian soda, adding juice if you like.

Tamarind Teacakes
4 Tbs unsalted, softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs tamarind paste
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 375F. Prep your mini bundt pan liberally with oil, so that every surface has a light coating (you can use a mini muffin pan instead). In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Scrape the vanilla bean into the mixture and add the tamarind, mixing thoroughly. Add the egg, then the dry ingredients. Whisk in the milk thoroughly. Fill the molds or cupcake cups 3/4 way so they don't overflow. If you are using a mini bundt pan, rap it on the counter to keep your cakes from getting air bubbles like mine did! Bake until lightly golden and a skewer comes out cleanly. The cakes can be served plain or glazed (1:2 orange juice to powdered sugar) or dusted with a mixture of powdered sugar and cocoa powder.


  1. yum yum! tamarind is so delicious!

  2. Hi Lauren! This looks so awesome, glad I FINALLY got here, looking forward to more :) - Katie W.