Black Sesame Matcha Cupcakes

From 6 Bittersweets
Adapted from Delicious Coma
Makes 12 cupcakes

XIAOLU'S NOTES: I actually used 36 g of a pre-ground black sesame powder but still followed the same toasting and grinding process. Both whole and ground seeds are available at well-stocked Asian grocers. If you're able to find and use the powder, be sure to keep a close eye on it in the pan. The frosting recipe below made a little more than needed to frost the cupcakes you see in the photos. Scale the recipe up or down, if you usually prefer more or less frosting. This method makes for a firmer cream cheese frosting than is common and should be pipeable.

6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup black sesame seeds PLUS extra for garnish
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups (155 g) all purpose flour
1/2 cup PLUS 3 Tbsp milk

Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting (Recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a standard muffin pan with 12 baking liners.

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan on the stove over medium heat, stirring them constantly, until they are fragrant (about 2 minutes). Crush toasted seeds with a mortar and pestle OR spice grinder until they are the texture of damp sand and set aside. Separately, sift the dry ingredients into a medium bowl; set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the ground sesame seeds, egg, and vanilla and beat until combined. Gradually beat in half the dry ingredients. Add the milk and mix well. Lastly, add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until batter is well-combined and smooth.

Fill cupcake liners until they are about 2/3 full (I like to use my large cookie scoop for this). Lift the pan 1-inch above the kitchen counter and carefully slam it down to expel any large air bubbles in the batter. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pan as soon as safely possible. Cool completely before frosting as desired. Sprinkle the top of each cupcake with extra sesame seeds.

Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 to 2 cups (4 to 8 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted (more if needed)
10 ounces cream cheese, cold and cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 to 4 tsp matcha (green tea) powder, or to taste

Sift powdered sugar and matcha together into a small bowl. In a larger mixing bowl, cream the butter, powdered sugar mixture, and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Add the cream cheese, a chunk at a time, beating after each addition (just enough to work it in).