Sesame Seed Cake

I have just poured myself a cup of tea and am eating the most tantalising cake.

This cake has the touch of the exotic about it, from the use of black sesame seeds that fleck the batter and the few teaspoons of sesame oil that makes this cake so different; so special. It’s also the kind of cake to make when you feel like having cake, but don’t want anything too complicated or time consuming. So excuse this short post, but I’m off to have my cake and eat it too!

(You can serve this moist cake with a honey ice-cream as recommended by Alice Medrich, but I like to enjoy it plain, in celebration of that delicate sesame flavour.)

Sesame Seed Cake :
(from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich)

170g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room tempearture
2 1/2 teaspoons Asian or toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
113g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/4 cup toasted black or natural sesame seeds

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 176’C. Spray the sides of an 8-inch round cake pan with vegetable oil spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt thoroughly in a medium bowl and sift three times. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together briefly with the sesame oil and vanilla. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed for a few seconds until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until light coloured and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in a little of the egg mixture at a time, taking about 2 minutes to add it all. Stop the mixer, add one third of the flour mixture, and beat on low speed only until no flour is visible. Stop the mixer and add half of the buttermilk, then beat only until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat with half of the remaining flour, then all of the remaining buttermilk, and finally the remaining flour with the sesame seeds, scraping the bowl as necessary and beating only enough to incorporate the ingredients each time.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then slide a thin knife or spatula down the sides of the cake to detach it from the pan. Invert the cake onto a rack and remove the pan and parchment liner. Turn the cake right side up and let cool completely on the rack.

The cake keeps in an airtight container at room temperature for at least 4 days. Or freeze, well wrapped, for up to 3 months.


  1. Judy (Judy's Gross Eats) said,

    May 14, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

    Wow! That cakes sounds so cool! I’ve been wanting to use my black sesame seeds and I have all the required ingredients on hand. This is going on my “to do” blackboard right away. Thanks.

  2. Nicole said,

    May 14, 2008 @ 11:57 pm

    Sounds delicious! I’ve never seen black sesame seeds before! Are they just regular ones that have been toasted dark?

  3. Y said,

    May 15, 2008 @ 8:17 am

    You can use regular ones and toast them til they are brown (but not too dark or they will be bitter), but these sesame seeds are actually black to begin with.

  4. Niamh said,

    May 15, 2008 @ 7:56 pm

    This looks great! I must try it. Nice blog. I was just reviewing your about page and with your music, tv etc I could be reading my own! Nice to bump into you in the blogosphere 🙂

  5. Maya said,

    July 10, 2008 @ 9:02 pm

    I have that book! Sometimes all you need is a picture!

  6. MAIS said,

    April 3, 2009 @ 10:16 pm

    its great especially after i knew about the huge benefits of the sesame seeds and oil

  7. anna said,

    March 7, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

    Hi Y,
    I have a b’day cake to make and was once again browsing through your ever inspirational recipes. Looks like I’ve found just the thing as the boy loves anything sesame! Do you think this cake would work (taste wise) with some frosting on the top to make it look more bday cake-y? If so, any flavour you’d recommend?
    Many thanks..

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