Here’s another recipe from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert. I really loved this cake, as I love sesame, especially the deep flavor of toasted sesame imparted by the oil. I toasted the sesame seeds myself in a pan, but to help gauge the doneness, I used a mix if white and black seeds (it’s easy to see a white sesame seed change colors, but a black one, not so much). You could use only white seeds if you want, but the black seeds look so much better in the cake! I assume that this contrast is also the reason why black poppy seeds are so much more widespread than the white ones. (Before baking this cake, it had not even occurred to me that some people are not familiar with black sesame seeds, but apparently that’s the case, so I’m including a picture from my spice rack and throwing in the poppy seeds for good measure.) We all loved this cake, for dessert or breakfast, and it was gone very quickly.
1 1/3 cups (6 oz.) all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 ½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature (I used cold margarine)
1 cup sugar
½ cup buttermilk (i.e., lactose-free milk with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice)
¼ cup toasted black sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 °F with a rack positioned in the lower third. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8-inch cake pan or a springform pan; line the bottom with parchment paper and grease again. (Make sure the pan has high enough sides, as the cake really rises in the oven!)
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together briefly with the sesame oil and vanilla. Set aside.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium for a few seconds until creamy. Add the sugar and beat for several at medium speed until it is light-colored and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the egg mixture a little at a time while the mixer is still running, taking about 2 minutes to add it all.
Stop the mixer and pour in a third of the flour mixture, and beat on low speed just until combined. Scrape down the sides as necessary. Add half the buttermilk and beat only until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture, the rest of the buttermilk, and finally the rest of the flour mixture with the sesame seeds, scraping the bowl as needed. With each addition, beat it only until it is just incorporated.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool on the rack for a few minutes before unmolding. If you baked the cake in a regular cake pan, invert it onto the rack, remove the parchment paper and turn it right side up to finish cooling.
This cake will keep in an airtight container for about 4 days, assuming it’s not eaten before then – the flavor gets deeper after a day.