I have to admit that I had no idea who Ixta Belfrage is until a few months ago when I saw a recipe for a Brazilian pudim from her book Mezcla, Recipes to Excite. I was gifted the book a few weeks ago and keep going back to make another recipe, this Banana Sesame Cake fast becoming my favourite one bowl cake.

Turns out Ixta is an Ottolenghi protégée, cooked at Nopi, has a column in The Guardian and I can say without a doubt has written one of my all time favourite cookbooks. Some books you end up paging through once or twice, some you love for the ideas and inspiration and cook a recipe or two but then there are those books that you keep going back to and Mezcla is one of those. Mezcla means ‘to mix’ in Spanish. This mix defines Ixta’s food, it is steeped in her childhood memories of Italy, her Brazilian heritage on her mum’s side and Mexican on her dad’s.

I’ve made a few recipes from the book so far, this delicious Banana Sesame Cake, the Butternut Sage Lasagne Gratin and probably the ultimate toasted cheese, Giant Cheese on Toast with Spring Onion and Honey which I will share soon.

I had some bananas that needed to be used but did not want to make a banana bread so turned to this one bowl Banana Sesame Cake. You can easily replace the banana with other over ripe fruit such as plums and pears. I think apricots, nectarines or a mix of berries will be as delicious. I added a handful of blueberries and some slivered pistachios (it was a bit of a kitchen clean out) and it all worked perfectly. Make it gluten free by replacing the wheat flour with a gluten free option.

The recipe calls for maple syrup to be drizzled over the cake during baking. I did not have any and could not find the honey so drizzled some date syrup on top. The date syrup did not soak into the batter and rested on top of the cake catching all the sesame seeds in its sticky sweetness. Serve as is or with a dollop of full fat yoghurt.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for Banana Sesame Cake. If you’ve made it, share it with me by tagging @heinstirred on Instagram with the hashtag #heinstirred. It is always a treat to see the recipes made and enjoyed.


  • 50 g sesame seeds plus 1 teaspoon
  • 70 g melted butter
  • 90 g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 60 g ground almonds
  • 30 g plain flour use gluten-free flour if you like
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 3-4 very ripe bananas cut into 2cm cubes (350g)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • cold double cream or full fat yogurt to serve


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C
  • Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper
  • Spread the 50g of sesame seeds out on a baking tray and bake for 8-9 minutes, mixing a few times throughout, until golden-brown
  • Transfer the toasted seeds to a blender or spice grinder and grind to a coarse powder
  • Tip into a large mixing bowl and add the butter, sugar, eggs, ground almonds, flour, baking powder, fine salt, vanilla, sesame oil and lemon zest and mix until fully combined
  • Fold in the bananas, trying not to crush the pieces, then spoon into the prepared tin
  • Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the tin halfway so the cake colours evenly
  • After 30 minutes, drizzle over the maple syrup or honey, sprinkle over the 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds and return to the oven for 10 minutes or so, until the cake is cooked through, golden-brown and the edges are crispy
  • Leave to cool for 20 minutes before releasing from the tin
  • Slice and serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of cream or yogurt
  • The cake is even more delicious the next day
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