Once in a while a cake recipe crosses your path and you know you just have to bake it. And this Tahini Cake with Chocolate Sesame Frosting and Caramel Shards shot up to the top of my seemingly endless list of “must bakes”.

Tahini Cake with Chocolate Sesame Frosting

The original recipe comes from Cloudy Kitchen and as I love anything and everything tahini, it was too good to resist baking. As I was gifted a set of AMC 16cm cake tins recently,  I have been super keen to use them so this was a perfect opportunity. I had to convert the original sheet cake recipe to work for the 2 round pans and found this fantastic conversion table on Food52 so converting the recipe was pretty easy. Do refer to it if you’d want to bake this cake in other sized tins.

Tahini Cake with Chocolate Sesame Frosting

Tahini Cake with Chocolate Sesame Frosting

I really liked using the 16cm cake tins as it yields a cake big enough to serve 6 people.  And with a cake this rich it is more than enough. I tweaked the recipe slightly, firstly reducing the sugar in the batter and frosting.

For a punch of sesame flavour, I  added a teaspoon of sesame oil to the batter and icing each and think it works really well. The recipe calls for a dark brown sugar and I used a dark muscovado and while the flavour worked well, I found the texture to a bit too “wet” to mix in smoothly so would suggest you use a dark brown sugar with a drier texture. The sesame shards are super easy to make and I think it adds a bit of drama and festiveness to the look of the cake.

Tahini Cake with Chocolate Sesame Frosting

Tahini Cake with Chocolate Sesame Frosting

I hope you enjoy this recipe for Tahini Cake with Chocolate Sesame Frosting and Caramel Shards. If you’ve made the recipe share it with me by tagging @heinstirred on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #heinstirred.

Tahini Cake with Chocolate Sesame Frosting and Caramel Shards


  • CAKE
  • 125g cake flour
  • 200g dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 130g tahini, well stirred
  • 120g buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 85g water
  • 63g canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 85g 70% dark chocolate, melted
  • 150g icing sugar, sifted
  • 170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 40g full cream milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • good pinch of salt
  • 150g white sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 180° C
  2. Grease and line 2 x 16cm cake tins with baking paper
  3. Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, bicarb, and salt
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the tahini, buttermilk, water, oil, egg, vanilla and sesame oil
  5. Whisk on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and caramel in colour
  6. Gradually add the dry ingredients, using a spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary and whisk until just combined
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 30 - 35 mins or until cooked through and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake should come out with just a few crumbs attached
  8. Cool completely in the tins before removing
  10. While the cake is baking, make the shards by lining a small baking sheet with baking paper and sprinkle the sesame seeds on it
  11. Place the sugar and water in a small pot and bring to the boil
  12. Swirl the mixture until it is combined (do not stir) and boil until it starts to reach a dark golden, amber colour
  13. Carefully pour the caramel over the seeds, moving the pan so that all the seeds are covered with the caramel
  14. Set aside to cool completely
  16. Add all the ingredients for the frosting, except the sesame oil, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk until the mixture is creamy, smooth, and a light brown colour.
  17. Whisk for about 5 minutes, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula a few times
  18. Add the sesame oil, give it a good mix and decorate the cake with the frosting as you desire
  19. Break the cooled caramel into shards and decorate the cake
  20. Serve
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I am so happy to share the news received recently that “My Vegetarian Braai” I co-wrote with Adele Maartens and styled and photographed, is the South African Winner in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in the Barbecue category. It will now compete for Best in the World 2020 with winners from other countries in the same category. My Vegetarian Braai makes a great festive gift and is available to order online at Loot.co.za, amazon.com and at all bookstores. If you struggle to get a copy, let me know and I can arrange to have one posted to you.

My Vegetarian Braai

And just in time for the festive season, the Heinstirred Greeting Cards Range has been launched. Inspired by fusing food and nature, distinctive images were photographed and set in original heart-shaped designs. Click here for all the details of the range now available.

Heinstirred Greeting Cards

Basque Burnt Cheesecake
Lemon Brûlée Muffins



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