This recipe, originally from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert, has already appeared on a few other blogs, but it's popular for a good reason- it's unusual, yet easy to make, and the end result is a delicious, visually appealing dessert. I opted to make a dozen small cakes instead of one large cake because, well, who can resist a wee cake.
Thinking that honey would pair well with sesame, as it does in many Greek sweets and fun candies, I experimented with exchanging some of the sugar for honey. In the end, the flavor of the honey was indeed discernible, but did not come through as much as I would have liked. I might try (cautiously) increasing the amount of honey in future batches.
Honey Sesame Cakes
adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda, plus a pinch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
scant 1/4 cup honey (I used orange blossom)
scant 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/4 cup toasted black sesame seeds
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin or 12 small molds.
-Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
-Place the butter in a large bowl and beat for a few minutes. Add the sugar and beat for several more minutes until it is light-colored and fluffy.
-Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
-Add honey, vanilla, and sesame oil and mix thoroughly.
-Add a third of the flour mixture, and beat just until combined.
-Add half the buttermilk and beat until combined.
-Add half of the remaining flour mixture, the rest of the buttermilk, and then the rest of the flour mixture and sesame seeds. With each addition, mix only until just incorporated. If you're using an electric mixer, you might want to fold in the sesame seeds with a spatula so as not to overwork the batter.
-Divide batter evenly between muffin tins or molds.
-Bake for about 15 minutes, until the tops of cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
-Let cakes cool in tins for a few minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on a rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar (once the cakes are cool) for extra fun and excitement.
Cakes will keep for a few days in an airtight container.