Yossy Arefi's Simple Sesame Cake
October 29, 2020

Yossy Arefi's Simple Sesame Cake

Our friend and baker extraordinaire Yossy Arefi just released her gorgeous new cookbook, Snacking Cakes, featuring 50 cake recipes that can be made in one bowl, with simple ingredients and no fuss. No electric mixers needed! We’re so excited to share her Simple Sesame Cake recipe, from the book, with you!

Yossy says, “This cake gets a double dose of sesame, with tahini and sesame seeds in the batter and lots of crunchy sesame seeds to coat the pan, too. I like the confetti effect of a combination of black and white sesame seeds, but there’s no need to go out and buy both if you don’t already have them in your pantry. If you are just using one type, white sesame seeds are the way to go.”

6 tablespoons (50g) sesame seeds
¾ cup (150g) plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
½ cup (120ml) whole milk
½ cup (120ml) Seed + Mill Organic Tahini, well stirred
¼ cup (60ml) neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1¼ cups (160g) all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda


1. Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter or coat an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray and line it with a square of parchment paper that overhangs the sides. Butter or coat the parchment paper with nonstick spray, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds on the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Some of the pan will still be exposed, and that’s okay.
2. In a large bowl, whisk 3/4 cup (150g) of the sugar and the egg until pale and foamy, about 1 minute. Add the milk, tahini, oil, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until smooth and emulsified.
3. Add the flour, 3 tablespoons of the sesame seeds, the baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk until well-combined and smooth.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap the pan gently on the counter to release any air bubbles, and smooth the top of the batter with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon sugar and the remaining tablespoon sesame seeds on top of the cake.
5. Bake the cake until puffed and golden, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Set the cake on a rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Then use the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan to cool completely. (Store the cake, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to three days.


PEACH AND RASPBERRY SESAME CAKE: Slice 1 small pitted peach into ½-inch slices. Arrange the slices over the top of the batter in a single layer, scatter ½ cup (70g) fresh raspberries over the top, then sprinkle with the sugar and sesame seeds. 

CHOCOLATE AND SESAME CAKE: Fold ½ cup (85g) chopped chocolate or chocolate chips into the batter just before it goes into the pan. 

SUPER SESAME CAKE: Omit the sugar and sesame seeds on top of the cake and make a Tahini Glaze by whisking 1 cup (100g) of confectioners' sugar with ¼ cup (60ml) tahini, a pinch of salt, and 1 to 2 tablespoons hot water. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake. 


LOAF: Bake in a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan until puffed and golden, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar (instead of 1 tablespoon) and 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds on top. 

ROUND: Bake in a 9-inch round pan until puffed and golden, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. 

Reprinted with permission from Snacking Cakes by Yossy Arefi, copyright © 2020. Photographs by Yossy Arefi. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. 

Simple Sesame Cake