flourless chocolate & sesame cake
I’ll tell you a something secret.
A something hidden just a bit behind the way, around the corner and under the stairs.
A something precious. Worth the hunting and rummaging and scurrying and fossicking that it took to find it.
Black sesame seeds. A whole 200 gram baggie of them that I picked up from my local Japanese grocer and hid way back behind the cocoa powder in the pantry, lest it decided to make itself scarce.
I use it sparingly – toasted in a dry pan and ground into a fine dust with some icing sugar. A couple of heaping spoonfuls in a mug of hot milk. A sneaky shake into a cup of coffee (theirs, not mine).
An even bigger shake over and through and mixed all about some plain vanilla ice cream.
There’s dual occasion for cake today.
My mama’s birthday for one. She who helps me dry the dishes. Who gives up her pantry space for oddly shaped bowls and plates and mugs and glasses. She who has banned me from buying any more cake stands because seriously. I have no room at my apartment for cake stands, and she has not enough cake to put on the ones I’ve stored with her.
She asked for this cake – not specifically mind you – but in a round about way.
“Mama,” I asked on Sunday (only minutes after realising that I had days and not weeks before her birthday), “what kind of cake would you like?”
“Flourless,” came her response, “with nuts? I don’t know. Flourless.”
“Flourless isn’t a flavour. Do you want chocolate? Or fruit? Or something spiced?” I prodded.
“Flourless cake. I don’t care how. And maybe not so heavy like normal flourless cakes.”
My mama doesn’t have coeliac. She isn’t on a gluten-free diet. She drinks milk and eats ice-cream with the best of them.
But faced with the challenge of developing a light and fluffy, not at all dense, flourless cake recipe, I thought I might as well go the whole hog and get rid of the lactose as well (for unfortunate sods like me).
(My mama ate it with black sesame powdered ice cream. Lactose intolerance? Peh!)
And in the end, it was quite an easy cake to make.
Ingredients whizzed in a food processor (in order, of course). Almond meal and whipped egg whites folded in.
Bake. Cool. Cut. Eat.
When I walked into my parents’ home that evening, a lone, boisterous voice filled the air…
“Happy birthday to ME! Happy birthday to MEEEEE! Happy BIRTHDAY to MEEE-EEEEEEE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOOOOO MEEEEEEEEEEE!”
We sang in response and she sang in response and blew her lone candle out once, and again and a third time just for luck, a flurry of photos being taken to send to her own mama overseas.
And as slices were eaten and presents ooh-ed and ahh-ed over, I realised that the cake’s purpose was two-fold.
Once for mama and once for me.
Happy 300th post, little blog.
- 25g black sesame seeds
- 100g sugar
- 50g cocoa powder
- ⅓ c water
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 125g almond meal
- ½ tsp vanilla paste
- ¼ c neutral or slightly nutty oil (I used macadamia)
- 3 eggs
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C and line and grease a 22cm round tin (I used a springform tin, but that’s not strictly necessary).
- Whizz the black sesame seeds and sugar together in a food processor until the seeds are the same size as the sugar granules and you have a greyish, sandy mixture.
- Add the cocoa powder, water, tahini, almond meal, vanilla paste and oil and whizz again until the ingredients are well combined.
- Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in the food processor and the whites in a clean, dry and grease-free bowl.
- Whizz the yolks together with the rest of the ingredients.
- Beat the egg whites until they reach stiff peaks.
- Fold the chocolate sesame mixture and the egg whites together until they are well combined and then pour the cake mix into the prepared tin.
- Bake for 45 minutes. The cake will still look quite squishy and damp at this point, but it’s ok. Let the cake cool for half an hour before removing it from the tin and for a further half hour before slicing.