Thursday, 9 February 2012

Black sesame yoghurt cake

Here is where I get a bit never-apologise-never-explain about why it’s been so long and instead jump straight to cake.

So, I amassed a range of black sesame ingredients last year, which, being sesame, won’t last forever before succumbing to the scourge that is rancidness, which successive governments have failed to eradicate. A fridge-clearing agenda led me to google black sesame cakes NOT chiffon cake (been there, done that), and among the slim pickings was this promising recipe from Haw Berries & Kumquats featuring a very beautiful eggshell lacquer bowl.

The packaging of the black sesame powdery stuff provided no clues that I could translate, but it tasted as though heavily cut with white sugar, so I lessened the original sugar amount by a third and made it brown sugar for a dark note. I threw in extra black sesame paste in case the sesame quotient was already lacking due to its unknown sugar component, really drove the point home with a tablespoon of virgin sesame oil, and sprinkled over extra whole sesame seeds for good measure. So the last few of the above may be considered optional. Hell, the whole thing’s optional – do it, don’t do it, make it all eggwhites, who am I to say?

Adapted from HawBerries & Kumquats, who adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini’s gâteau au yaourt

1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup black sesame powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
250ml yoghurt
60 ml peanut oil
20 ml untoasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon brandy
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons black sesame paste
black sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 180° C, and line a 22-cm springform tin. Sift together the flour, bicarb, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.

Beat together the eggs and sugar. Add the yoghurt, oils, brandy, vanilla extract and sesame paste. Mix well.

Gently fold the dry ingredients into wet ingredients; mix until just combined.

Pour into prepared cake pan, sprinkle with black sesame seeds, and bake for 45 minutes, until a skewer withdraws clean.

It was very moist and tender, with a tanginess to it from the yoghurt. I wasn’t overwhelmed by a sesame flavour, and nor was anyone else; people were making all sorts of guesses at it. The two tablespoons of cocoa emerged the most strongly, surprisingly enough. In a less charitable moment, I decided it just tasted like a slightly weird, second-rate chocolate cake, but recanted this as being a bit harsh when I found myself quite enjoying another slice at afternoon-tea time. The texture was fabulous, though, and I’ll be investigating the other flavour variations  that have been imposed on this basic yoghurt cake.

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