Saturday, 22 July 2017

Chocolate Sesame Cake

Chocolate Sesame Cake Ganache Honeycomb

I made this cake quite a few weeks ago, but haven't stopped thinking about it :) Sesame is a flavour underused in UK cakes, but tahini (sesame seed paste) is pretty common in the rest of the world, and various versions of halva (like a sweetened sesame seed block - very yummy) appear in countries from Poland to Greece and India. This cake swirls a lovely chocolate cake with a tahini infused cake, and it's covered in a milk chocolate buttercream and crushed honeycomb.
It may not be the most elegant cake I've made, but it tastes amazing and I doubt you'd be able to buy a similarly flavoured cake.
So be different and try out this cake. I doubt you'll regret it :)

Most UK supermarkets do sell tahini - look in their world food sections. If you can't find the tahini, you could try using a smooth nut butter - I'd recommend Meridian as a brand as the butter is very loose (like tahini).

Makes one 23cm cake


For the chocolate sponge cake:

  • 200g (7/8 cup) softened butter or margarine, plus an extra tablespoon for greasing
  • 200g (1 and 1/8 cup) 55% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100g (1/2 cup) soft light brown sugar
  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 100ml (1/2 cup) espresso coffee (or 100ml of a regular cup of coffee)
  • 100ml (1/2 cup) soured cream
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 200g (1 & 2/3 cups) self raising flour
  • 5 tsp good quality cocoa powder
  • plain flour and icing sugar, for dusting

For the sesame sponge cake:

  • 150g (2/3 cup) tahini (or runny peanut butter, see above)
  • 150ml (3/4 cup) instant coffee
  • 150g (3/4 cup) golden caster sugar
  • 250g (2 & 1/4 cups) self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp milk

For the frosting:

  • 400ml (1 & 3/4 cups) double cream
  • 400g (2 & 1/4 cups) 55% dark chocolate
  • 80g (1/3 cup) butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

For the honeycomb:

  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 75g (1/3 cup and 2 tsp) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda


1. Grease two loose-bottomed 23cm round cake tins with butter, then lightly dust with plain flour and icing sugar. Tap the tin to evenly spread the flour/icing sugar around the base and sides of the tin, and tip out any excess.

2. Preheat your oven to 180c (160c fan)/355f/ gas mark 4.

3. For the chocolate sponge, melt the butter and chocolate together, by placing in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (making sure that the water does not touch the bowl!). Stir occasionally until all of the chocolate has melted.

4. Meanwhile, beat the brown sugar, caster sugar, and eggs together in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Pour in the espresso coffee, soured cream, self raising flour and cocoa powder. On top of these ingredients (prior to mixing), pour over the butter/chocolate. Beat with a wooden spoon (or whisk) until you can't see any flour/cocoa speckles. It will be a nice deep brown colour. Set aside whilst you make the tahini sponge.

5. To make the tahini sponge, simply beat the tahini, coffee, sugar, self raising flour, baking powder, cinnamon and milk together until the flour has been incorporated.

6. Use two large wooden spoons to dollop mixtures of each sponge mixture into the two tins (so, for example you spoon a large spoonful of the chocolate mixture into cake tin 1, then a large spoonful of tahini sponge, then another chocolate sponge spoonful etc). Evenly distribute between the two cake tins.

7. Once the cake tins are about halfway filled, swirl a skewer (or knife) through the batter to marble the cake. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cake springs back when lightly pressed, is slightly coming away from the sides of the cake, and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.

8. To make the frosting, chop the dark chocolate finely and pour into a medium mixing bowl.

9. In a large saucepan pour the double cream, and heat until bubbles are just beginning to form (this will be about 80c if you're using a sugar thermometer).

10. Pour the chocolate over the chopped dark chocolate and stir until all of the chocolate has melted.

11. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then beat in the cinnamon and salt, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

12. To make the honeycomb, grease the base of a baking tray, and have to the side of your oven your bicarbonate of soda and whisk ready.

13. Heat the golden syrup and sugar together in a small saucepan, stirring at first to dissolve the sugar into the syrup. Once you can no longer see the sugar speckles, remove the spoon and leave to boil away.

14. Heat until the mixture is a deep golden colour (about 154c/310f). Once this colour, turn off the heat, add the bicarbonate of soda, and whisk quickly. The mixture will bubble up ferociously, so be careful not to touch it!

15. Whisk until the bicarbonate of soda is fully absorbed, then pour onto the prepared tray. Set aside to firm up for 30 minutes, then crush half of the honeycomb to a fine crumb. The other half can be eaten as is, or dipped in chocolate (YUM).

16. To assemble the cake, turn both cakes out of the tin and level the tops.

17. Take the ganache out of the fridge and bring to room temperature for 5 minutes. Use an electric whisk to beat the ganache briefly - this aerates the ganache, giving it an even better texture.

18. Place a tablespoon of ganache on your serving dish/cake board. Transfer the first sponge to the dish/board, and lightly press down.

19. Spread a third of the ganache on the first sponge, and top with the remaining sponge layer.

20. Use a palette knife to spread a thin layer of ganache over the top and sides of the cake. This acts as a crumb coat, and helps give a nice crumb-free finish. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up.

21. Use your palette knife again to spread the remaining ganache over the top and sides of the cake. This can be as neat or as rough as you like. I made mine a little rough as I wanted it to look informal.

22. Sprinkle on the crushed honeycomb. You could use the spare honeycomb shards here to add an extra wow factor to the cake, but do this just before serving (as the honeycomb slowly melts when exposed to air in my experience, especially on summer days).

23. Enjoy!

Chocolate Sesame Cake Ganache Honeycomb

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