Sunday, 29 September 2013

Turkish Tahini cake


Jacqui Small Publishing really is becoming one to watch for any (slightly obsessed) book buying baker (i.e. me!).  I’d had Roger Pizey’s “Worlds Best Cakes” on my radar for a little while, waiting for it to be released and – joy of joys – I was offered a copy to review!  Please also see the offer for all readers at the end of this post.

Like many bakers I read my books when they arrive and tab the pages that interest me.  As you can see there were quite a lot of tabs in this lovely book leaving Mr CC to suggest that it might be easier if I tabbed the pages of things I didn’t want to make!

I will be making so many recipes from this encyclopaedic book and what I particularly loved was the variety: easy to difficult, simple flavours to complex, everyday to exotic.  It truly covers the globe and my eyes (OK, my stomach!) were drawn to this Turkish tahini cake for several reasons – I love tahini but have never considered it a baking ingredient; also, the recipe doesn’t contain any butter or eggs, which instantly sets it apart from virtually all my other bakes.  I have never seen a cake like this and the novelty of it excited me.  Make sure you buy a tahini that is pure sesame seed; some were called ‘tahini sauce’ and had lots of other ingredients.

When you think about it, tahini is a perfectly sensible cake ingredient – it’s pretty similar to peanut butter really and we’re all used to seeing that.  It added a gentler, more subtle flavour than peanut butter; I sometimes find peanut butter can overpower everything else, but the tahini sat alongside all the other flavours.  The batter had that lovely almost Christmas cake richness to it:

This was a moist cake with a squidgy fruitiness – I loved it.  It is a heavier cake (intentionally so) so don’t make it expecting a light, airy sponge.  It was a perfect cake for an Autumnal afternoon.

To order World's Best Cakes at the discounted price of £24.00 including p&p* (RRP: £30.00), telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code APG20.
Alternatively, send a cheque made payable to: 
Littlehampton Book Services Mail Order Department,
Littlehampton Book Services,
PO Box 4264,
West Sussex BN13 3RB. 

Please quote the offer code APG20 and include your name and address details. 
*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.


250g tahini (Make sure you buy one that is 100% sesame - I poured the oil off the top before using)
200g caster sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons cognac – I used rum because I prefer it!
200g plain flour, plus extra if needed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
150g walnuts, chopped
75g glace fruit such as cherries or peel, chopped – I hate glace fruit so used dried morello cherries
75g sultanas
240ml orange juice
3-4 handfuls sesame seeds


Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan oven 150°C/325°F/gas mark 3.  I upped the oven temperature as my cake was not taking on any colour – I would recommend baking at 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/gas mark 5 – but you know your oven.  If things cook quickly stick with the original temperature.

Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.

Beat the tahini until it is smooth and light.

Keep beating and add the sugar gradually.  Beat it as you would normally beat butter and sugar – it behaves similarly.

Mix together the cognac (or rum) and bicarb and beat in.

Weigh out the flour, cinnamon, walnuts and fruit.  Tip half into the tahini mix and beat in.

Beat in half the orange juice.

Beat in the remaining flour and fruits, followed by the orange juice.

The batter should be thicker than a normal cake batter – quite thick and heavy.  If it isn’t add some more flour.  Mine was at dropping consistency so I added three further tablespoons of flour and this made the mix noticeably heavier.

Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Sprinkle over the sesame seeds.

Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until the cake is dark and a skewer inserted into it comes out clean.

Leave to cool for 20 minutes before removing from the tin and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

The cake keeps beautifully and – if anything – the flavours improve over time.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Gloria Baker said...

what beautiful and original cake I love it!

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

I've never thought of adding tahini to cake- a lovely, original idea there!

Cakeyboi said...

Great use of delicious tahini! Looks lovely CC

Kalyan Panja said...

looks delicious...just mouthwatering!

Katie said...

I've never baked with tahini either. Looks an interesting cake

Jean said...

I had only even vaguely heard of tahini!
It certainly looks a lovely chewy cake, and I'll look out for the book too.

Jo said...

I've never heard of tahini, nevermind baked with it! Love the unusual look of your cake, no butter or egg! Such a tempting photograph on the front of that book too, no wonder you found it hard to resist. Looking forward to seeing what else you bake from it.

Maggie said...

I love the title ' Worlds Best Cakes' and it sounds a very worthwhile book. I too use tabs and this is always how you know a book is going to be used time and time again. Interesting cake using Tahini.

Is anyone else fed up with word verification when leaving comments.......or is it just me CC? I turned mine off and was inundated with spam and switched it back on pronto!

Choclette said...

Oh goodness gracious me, I would so love to try a slice of that cake. I've used tahini in flapjacks, but never in a cake. Now, I have to try it AND I want that book.

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Maybe I should try tagging my cookbooks and I may use them more then.

Cakelaw said...

This looks absolutely delicious! I love me a dense fruity cake. I am making my Christmas cake this arv to mature for Christmas - it smells so good.

Snowy said...

Have never used tahini in baking - sounds really interesting. Like the book too.