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Monday, March 25, 2019

Susam Tahinli Kek (Sesame tahini cake) (Turkish)

One of the greatest things I tasted in Istanbul was this cake, made with lots of tahini paste (yum!) and a lot of sesame seeds (both inside and on top). The cake also contains a few bits of chopped dates and walnuts, just for the occasional taste and texture variation. If you love sesame and you want to try a more modern, but completely authentic Turkish dessert, this tart is your best bet. 

I found several variations of this tahini sesame cake online, but I have to say that none of them were completely like the cake made in the Istanbul cafes I recently visited. So I adapted the recipe a bit in order to come up with a version closer to the original. After it was out of the oven and I tasted it, I became convinced that indeed this is it:). 

I love that the richness of the tahini taste is perfectly counterbalanced by the orange juice in the batter. You can't really taste the oranges, but it definitely feels lighter than you'd expect. 

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Bacon panzanella (bread and tomato salad).
Five years ago: Irish nettle soup.
Six years ago: Colcannon (Irish mashed potatoes and greens).
Seven years ago: Turkey pieces in emmentaler sauce.
Eight years ago: Orange caramel pastry windmillsParmesan cream potatoes and Vegetarian chili tacos with avocado salsa (Mexican).

Ingredients (for a 9 inch or 32 cm pan):
  • 250g (9 oz) tahini
  • 200g (1 cup) brown sugar
  • 5g (1 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) brandy
  • 210g (1½ cups) all-purpose flour, plus extra if needed (I used an extra 70g)
  • 10g (2 teaspoons) ground cinnamon
  • 5g (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 50g (½ cups) walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
  • 50g candied mixed peel
  • 50g dates, chopped
  • 240ml (1 cups) orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 3-4 handfuls sesame seeds (half in, half on top)
  • a bit of butter for the cake pan

Preheat oven to 175 C. Butter a spring-form pan.
Beat the tahini paste until smooth and fluffy, then add the sugar to it.

In another bowl, mix the flour with the cinnamon, salt, walnuts, dates and mixed peel. Also add the orange zest and mix well.

Add some of the orange juice and some of the flour mix to the tahini bowl alternatively, until all is well incorporated. Mix the brandy and the baking soda and then mix it in the cake batter. Also add half the sesame and mix well.

Pour the entire thing into the prepared cake tin.

Sprinkle the remaining sesame on top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes. Take out and allow it to cool for 30 minutes in the cake pan.

Slice and dig in to the luscious taste of Istanbul cafes :)

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