Breakfast and Brunch, Cakes, Pies & Tarts, Dessert

Tahini Sesame Seed Tea Cake

Nicoletta December 2, 2018

Jump To Recipe

Tahini Sesame Seed Tea Cake, a delightful loaf cake with all the nuttiness from the tahini, sesame seeds, and sesame oil, combined with a moist crumb, and sugary crunchy top, sides, and bottom, that makes it irresistible. We love it with tea in the afternoon, or after dinner, but also at breakfast with a cup of coffee.

Song of the day: Live In The Moment by Portugal. The Man.

Tahini Sesame Seed Tea Cake

There are things that you always struggle with, more than others. For me, it is to live in the present and therefore enjoy it fully. I am always thinking of what I have to do next: plans, projects, tasks. Or, looking back at the past, to those sweet memories I sometimes cling on to, or to the melancholy sorrowful ones that I wasn’t able to let go.


Baking and yoga as therapy

Both baking and yoga are therapeutic in many ways. They help me stay in the present moment, mind and body. The mind is not allowed to wander because it needs to be focused on the task at hand, and the body, too, needs to be there fully, to perform the actions required.

In the case of baking, more so if there is a written recipe to follow (and to tweak a bit).


The inspiration to bake this delightful Tahini Sesame Seed Tea Cake came months ago in the mail in the form of the bon appétit magazine, to which we have a subscription. Scrolling the pages, my interest fell on a beautiful swirled sesame tea cake. Just a tweak at some of the ingredients and I was ready to live my moment.

Tahini Sesame Seed Tea Cake: a few steps to make it, so rewarding to eat

There are a few steps to follow in the preparation, a few sets of small, medium and large bowls and utensils to use and to clean up after, so it really helps you concentrate and stay in the moment. I enjoyed every minute of it, including the “clean up aisle 5!” as we joke with Loreto sometimes, when we look at the mess in the kitchen after an intensive baking/cooking session 🙂 .

There is tahini, sesame oil, and white and black sesame seeds in this tea cake, and they all give something to the flavor and texture to make it irresistible. I mixed all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour, and cane sugar with coconut crystals and that contributed to the darker color of the cake. The sesame seed swirl is, therefore, less evident, but I also might not be a good “swirler”, lol. The taste is awesome, anyways!

Tahini Sesame Seed Tea Cake

After about 1 hour in the oven, you are rewarded with a lovely fragrance in the air and a good-looking tea cake that you can’t wait to slice and taste. You do have to wait though, just a tiny bit, a good exercise of willpower and stay focused.

Tahini Sesame Seed Tea Cake

The Taste Test

The time has come to finally slice and taste this Tahini Sesame Seed Tea Cake. The first bite reveals an intensely nutty and “savory” sesame flavor, balanced by the sweetness of the sugars (do not skip the sprinkle of sugar on top!), the moistness and richness of the Greek yogurt, the subtle hints of vanilla and cardamom, and the whole wheat flour providing more nuttiness and a rich flavor.

All in all, this Tahini Sesame Seed Tea Cake has the perfect balance between sweet and savory. I know you are going to love it, as much as we did.


Song of the day: Live In The Moment by Portugal. The Man.

Tahini Sesame Seed Tea Cake

Tahini Sesame Seed Tea Cake

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf cake 1x
  • Category: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: International


This delightful loaf has all the nuttiness from the tahini, sesame seeds, and sesame oil, combined with a moist crumb, and a sugary crunchy top, sides, and bottom, that makes it irresistible. I love it with tea in the afternoon, or after dinner, but also at breakfast with a cup of coffee.

Adapted from a recipe found on bon appétit magazine.


  • 2 Tbsp black sesame seeds, plus more for sprinkling with some white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar or crystals
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, organic free-range
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • 1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Oil or butter a loaf pan. Sprinkle sides and bottom of the pan with white and black sesame seeds and sugar. Shake around in the pan to coat and tap out any excess. (If you want, you can line the loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving it overhang on long sides, then lightly coat the parchment with oil -or non-stick spray, then sprinkle with the seeds and sugar).
  2. Finely grind 2 Tbsp black sesame seeds  (you can use a spice mill, coffee grinder, blender, food processor). Set aside.
  3. In a medium-size bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.
  4. In another small bowl, whisk yogurt and tahini until smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, using an electric hand-held blender on medium-high speed, beat the eggs, vanilla, and sugars until eggs are light and thick (you can also use the paddle attachment of a stand mixer), for about 2 minutes.
  6. Reduce the speed to medium and gradually add vegetable oil and sesame oil.
  7. Reduce speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients in 3 additions alternating with yogurt mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Beat after each addition until fully incorporated.
  8. Scrape half of the batter into the bowl that held the dry ingredients. Add the reserved ground black sesame seeds to the remaining batter and mix on medium speed until evenly distributed.
  9. Alternating between the batters, spoon large dollops into the prepared loaf pan, then using the tip of a paring knife, or a wooden skewer, design a figure eight pattern to swirl.
  10. Sprinkle the top with more white and black sesame seeds and more sugar.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55-60 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for 10 minutes before taking out of the pan (using the parchment to lift it out, if you used it) and let cool completely.


Store wrapped in plastic at room temperature.

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

Tahini Sesame Seed Tea Cake

You Might Also Like


  • Avatar
    Reply Sabrina December 10, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    What a delicious recipe, nice nutty touch from the tahini and I absolutely adore cardamom in baking. Thanks!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 11, 2018 at 11:26 am

      Thank you! Great flavors indeed. I love cardamom, too!

  • Avatar
    Reply Ayngelina December 12, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    I’ve never had cake with tahini but you have really piqued my interest.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 12, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      Tahini is amazing in baked goods! Here there are also black and white sesame seeds, so the flavor is incredible. Try it, you won’t regret it!

  • Avatar
    Reply Colleen December 12, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    Tahini in a cake? It sounds amazing, especially with the sesame seeds, too. Pinning to try this!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 13, 2018 at 7:56 am

      Yes! I used it in cakes and cookies and it’s amazing! Hope you try it, it’s so delicious. Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Leanne | Crumb Top Baking December 13, 2018 at 3:38 am

    I can totally relate, Nicoletta. I have to work hard at being present and enjoying the moment, but baking and cooking definitely helps! I’m loving the flavours in this cake. I love both tahini and cardamom but never thought to pair them together! Sounds great!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 13, 2018 at 7:57 am

      Baking and cooking definitely help! The flavors are amazing, we really enjoyed this one! Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Denise from Urb’n’Spice December 13, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    This tea cake is so unique, Nicoletta. It looks lovely and I can just imagine how it might taste with the tasty sesame seeds and tahini. Wouldn’t it be wonderful with a little sweetened ricotta for breakfast with a cup of tea? I will pin to try soon. Thank you for sharing! ❤️

  • Avatar
    Reply Fouzia December 14, 2018 at 8:44 am

    This sounds like such a nutritious and healthy cake to me. What I mostly love about this cake is the use of organic and unrefined ingredients like cane sugar and coconut sugar. The nutty flavour from the tahini paste and the sesame seeds must be wonderful and is so unique in a cake. I would love to try this out some day. Thanks for sharing.

  • Avatar
    Reply Samira Gupta December 20, 2019 at 5:22 am

    What a unique and amazing recipe using tahini and sesame seeds. Loved it. Going to try it for sure. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 20, 2019 at 10:12 am

      The flavors of this cake are so unique and delicious! Hope you try it! Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Lorie November 14, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    This cake sounds amazing but I cannot do wheat due to allergies. Can I use gluten free all purpose flour as a substitute?

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 15, 2020 at 8:31 am

      I don’t see why not! Even if the crumb will be a little different I am pretty sure that it’s still pretty good! Let me know!

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.