I’m a turd.
Molly has been singing, nay, operatically belting out the praises of tahini for years now. And I was still just a supermarket-homous-munching Canadian idiot with a little bit of tahini uncertainty. I loved the sound of the addition of tahini, but I hadn’t yet incorporated tahini into my desserts. So when Molly’s already-beloved cookbook Molly On The Range rolled onto my doorstep last week and I saw the ding-dong-beautiful photo of a dark chocolate cake with a thick layer of tahini buttercream punched out into the cutest mini cakes, I knew what I was making (well that, and SCHNITZEL BAO!)
The chocolate tahini cake is indeed a fantastically unique flavour. I was licking the spatula for the batter while putting my pans in the oven – tahini incorporates marvellously with chocolate. Then, iced with the tahini frosting with vanilla, a teensy dash of cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt, and it becomes this terribly crave-able thing.
I had everything in my pantry except a fresh jar of tahini – I actually blast through tahini quite heavily because I make this “glory bowl dressing” that I literally dump onto salad piles or brown rice bowls in an attempt to eat healthily. But, after reading Molly’s book, I realized the crunked-up tahini I had been buying all these years was NOT up to snuff. So I walked over to my favourite Triple A market (it has a lot of things Whole Foods has but it looks like someone took a giant dusty shit in the store – i.e., they don’t care one doodad about keeping aisles neat and tidy or “facing” their products – it’s a somewhat grungy green grocer but they have lots of organic produce) and eyed the tahini shelf and chose what I thought looked the most Molly-approved, a jar of Cortas from Lebanon!
This chocolate tahini cake! I was snacking on the cake trimmings with thick globs of the frosting while photographing the cake and I was trying to think of when I first came across Molly on the inter web – I believe it was on my pal Melanie’s blog You Are My Fave. I was like, who is this hilarious little rascal making this beautiful food?? Also, part Asian too?!! SOLD! (Some Asians (me!) tend to get excited when they meet other neat-o Asians.)
This cake is so chocolately, with the nutty infusion of sesame flavour, the frosting is creamy and extremely lickable, with a hint of cinnamon spice . I also added an extra pinch of fleur de sel sprinkled on top for a little sweet-and-salty.
Molly Yeh's Chocolate Tahini Cake
For The Cake
- 1 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup flavourless oil (I used grape seed)
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 3/4 cup boiling water
For The Tahini Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 2 cups powdered icing sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Make The Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheight. Grease and flour three 7-inch round cake pans (or, one 13 x 9-inch baking dish).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, oil and tahini.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Whisk in the boiling water.
- Divide batter evenly between cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 23-25 minutes.
- Let cakes cool completely before frosting.
Make The Frosting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and tahini until creamy.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix to combine.
- Mix in the salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract.
- Beat on high until fluffy, about one minute.
Assemble The Cake
- Level any domes that might have baked up on your cake layers.
- Place the first cake layer cut-side-up on a cake board or plate.
- Using an offset spatula, fill the layer with tahini frosting; add the second layer, cut-side-down, on top.
- Fill the second layer with frosting and add the final layer, cut-side-down, on top.
- Frost the entire exterior of the cake and use a cake smoother to smoothe, if desired.
- Place cake in freezer to chill for 12-15 minutes to set the frosting.
- Remove cake from freezer and frost a final layer of frosting, using a cake smoother if desired.
- Optional: add a final sprinkle of fleur de sel and decorate with edible flowers or fresh berries!
I’m pretty pumped on Molly’s beautiful and hilarious book. It’s got wiener jokes, it’s got drawings, it’s got sweet stories and recipe titles like “Spaghetti and My Ex-Boyfriend’s Meatless Balls” (which, incidentally, his balls sound delicious). It has Molly’s signature cloudy-gorgeous-minimalist-gothic-dreamy-farm photography, pictures so lovely they wrap you up in a cozy wool blanket, and it has Molly’s writing, which is so cheerfully appealing, charming and open. I will quote myself when I describe Molly here: “Molly YEH! Like a big old YAY. This woman. She brightens the internet like a half Chinese half Jewish, percussion-playing gorgeous firecracker blasting through the milky way, and she’s getting married to an EGG.” So many congrats on your book, Molly!! xo Lyndsay
PS I interviewed Molly a while back and you can read that here!
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