Adapted from Japanese Chef Keiko Ishida’s recipe for black sesame chiffon cake, this cake is moist and fluffy with a unique, rich and nutty flavour. Tasty bits of black sesame paste add a delicious crunch too.
A friend recently shared this cake recipe for Japanese black sesame chiffon cake, and it is scrumptious! Moist and fluffy as chiffon cakes should be!
The unique flavour and texture of black sesame paste infuses the cake with delicious nutty notes. Yet it tastes so light and airy, that you can easily take in a few slices!
Japanese Chef Ishida’s recipe is one of the most popularly blogged about when it comes to Asian-inspired chiffon cakes. Many home bakers have gone on to adapt or tweak this particular recipe, which I always find inspiring.
After all, baking should be about taking a recipe and making it your own to suit your tastes and of those whom you lovingly bake for.
The goodness of black sesame seeds
Whether as a spread or dressing, as crispy biscuit snacks or in breads and rolls, black sesame seeds make nutritious and delicious foods. The Chinese have long believed in the tonic benefits of black sesame.
Black sesame seeds are rich in unsaturated fatty acid, vitamin E, proteins, calcium, iron and phosphorus. In traditional Chinese medicine, black sesame seeds are representative of the black food group.
Black foods are generally regarded as effective food tonics that nourish the liver and kidney. Food tonics have beneficial effects on the meridians of our vital bodily organs, thus improving their functions.
Ingredients for black sesame chiffon cake
For the batter:
- Egg yolks
- Brown sugar
- Black sesame paste (store-bought or home-made)
- Black sesame seeds (optional)
- Cake flour (Don’t have any? No worries, make your own from scratch)
- Baking powder
For the meringue:
- Egg whites
- Cream of tartar
- Caster sugar
Black sesame paste
Chef Keiko Ishida’s recipe uses Japanese black sesame paste. At the time I was going to make this, I didn’t have any store-bought on hand. So I decided to make a homemade paste. If you’ve got the time to make your own black sesame paste, I highly recommend it!
It’s really not as tedious as one might think, and it is possible to get your home-made paste almost on par with store-bought spreadable black sesame paste.
What’s the catch, you might ask? You’ll need a fairly powerful blender. That’s about it. But if you’ve got so much better things to do with your time, just head out and get ready-made black sesame paste.
How to make black sesame paste in 3 easy steps
- Dry fry black sesame seeds in a wok or skillet until toasted over low medium heat. Here’s a useful tip! Throw some white sesame seeds in with the black. Fry until you see the white seeds start to turn a light, toasty brown. Then you know it’s done. This can take about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Grind the toasted seeds in a food processor. Get it as fine as you can, until the seeds come together in a rough paste. Don’t worry if the paste starts to clump together. This is because natural oils are being released as the seeds get ground. Now, set aside 1¼ cup of this rough paste aside for the recipe.
- To get the smooth paste for the recipe, blend 1 cup of the rough paste with 3 tbsp neutral-flavoured oil. Then process again until the paste is smooth, thick but spreadable.
- You’ll have more than enough rough black sesame paste for the recipe. This keeps well chilled or frozen, sealed in an air-tight container for up to 3 months. I like to use up the extras by making this Chinese sweet soup, black sesame filled glutinuous rice balls in sweet osmanthus ginger soup.
I have found that using both the rough and smooth black sesame pastes in the recipe creates a bolder, nuttier flavour. Plus the rough clumps add tasty bits of crunch throughout the cake.
These little crunchy bits are not to be taken lightly. They pack a flavourful, nutty punch! Much like biting into roughly crushed bits of Oreo cookies (minus the sugar)!
If you have store-bought paste, just skip the first part of the recipe instructions on how to make your own.
Here are more chiffon/sponge cakes to inspire your next bake:
- Chocolate Chiffon Cake
- No-Fail Pandan Chiffon Cake, Easy Step-by-step Recipe
- Beautiful Orange Chiffon Cake – Fresh & Zesty Citrus Flavour
- Vanilla Chiffon Cake + Tips for the Perfect Chiffon Bake!