Adapted from a Japanese-inspired recipe for black sesame chiffon cake by Okashi, this recipe uses a blend of home-made (or store-bought) spreadable black sesame paste as well as roughly ground black sesame to create a deep, nutty flavour with tasty bits of crunch. Recipe makes a 20-cm chiffon cake.
Course Breakfast, Cakes, Dessert, Snack, Snacks and Treats, Tea
Cuisine Asian, Japanese
Servings 1(One) 20-cm chiffon cake
For black sesame paste (makes extra) - can be made ahead.
400gblack sesame seeds
For the Batter:
5egg yolks(at room temperature)
25gsmooth black sesame paste(or store-bought black sesame paste)
70gtop flour(or cake flour)
¼cuproughly ground black sesame paste(or 20 g black sesame seeds)
180gegg whites(at room temperature)
¾tspcream of tartar
To Make Black Sesame Paste:
Heat up a wok or skillet over low fire. When hot, add half of the black sesame seeds and dry fry for about 10 minutes, until lightly toasted and fragrant. (Tip: Add a few white sesame seeds into the mix. When the white seeds turn a light, toasty brown, scoop out the batch). Repeat with the remaining half.
Using a blender, blend or pulverise the toasted sesame seeds until it becomes a paste. It will clump together due to the oils being released as the seeds are ground. Do not be tempted to add any oil to grease the blades at this stage. Scoop the paste off the sides of the blender towards the blades with a spatula, and blend or pulverise. Repeat until you cannot get the paste ground any finer. Set aside 1/4 cup of this rough paste.
Take 1 cup of the roughly ground paste from (2) above. Add 3 tbsp canola oil and blend or pulverise as finely and smoothly as possible, until a smooth black sesame paste is achieved. Set aside 25 grams of this smooth paste.
To Make the Cake:
Pre-heat oven to 160 deg C (320 deg F).
In a measuring cup or bowl, mix water, canola oil and 25 grams smooth black sesame paste (from step 3 above, or store-bought black sesame paste) and stir until well combined.
In an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, whisk egg yolks with brown sugar, on high speed (speed 4 on my Kitchen Aid mixer) till pale, thick and almost doubled in volume. Lower speed to medium, and slowly pour in the mixture from step 5 above. Whisk until just combined.
Sift flour and baking powder together into the mixture. Fold in the flour using a hand whisk or spatula. If using the mixer, mix on low speed just long enough for most of the flour to blend into the mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
Add 1/4 cup roughly ground black sesame paste (from step 2 above, or 20 grams black sesame seeds) and fold till just combined. Finish folding by hand, scraping all flour off the sides of the bowl, and into the mixture until incorporated. This will help prevent over-folding or over-mixing. Transfer to a clean deep bowl (if you only have one mixer bowl that comes with your electric mixer) and set aside. Wash the whisk attachment and mixer bowl, and dry thoroughly. Important: The whisk and bowl must be absolutely dry and grease-free to whisk the meringue.
To make the meringue, place egg whites into the cleaned mixer bowl. Using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites at high speed (speed 4 to 5 on my Kitchen Aid). When the egg whites just begin to foam, add the cream of tartar while whisking. A few seconds later, add the remaining sugar in a slow and steady stream. Continue to whisk egg whites until glossy and stiff peak stage. Important: Do not over-beat the egg whites, otherwise the cake will turn out dry.
Add 1/3 of the meringue to the yolk mixture and fold using a spatula. Gently fold in the remaining meringue, ensuring that the meringue is well incorporated. Be careful not to over fold or mix, as the sesame paste in the mixture may cause the batter to lose volume and result in a dense texture when baked.
Pour the batter into an ungreased 20 cm chiffon tube pan. Gently tap the pan on the counter top to eliminate air pockets, and gently run a thin spatula in an 'S' motion throughout the batter as air pockets may be trapped. Ensure that the batter reaches the same height all around the pan, and smooth the surface evenly.
Bake at the lowest rack in the oven for 40 to 45 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. When done, remove from the oven and immediately invert the tube pan onto a cake rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before loosening the cake. Note: It is perfectly normal for the surface of the batter to crack during baking; however, if it starts to crack before the first 15 mins of baking has passed, it may indicate that the oven temp is too high.
To loosen the cake, turn it up again so that the surface of the cake is now facing up. Insert a flat blade in between the cake and pan and run the blade around the circumference of the pan, pressing against the pan as much as possible. Then invert the pan again so that the bottom of the pan is now facing up. Gently tap or push the pan's base to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Then run the blade between the base and the bottom of the cake to loosen it from the base of the pan.
#1. The black sesame paste may be made ahead of time. This will save you a lot of time on the day you intend to bake this cake. You will end up with more black sesame paste (roughly ground as well as smooth) than is required. The extra will keep well if stored in air-tight containers and kept chilled in the refrigerator. I have had extras of both types of pastes keep very well for up to 3 months in the refrigerator.#2. To dress up this cake, Okashi recommends frosting the cake with whipped cream and sprinkles of black sesame seeds.