Before you pass judgment on this cake, trust me you have to taste it to believe it. It is rapidly becoming one of my favorite cakes ever. I want to eat this cake all the time.
It does look a little unconventional since the addition of ground black sesames gives the batter what I believe a lovely gray color but the taste is unlike anything I have ever encountered. The cake is lightly nutty and sharp from the sesame paste and they beautifully compliment the honey like sweetness of the pears.
I did make a few changes from the original recipe. I baked mine a bundt pan and lined the top with some sliced pears and a brown butter sugar glaze. The original recipe also calls for you to bake the cake for 1 hour and 40 minutes, which just didn’t make any sense to me, mine was done in 55 minutes and came out with a delicate crumb and was exceptionally moist.
If you have access to a store that specializes in Asian cuisine that will be your best bet for finding black sesames at a reasonable price.
Black sesame pear cake
Adapted from Bon Appetit
For the pear topping:
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 medium firm but ripe pear, peeled cored and thinly sliced
For the cake:
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup almond flour or almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons plus ½ cup black sesame seeds
1 ½ cups sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup buttermilk
1 medium, firm but ripe pear, peeled , cored, cut into ¼ inch cubes
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
Lightly spray a 10 cup bundt pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with the sliced pears, fanning them in a circular pattern. In a medium saucepan melt the butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until deep golden brown. Add the brown sugar and cook for 1-2 minutes longer until the sugar starts to melt. Pout the butter mixture over the pears and set aside while you prepare the batter.
Whisk 1 ½ cups flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 2 tablespoons sesame seeds in a medium bowl. Grind remaining ½ cup sesame seeds in a spice mill to form a thick paste, about 2 minutes.
Using an electric mixer, beat ½ cup butter and 1 1/3 cups sugar in a large bowl until well combined. Add sesame paste and beat, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until blended, 1-2 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk. Beat until pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. On low speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Toss pear with remaining 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl; fold into batter.
Spoon batter into prepared pan and gently smooth the top.
Bake until a tester comes out clean when inserted into center, about 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Run a knife lightly around the edges and invert pan onto a plate tapping the top lightly to release. Serve the cake with an additional sprinkle of sesame seeds if desired.