Spring 2024

Chocolate Tahini Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

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Serving: 6 people

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes


New Maldon Sea Salt Flakes packaging green SEA SALT FLAKES 250g

450g plain flour

450g golden caster sugar

225g light brown sugar

150g cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

3 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of Maldon Sea Salt, plus extra for garnish

8 medium eggs

300ml buttermilk

100g tahini

250ml vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Buttercream:

400g unsalted butter, at room temperature

600g icing sugar

100g cocoa powder

8 tbsp whole milk

200g dark chocolate, melted and cooled

Decorate: edible flowers, blue chocolate eggs (optional)


Let’s be honest, how many times have you seen a blog that claims to have the ‘best’ chocolate cake recipe? We’ve seen dozens upon dozens, and although we have tried (and eaten) many throughout the years, yet none have itched that truly rich, decadent, chocolaty scratch that we all crave deep down.

That is until we got our aprons on and got busy in the kitchen, where upon test after test, we eventually itched that scratch…the ULTIMATE chocolate cake was created!

Our chocolate tahini cake is dangerously delicious, with moist chocolate buttercream layers in between tall, fluffy and soft chocolate sponge cake. It’s then coated in the remaining buttercream to pack everything together, sealing in the rich, decadent goodness of every chocolate lover’s dream.

Including tahini within the mixture causes the cake to have a beautiful, nutty, sweet and sesame like taste to it, allowing the texture to be fudgy, smooth and buttery.

When was chocolate cake invented?

Speaking of chocolate, have you ever wondered where chocolate cake came from? Between 1764 – 1765, John Hannon and Dr. James Baker worked together to make cocoa powder from grinding cocoa beans between two massive circular millstones. From this, chocolate candy was invented and then shortly afterwards milk chocolate arrived in 1876. It wasn’t until 1886 when American cooks began adding cocoa powder to cake batter, making the first chocolate cakes!

What is Tahini?

If you haven’t tried tahini, it’s a thick paste made from ground sesame seeds, commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes like hummus! Tahini is what gives dishes like hummus that beautiful nutty flavour, causing the texture to be creamy.

Why should you use tahini in baking?

Tahini paste is a great addition when baking as it balances out the sweetness – just like sea salt does! It pairs beautifully with chocolate and coffee aromas too! Because of it’s creamy texture and healthy fat content, it binds easily with the other ingredients, making the overall texture fudgy and rich.

Because tahini mixes better with ingredients that have similar textures and fat contents, it works perfect in a buttercream, made with softened butter and cream cheese! Adding tahini in your buttercream will result in a delicious smooth frosting, with added depth to the overall flavour.

How do you make chocolate tahini sponge cake

  1. Grease and line 3x 20cm baking tins with greaseproof paper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  3. In a large mixing bowl sift in the plain flour. Next add the golden caster sugar, soft brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and Maldon sea salt. Mix the dry ingredients together, and then make a well in the middle.
  4. In a separate bowl mix your wet ingredients – the eggs, buttermilk, tahini, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Whisk this together, and when it is fully incorporated pour it into the well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
  5. Use the KitchenAid Stand Mixer to combine altogether, until you have a smooth batter (but be careful not to overmix). Then pour the mixture evenly between the 3x cake tins. Place them on a shelf in the middle of the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Check they are fully cooked through by inserting a skewer or cocktail stick in the middle of the sponge and ensuring it comes out clean.
  6. Set the cakes on a wire rack and allow them to cool completely.

How to make chocolate buttercream

  1. While the cakes are cooling you can make the chocolate buttercream. In the stand mixer bowl, beat the butter until it is fully softened and smooth. In a separate bowl sift the icing sugar and the cocoa powder. Slowly add the icing sugar and cocoa powder to the butter mixture in spoonful’s, beating each addition in before adding the next (so you don’t create a sugar dust cloud!).
  2. Continue until you have added all the icing sugar and cocoa powder, and the mixture is thick and smooth. Finally add the melted and cooled chocolate, along with the whole milk, and beat this through to create a silky smooth and chocolatey buttercream.
  3. Once the sponge layers have fully cooled you can assemble your cake. Spread a little buttercream onto the base of the cake stand or board in the centre, then place the first sponge on top of this. The buttercream will help it stick in place. Spread some of the buttercream all over the top of this cake, and then sandwich the second sponge on top, pressing down gently. Repeat this with the final sponge. Now you want to use the remaining buttercream to smooth all around the sides of the cake and on the top. Using a palette knife or cake scraper can help you achieve a smooth finish.

How to decorate a chocolate cake

When decorating the chocolate cake, we chose some edible flowers and coloured Easter chocolate eggs – but you can decorate however you wish! Don’t forget to do a final sprinkle of Maldon Sea Salt flakes on top – it works perfectly with the rich chocolate as it elevates the sweetness and counteracts the bitterness from the cocoa.

What is a good substitute for tahini?

There are many substitute options for tahini if you are struggling to find it in the local grocery shop! Because tahini is a sesame seed paste, try using a nut butter instead. We recommend an almond butter as it’s very similar in both texture, flavour and colour! Other nut butters you could use instead could be: cashew or macadamia nut butter. Both have the same creamy richness and nutty flavour that you get from tahini.

Alternatively, some people may use Greek yogurt instead of tahini as it lends itself a creamy, but thinner consistency. Because of it’s slightly thinner texture, you may need to adjust the ratio to the other ingredients.

Can you freeze chocolate cake?

Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap it in clingfilm tightly. The tighter the better, as it seals in the freshness of the cakes and avoids it from getting freezer burn. Wrap the cake in a layer of aluminium foil for extra protection.

For best taste and texture, you shouldn’t freeze cakes for longer than 3 months, but the sooner you can serve it, the fresher it taste!

When thawing cakes, transfer the wrapped cakes to the refrigerator one day before decorating or serving. The cakes take at least 8 hours to thaw completely in the refrigerator. You can thaw them in toom temperature, but the flavour and texture is best one thawed slowly in the refrigerator.

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