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Black Sesame Carrot Cake

Black Sesame Carrot Cake

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Call all your vegan friends! This incredibly moist, expertly spiced carrot cake is worth throwing a party for.


  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk or cow’s milk
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 medium carrots (about 8 oz.), peeled, coarsely grated
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 8x4” loaf pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

  • Whisk granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, applesauce, almond milk, ginger, and vanilla in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in dry ingredients, then fold in carrots (be careful not to overmix). Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  • Bake cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 75–85 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool completely in pan before turning out.

  • DO AHEAD: Cake can be made 3 days ahead. Store wrapped tightly at room temperature.

Recipe by Adapted from Everything I Want To Eat. Copyright ©2016 by Jessica Koslow. Published by Abrams Books.,Photos by Michael Graydon Nikole Herriott

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 300 Fat (g) 14 Saturated Fat (g) 2 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g)44 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Total Sugars (g) 26 Protein (g) 3 Sodium (mg) 370Reviews SectionI've followed so many carrot cake recipes through the years in making cakes for my dad, and this is one of my favorites! I like how it can be totally vegan (although I used cow's milk) and just as tasty regardless. It had a lovely crust with ideal crunchiness and I also made a half recipe of cream cheese frosting that wasn't necessary but elevated it to perfect for me.Loved this version! I have made the cookbook version and it was a bit more dense and sweeter than the recipe here. This moist, flavorful cake keeps well and makes a striking presentation on the plate.

Black Sesame Cake

Growing up, Halloween was a big deal at my house. My mom would go all out on Halloween, decorating the house and getting the BEST candies to pass out.

Throughout elementary school, we had the same routine. At the end of September my mom would ask me what I’d like to dress up as. Come October, she would sew together my outfit, gather the perfect accessories and organize our neighborhood trick-or-treat group.

It’s been ages since I’ve asked my mom to make me a costume. Although, I bet once grandchildren are involved, she’ll have her sewing machine out as early as August to prepare.

Even though I don’t dress up anymore (mainly because Alex refuses to do matching costumes), at least I get to dress up the pups all I want! AND most importantly, I get to make Halloween inspired sweets and treats like this black sesame cake with marshmallow webs.

New twist on black velvet cake

This cake was inspired by the recent Food Network Magazine cover photo. Their feature Halloween cake is carrot cake covered in chocolate frosting and a marshmallow web. I was quite intrigued by the web, so I put my own spin on it.

At first I thought about making a “black” velvet cake. Good thing, I didn’t have black food coloring. As I searched through my pantry, I came across black sesame and this cake was born.

This recipe makes three 6-inch cake layers. I have a photo of the black sesame flour/powder I used in my black sesame shortbread post. If this black sesame cake seems too daunting, here’s an easier black sesame cupcake with matcha frosting.

Fill, stack, and frost the cake as usual. Let it chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes to allow the frosting to set and harden before you decorate it with the marshmallow webs.

Marshmallow Webs

This marshmallow web goop is super easy to make. Simply heat the marshmallows in the microwave.

You end up with this shiny, glossy, and super stringy goop. (It’s my new favorite thing and I want to cover all sorts of cakes with it! Thanks, Food Network Magazine!)

The marshmallow webs sort of look like silly string. You can add as much or as little as you want on the cake. I should have stopped here for an artistic minimal look- but I went a little overboard as shown in the photo below.

As you can see, this marshmallow web goop stuff can get pretty messy. If you’re not careful, it’ll end up everywhere… on your camera buttons, in your hair, all over the table, on the floor, on your phone!

It’s best to work on a surface you can easily wash.

Black Sesame Cake

If you’ve never had black sesame desserts- it tastes quite similar to peanuts. It’s very toasty and nutty in flavor. The cake isn’t that sweet, neither is the frosting.

The sugary marshmallows really help to balance out the flavors in this cake. Alex couldn’t get enough of it. Two thumbs up means it’s definitely a cake I’ll repeat for future Halloweens to come!

Carrot Bread with Black Sesame Seeds

I wanted to share this recipe with you before Halloween because of the whole orange/black color scheme of the carrot bread. But here we are, four days after Halloween. In my defense. Okay, I guess I don't really have any defense besides not being able to stay on track of anything anymore. Rest assured though, this gingery carrot bread topped with crunchy black sesame seeds is delicious no matter what day of the year you make it.

And I should know because I ate about one and a half loaves on my own. Yeah, it's that good.

Not that I can take credit for it though. This recipe comes from the cookbook Everything I Want To Eat by Jessica Koslow, the owner of the popular Californian restaurant, Sqirl. If I am honest with you, I've heard of Sqirl before, but I really had no idea just how incredible it really was. I've made a few recipes from the book and they've all been insanely delicious, so I can only imagine how much better it would be direct from the source. I kind of want to put up my arms and declare that I was once lost, but now am found. But I wont because, well, you know.

This is the kind of bread I like to snack on throughout the day. The black sesame seeds add this addictive crunch that contrasts with the soft, spicy bread. I especially loved the sides of the bread that got lots of black sesame and the bread itself gets a bit crunchy too. All I need is a big mug of tea and I am set for the day - until I look down and realize I accidentally ate the whole loaf of carrot bread. Oops!


  1. Line base of a 8" square tin with grease proof paper. I greased the sides, too and sprinkle lightly with a little flour [this way, the cake can be easily removed from pan after cooling].
  2. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. P lace a baking tray on the lowest rack, pour in enough water [about 1.5 cups] for steam baking, then place a baking rack over it.
  3. Whisk egg yolks and 1 whole egg until creamy then gradually drizzle in the corn oil followed by milk. Whisk until well combined.
  4. Fold in sifted flour and black sesame paste, stir until batter is smooth. Set aside.
  5. Use a cake mixer, whisk egg whites until frothy, then add in cream of tartar. Beat until soft peaks then gradually add in the sugar in 3 batches and whisk until stiff peaks formed. Do not over beat egg whites otherwise it may be difficult to fold in to egg yolk mixture.
  6. Fold in 1/3 of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture until combined. Then fold in the rest of the meringue lightly in two portions until well combined.
  7. Remove 1/2 of the cake batter to another bowl. Add in the a little green colouring, mix well [optional step].


hi,,you are my all time favourite
food blog,,do u bake for sale,,or
how i wish i am jus your next door
neighbour. haha.

Kimmy, your MIL very pantang hor? This type of cake is now my favourite so much so I have to force myself to bake other types for variety. I must go and find the sesame powder. I saw it before in the organic shop.

Hi Anonymous, I would definitely love to bake it for sale but I didn't promote it cos' not many people knows about this kind of cake unless they are home bakers. Lots of explaining to do. Usually ppl will ask for samples to try before they order. So I baked just for my family, relatives and friends or for gatherings [FOC lol]. The most disheartening is, not all who tried will give you the feedback. Personally, I prefer this cottony cakes to chiffon cakes.

Hi Phong Hong, it's also my favourite. I don't know if it is 'pantang' but I remind myself not to baking anything black or dark brown for her since then.

i actually love dark coloured cakes and your layering definitely elevates it to a beautiful cake!

i love this type of cottony cake too!


Hi Janine, I think it is also a very healthy cake as I have always said cos' it's low in sugar, oil and gluten.

Hi Anonymous, yes you can use cocoa powder. Please check it out on others which I have baked under 'Cottony Cakes' label.

Hi, I tried baking the cake but it failed miserably.

1. It shrinks badly.
2. The top wasn't brown. And it cracked.

I am not too sure what you mean by inverting the cake at the final 2 steps. My kitchen temperature is approximately 18-20 degrees as I'm currently in the UK. Do I take the cake out immediately after its done, put it in the pan with top side up for 5 min, then turn the cake in the pan on a rack. Immediately remove the tin and baking paper and leave it cool?

Can I please also ask how do I achieve the top with nice brown skin and no linings of the rack?

Hi *me*, sorry about your 'failed' attempt. The cake shrinks badly could be caused by various reasons from batter preparation to baking it. BTW is the cake cooked? I don't know about your oven. Sometimes, I forgotten to turn on the top heat resulting in the cake top not browned. I suggest you try to bake a smaller cake [souffle cake] to see if the same happens.

Thank you for sharing this recipe, the cake texture is fluffy. May I know why the base of my cake sink?

Hi Jessie, so far I haven't face this problem. Did it sink quite a lot and the base is soggy? Hard to give the exact reasons cos' of different oven use. You may have to try again to detect the fault.

The base of the cake is not soggy nicely baked, will tried to bake again.

Hi Jessie, maybe you can try using 9" or 9 1/2" pan. Bake @ 160C for 10 minutes then lower to 150C and continue to bake for 55-60 minutes.

Hi great recipe for me to use up my sesame powder bought with intention to make "chi Ma woo" but fail tremendously.
Anyway,kimmy you mentioned chiffon and cottony. May I know what's the different between both? As the recipes are familiar to me. Very curious:) tq

How can I show u my cake? To ask the question.

It rises beautifully till I quickly invert and remove tin and paper .

Hi Mae Cheah, quite similar in ingredients except chiffon cake is not steam-baked and the cake is heavier. Cottony [Ogura] cake is lighter and the edges are not browned.

Hi Mae Cheah, mine also rose very high, then shrunk to about 5cm. Cool the cake a little longer before dislodging, could prevent much shrinkage.

Kimmy, can i know the size of egg you use or the weight eg 55g? Large size egg ?
Thank you Simonne

Can I know the weight or size of egg you using ? Thank yous

Hi Simmone, I used AA size eggs. Should be 55-60gm.

Thanks Carole for your feedback. I remembered this flavour is good.

Hi kimmy! I was reading your pumpkin cottony uses custard powder and replaceable with corn starch. BUT not in sesame cottony. May I know why is the difference. Thank you. Btw I do agree one of the comment about you are master or cottony cakes:) coz when my friend mention about your blog instantly I recall you with cottony cakes:)

Hi Mae, paiseh, paiseh. I like baking cottony cakes cos' I think they are healthier and keeps well in the fridge for days. I heard a chef explaining that custard powder is actually cornstarch tinted with some yellow colouring. It is used in the pumpkin flavour cottony cake probably to get a nicer colour. Some recipes for cottony cakes do add cornstarch but I seldom add it in most of the cakes after all the flour quantity is really very small compared to other types of cakes.

1 and 1/2 cups of waer put in when preheating
or put in when place in the cake batter at the same time?

Hi Anonymous, pour in the water when you start heating up the oven. This is like steam-baking.

Hi Kimmy, may I know if I can use a non stick springform pan for this?

Hi Stella, I haven't tried baking this kind of cakes with springform pan. This cake is quite delicate and sometimes shrinks a lot.

Toasted Black Sesame Praline

1- Toast black sesame in a pan at medium heat.

2- While still hot, mix the black sesame seeds with the toasted sesame oil in a mortar and crush it thoroughly using a pestle until you obtain a fine paste.

3- Pass paste through a sieve and reserve.

Black Sesame Sponge Cake Base

1- Mix the praline you prepared previously with the egg whites, egg yolks, sugar and flour until you obtain a smooth dough.

2- Pass through the iSi funnel and sieve and pour into a 1L iSi Whip.

3- Charge the 1L iSi Whip with 4 N2O charges and shake each time.

4- Let it rest in the fridge for at least 2 to 4 hours.

Toasted Black Sesame Salt

1- Toast black sesame in a pan at medium heat.

2- Mix toasted black sesame with salt and make a fine powder using a spice grinder.

Baking the Sponge Cake in a Microwave

1- Prepare the paper cups by cutting 3 small slits on the base of the cups using scissors. This will allow the vapor generated while heating to escape.

2- Spray the cups with a light coat of non-stick spray to make it easier to release the delicate sponge cake once cooked.

3- Using the iSi Whip siphon, fill about 1/3 of the paper cup with the black sesame foam. Foam will expand significantly when cooked so don’t fill the cup!

4- Place the filled cup in the microwave and cook for 40 seconds at maximum power. You can cook 2 or 3 sponge cakes at a time.

5- Remove from microwave and let it cool at room temperature.

6- With the help of a small spatula, carefully release the sponge cake from the paper cup. Flip the cup and tap the top to release the sponge cake.

Raspberry Black Sesame Cake

Even though I’ve made hundreds of cakes, sometimes things don’t pan out as expected. And that’s okay.

Baking may be a science, but it relies heavily on patience. After years of baking, I’m still learning to master said patience. Sometimes I get carried away and I move way too fast. I was so eager to make and build this black sesame cake, that I damaged one of the cake layers as I was popping it out of the cake pan.

No problem. Asides from practicing patience, baking also requires you to go with the punches. You have to be able to adapt, think on your toes, and be ready for an alternative plan.

How assemble this “naked style” cake:

I first shared this technique back in 2013 when I had a mini disaster with a batch of raspberry almond muffins. It all turned out okay because I ended up with this raspberry almond layer cake. I’m doing the same thing with this raspberry black sesame cake.

I used a 6-inch cake ring mold and lined it with acetate strips. (Depending on the width of your acetate, you may have to tape it together like shown above.)

Instead of using whole cake layers, crumble it up into scrapes. (Yes, it sounds crazy. Trust me. It’ll work out.) Place the crumbles pieces inside the ring mold and press it together. Spread a layer of raspberry jam on top.

Follow it up with a layer of black sesame cream cheese frosting. Repeat until you’ve used up all three layers of cake. Let the cake chill in the fridge for at least an hour to set up. I suggest letting it chill overnight.

Slide the cake ring mold off and gently peel off the acetate strip. I love, love, love the look of these unfrosted, naked cakes. I love being able to see the different layers.

Best of all, these kind of cakes require no frosting skills!

I decorated the top with the cake with leftover black sesame cake crumbs and some crushed freeze dried raspberries. I’m really obsessed with this minimalist look right now.

It’s clean, simple, and modern.

The inside of the cake reminds of me of Humboldt Fog cheese. (You know, the cheese with that delicious layer of ash.)

If you’ve never had black sesame desserts, you’re definitely missing out. Black sesame imparts a very nutty flavor without the use of any nuts. It’s great for those with nut allergies.

More black sesame desserts:

I’ve made a handful of other black sesame treats in case you’re not ready to tackle a full on cake. How about matcha black sesame rolls, black sesame shortbread with hibiscus glaze, or black sesame cupcakes?

Does this black sesame cake sound familiar? It’s the same recipe I used to make this Halloween Black Sesame Cake with marshmallow spider webs. I was going to wait until October to make another dark/spooky type cake, but heck- I’m still learning to deal with my patience.

I was inspired to make this raspberry black sesame cake after Sarah of Snixy Kitchen posted her coconut black sesame ice cream with strawberry swirl.

Chinese Black Sesame Cake

This Black Sesame Cake is a popular Hong Kong (Cantonese) Style cake that is traditionally made with water chestnut flour and black sesame paste or puree and typically steamed not baked. Another common and well-liked dessert in Hong Kong is the black sesame rolls made with glutinous rice flour and black sesame paste. There are many customary black sesame Chinese desserts that include sweet black sesame soup (tong shui), mooncakes with black sesame fillings, black sesame dumplings (tang yuan), sesame seeds balls (jian dui), black sesame flaky pastries, black sesame steamed buns, etc. Other black sesame desserts include Japanese mochi (black sesame glutinous rice balls), baked breads, buns, cookies, ice cream, puddings, cakes, cupcakes, brownies, candies etc. Both black and white sesame seeds are made into oil as well as sesame paste or tahini. They are also often used as a garnish, sprinkles or toppings for presentation and an extra layer of flavour and crunch for dishes like salads, soups, grilled meat or seafood, steamed or roasted vegetables, stir-fries, rice, noodles, pasta, sushi, hamburger buns and/or a wide variety of desserts in many cuisines. For my gluten free black sesame cake, I am using gluten free self-raising flour, finely ground black sesame seeds, rapadura sugar, vegan butter, rice milk and desiccated coconut. Then the cake is baked in the oven resulting in a cake that is very similar to Western chocolate brownies. In addition, I have added pistachio nuts and black sesame seeds buttercream frosting to the cake for a tasty treat. This recipe is not only gluten free, it is also low carbs, vegan, dairy free, egg free, soy free and refined sugar free.

History of Sesame

Sesame (Sesamum indicum), also called benne, is an annual flowering plant in the genus of Sesamum that belongs to the Pedaliaceae family. The sesame plant produces adorable tube-like flowers that yields tiny teardrop shape like and oil-rich seeds with a range of colours from white, soft red, brown and black. The sesame seeds grow in a pod that split up when the seeds ripen. The sesame seeds have a sweet nutty flavour that is enriched by toasting with crunchy texture. They originated in India and is believed to be one of the oldest condiments and the oldest edible oil seeds used for salad dressings and cooking for more than 5,500 years. Sesame seeds are grown for culinary uses as well as for traditional medicines. The most widely available are white and black sesame seeds that are commonly used in cuisines all over the world. White sesame seeds are hulled and have a subtle flavour and mildly sweet, while the black sesame seeds are unhulled with a fuller flavour and more intense aroma. Today, the sesame plant is extensively cultivated globally, mainly in the tropical, subtropical and southern moderate regions of the world.

Nutritional Values and Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds

Sesame Seeds, both hulled and unhulled are a good source of 2 types of lignan dietary fiber not found in other plants. These sesame lignans have beneficial antioxidants called phenylpropanoid compounds that contain rare substances named sesamin and sesamolin. They are a nutritious source of plant protein, especially hulled and roasted sesame and have very low glycemic index (GI) indicating that they do not trigger an upsurge in blood sugar level after consuming them. Sesame Seeds have high quality fat content with up to 80 percent are good fats rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids and only 15 percent of saturated fats. Both the white and black sesame seeds are a great source of copper with similar amount of it. They are also an excellent source of minerals and vitamin, namely manganese, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, zinc, molybdenum, selenium and vitamin B1 (thiamine). But unhulled black sesame seeds have higher calcium than its white counterpart eventhough they both consist of the same amount of magnesium. They are often consumed as a substitute to dairy milk by people who have dairy allergies for their high calcium content. Sesame seeds are also a good source of vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).

Health benefits of sesame seeds include: promote a healthy digestive system help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases support healthy bones and teeth assist in reducing stress and anxiety may help reduce inflammation in the body especially rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis maintain healthy blood pressure lower risks of colon cancer boosts the body’s immune system and support healthy blood sugar level.

Black sesame-and-honey cake

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 22 cm bundt tin.
2. Sift the flour and sugar into a large bowl, then beat in the remaining ingredients.
3. Pour the batter into the bundt tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
4. To make the icing, place all the ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until fluffy.
5. Ice the cake once it has cooled.

Cook's note: This cake is delicious with a steaming cup of coffee. Use white sesame seeds if you don't have black.

Recipe by: Abigail Donnelly View all recipes

Nothing excites Woolworths TASTE's Food Director quite as much as the challenge of dreaming up recipes with innovative new foods – or the thrill of creating deliciousness on a plate with the humblest of ingredients. With Abi by your side, you’ll be a cooking expert in no time at all.

Black Sesame Carrot Cake - Recipes

XIAOLU'S NOTES: I actually used 36 g of a pre-ground black sesame powder but still followed the same toasting and grinding process. Both whole and ground seeds are available at well-stocked Asian grocers. If you're able to find and use the powder, be sure to keep a close eye on it in the pan. The frosting recipe below made a little more than needed to frost the cupcakes you see in the photos. Scale the recipe up or down, if you usually prefer more or less frosting. This method makes for a firmer cream cheese frosting than is common and should be pipeable.

6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup black sesame seeds PLUS extra for garnish
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups (155 g) all purpose flour
1/2 cup PLUS 3 Tbsp milk

Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting (Recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a standard muffin pan with 12 baking liners.

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan on the stove over medium heat, stirring them constantly, until they are fragrant (about 2 minutes). Crush toasted seeds with a mortar and pestle OR spice grinder until they are the texture of damp sand and set aside. Separately, sift the dry ingredients into a medium bowl set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the ground sesame seeds, egg, and vanilla and beat until combined. Gradually beat in half the dry ingredients. Add the milk and mix well. Lastly, add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until batter is well-combined and smooth.

Fill cupcake liners until they are about 2/3 full (I like to use my large cookie scoop for this). Lift the pan 1-inch above the kitchen counter and carefully slam it down to expel any large air bubbles in the batter. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pan as soon as safely possible. Cool completely before frosting as desired. Sprinkle the top of each cupcake with extra sesame seeds.

Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 to 2 cups (4 to 8 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted (more if needed)
10 ounces cream cheese, cold and cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 to 4 tsp matcha (green tea) powder, or to taste

Sift powdered sugar and matcha together into a small bowl. In a larger mixing bowl, cream the butter, powdered sugar mixture, and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Add the cream cheese, a chunk at a time, beating after each addition ( just enough to work it in ).