Black Sesame Pear Tea Cake

5 days, 5 new breakfasts. I think we should celebrate with cake. And this cake—from the archives of my breakfast partner-in-crime—is the way I want to end the week.

The sight of this dramatic black loaf may be unappetizing to some but I’m a sucker for black sesame. Besides, I had this bookmarked for a long time. Noelle and I are trying to figure out how to cook through (and not forget about) the recipes we’ve accumulated—we’ll let you know if we solve this—but in the meantime, I get to check this off the list.

It’s an unusual cake, but if you love sesame, you’ll dig it. The pear feels right with the subtle flavors of the black sesame and adds pockets of sweet, moist bits. I suggest cutting them into nice, big chunks.

My daughter could not believe we were having cake! For breakfast! For a more sensible approach, head over to Noelle’s for perfectly circular poached eggs (that Pépin video is worth a watch, too).

Black Sesame and Pear Tea Cake
Adapted from Lottie and Doof
Makes 1 loaf

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cups plus 2 tablespoons AP flour, divided
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup black sesame seeds, divided
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 ripe Bosc pear (I used Bartlett), peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Butter a loaf pan and set aside.

Whisk the flours, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 2 Tbsp black sesame seeds together in a medium bowl.

Grind 1/2 cup sesame seeds in a food processor or spice grinder. This will take a couple of mins, but just listen. There’s a point when the sound changes. It’s the sound of ground sesame seeds turning into paste. Scrape down the sides and grind again. Set aside.

With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 2 mins. Add the sesame paste and beat, scraping down sides of bowl, 1–2 minutes. Again, scrape down the sides and add the egg and yolk. Beat on medium for about 3 mins. Set the mixer to the lowest setting and stir the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 additions (ending with the flour).

Toss the pear with 2 Tbsp of flour in a small bowl and gently fold into the batter. Spoon the batter into the pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp sugar.

There’s controversy about baking time, ranging from 45–90 mins. Lottie and Doof suggests checking at the 45 min mark by inserting a tester and seeing if it comes out clean (mine took about 1 hr 10 mins, Noelle’s took an hour).

Let cool in the pan. Invert, then enjoy!

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  1. Chonn
    Posted September 19, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    You had me at black sesame!!! OMG I need to make some!

  2. Posted September 19, 2015 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Chonn, yes… you must! Your toddler will love you for it, especially if you serve it for breakfast.

  3. Posted September 21, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Black sesame cake!! I’m definitely trying this and I think my little girl would love it too.
    What size loaf pan did you use? I only have a 8×5″ pan. Thanks for the recipe! (Also, been enjoying the breakfast posts.)

  4. Posted September 21, 2015 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Donna, my pan is 9×5″. I’m a little sad the breakfast posts are over, but glad you’ve been following along!

  5. Annie
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Hello how much is one stick of butter? Can I use sesami powder instead of paste?

  6. Posted November 9, 2015 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Annie, 1 stick is 1/2 cup. I’m not sure about whether powder and paste are interchangeable. Please let me know if you try it!

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