This simple yet regal cake tastes like a mix between songpyeon, that honeyed sesame -filled tteok served during Chuseok (the fall harvest festival), and those chewy black sesame rolls you might find at a Korean bakery. The best part is you only need a whisk and a bowl to make it. I love the way the cake batter’s density forces the celestial black sesame crumble upward to form a perfect black line. This black line acts as a sweet, nutty brittle atop the squidgy vanilla base. The chewiness of this cake comes primarily from glutinous rice flour, often labeled as mochiko or sweet rice flour. You can get it online and at most grocery stores these days. But another key trick to chewiness in desserts, I find, is really whipping the eggs a solid 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve some of the sugar (like you would with French macarons) and to incorporate air, which causes baked goods like this one to rise and deflate as it cools, adding to that wonderful chewy texture. It helps, too, that this is the easiest, most straightforward cake recipe I’ve ever developed.
Makes 1 (8-inch) cake
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
2 large eggs
1 cup|210 grams granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
¼ cup|60 ml honey
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup|250 ml whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons toasted black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces|227 grams glutinous rice flour (aka mochiko or sweet rice flour)
confectioners’ sugar, for serving
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Mist an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, honey, and salt until fluffy and pale yellow, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, vanilla, melted butter, and sesame oil until combined.
- Using a mortar and pestle (or a coffee/spice grinder), pulverize 2 tablespoons of the black sesame seeds into a rough powder. It should smell very fragrant. Add this sesame powder, along with the remaining 2 tablespoons of whole black sesame seeds, to the bowl with the egg mixture, followed by the baking powder and rice flour. Whisk to combine, then carefully pour the batter into the greased cake pan.
- Bake until the top is nicely browned and cracked slightly (this is a good sign), 50 to 60 minutes. You can also insert a chopstick or toothpick into the center of the cake, and if it comes out clean, then you’re done.
- Cool completely before dusting with the powdered sugar and slicing into wedges to serve. This cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Reprinted from Korean American. Copyright © 2022 Eric Kim. Photographs copyright © 2022 Jenny Huang. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.
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