A Lebanese Cake

And now for something completely different!
I love Lebanese food; I knew little about it till we lived in France and made friends with a Lebanese couple. I love their use of spices, sumac, z'atar, dried mint, 7 spices etc, and I love falafel, houmous [sp?] and tabbouleh.
 I've long had a love-hate relationship with tahina or tahini, sesame seed paste, but was given this recipe for using it in a cake by our Lebanese friend, and I really liked the result. You could use peanut butter instead, and I think it would work really well, but the tahini makes a really rich, flavoursome cake.

Preheat oven 180C/gas 4.
Grease a 24cm cake tin well and sprinkle with 3 tbspn sesame seeds.

Beat 250ml tahini in a large bowl with 165g caster sugar, 40g light brown sugar and grated zest of 2 oranges till mixture is thick and creamy. Add the juice from the 2 oranges and 200g thick plain yoghurt and mix well.
Fold in 375g sr flour, 1/2 tspn salt, 1 tspn mixed spice, 100g chopped pistachio nuts, 3 tbspn sesame seeds and 6 chopped stoned dates. Mix throughly till everything is well combined.
Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 45 mins till golden and firm.
Turn onto a wire rack to cool.

I decorated it with some more orange zest. It's a rich cake with a dense texture - a great accompaniment to a cuppa or to have as a pudding with some creme fraiche, cream or ice cream.
It's difficult to describe the flavour of tahini - I think it's an interesting flavour, a bit nutty, slightly bitter and it's creamy.
If you want to know how it's made, have a look  here .
It's certainly a different flavour to my usual cakes, but it's one to have occasionally, when you feel the need for something different.


Suelle said…
All those lovely fruits, nuts and seeds sound delicious together. I think I'll have to add this to my long list of cakes to try!
julie said…
Lebanese food is delicious! I had a Lebanese friend when I was younger. Your tahini cake sounds really special.
I love tahini in sweet or savoury dishes - your cake looks lovely - dates are great in everything!
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Delicious sounding cake. I'm deeply fond of Lebanese food, although most of the Lebanese food I've eaten has been in restaurants and they don't often have cakes.

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