Jessica Koslow’s Carrot-Ginger Black Sesame Loaf

August 29, 2016

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: The more sesame seeds you can put on top of this loaf, the better. It can get crumbly, but it’s good for you because you get to eat all the crumbs. Also, I’d be playing tricks on you if I didn’t tell you that this treat is the perfect color combination for Halloween.

Reprinted with permission from Everything I Want to Eat by Jessica Koslow, © 2016, published by Abrams.

Makes: makes 1 (8½ by 4½–inch/21.5 by 11–cm) loaf


  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil, plus more for the pan
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (145g) packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) almond milk
  • 1 2-inch (5-cm) piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large carrots (7 ounces/200g total), coarsely grated
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, plus more as needed
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Brush the inside surfaces of an 8½ by 4½–inch (21.5 by 11–cm) loaf pan with a little oil. Dust with flour, tapping out any excess.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, applesauce, almond milk, ginger, vanilla, and salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture, followed by the carrots, and finally the oil.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the sesame seeds. You want it to be completely covered in seeds. Bake until the middle of the loaf has puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes.
  5. Let cool completely in the pan before slicing. Store, tightly wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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Reviews (24) Questions (0)

24 Reviews

jenncc May 2, 2018
Not sure what I did differently, but I just made this to wonderful reviews. Mine was slightly dense but no more so than a typical banana bread, and certainly not gummy. The ginger/cinnamon/carrot ratio was perfect and the crispy sesame topping was a revelation! The only thing I would say is that it is a tiny bit too sweet for my taste - next time I will reduce the sugar by a few tablespoons. I did notice that there is another version of this on the Bon Appetit website. And I am curious about the "Jessica Koslow" posted recipe below - very different.
katie June 19, 2017
Unfortunately have to agree with everyone. This is horrible! Baked for much longer than directed as tester was not coming out clean. When finally pulled out (and cooled) it can only be described as gummy. The cinnamon in this recipe is also incredibly overpowering. Threw it in the trash as soon as I tasted it! Disappointed. Definitely do not waste your time on this
Jessica K. January 16, 2018
Katie - (This is Jessica Koslow). The recipe attached seems to be an iteration made by Food52 and not the recipe from Sqirl. Below (in the link) is the recipe we use at Sqirl -- which sells out instantly every time. I'm sad this recipe here has my name attached to it!
K January 20, 2018
Hi Jessica - I'm a huge fan of Sqirl, but I do think it's unfair to blame Food52 as the above recipe seems to be exactly the same as it appears in your own cookbook (as mentioned in the "Author Notes" above). The only discernible difference is that the above lists "2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, plus more as needed" whereas your cookbook states "2 to 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds", but everything else is copied verbatim.
Claire S. March 8, 2017
I made this cake yesterday, and have to say - I'm in the 'disappointed' crowd. While the batter was delicious (I have no shame when it comes to cake batter or cookie dough), the cake itself was a total flop. Just like everyone else, it took at least 3 carrots to hit 7 oz, and an hour and change of baking time resulted in a beautiful crust but a gummy interior for the cake. The flavor was very mellow, and bland. The last-minute addition of oil to the batter was an odd timing thing as well, wondering if that contributed to the cake's odd consistency?
Jessica K. January 16, 2018
Claire - (This is Jessica Koslow). The recipe attached seems to be an iteration made by Food52 and not the recipe from Sqirl. Below (in the link) is the recipe we use at Sqirl -- which sells out instantly every time. I'm sad this recipe here has my name attached to it!
[email protected] January 30, 2018
Hi. This is the same recipe that is in the Sqirl cookbook. It matches almost exactly and does not look like the one that you have attached. What happened? Have you checked that the rest of the recipe's are yours?
familydinners November 11, 2016
I used grated carrots from the store to make it easier. Texture was perfect. I wonder if that makes a difference in baking.
SmallLion November 10, 2016
went 85 min. toothpick came out clean but got tricked. pudding in the middle. I weighed my carrots. I wonder if some of the moisture shouldn't be sqqueezed out of the grated carrots?
Amy October 30, 2016
Just mixed the batter. What is the rationale behind adding the oil last? Batter was thick and took considerable mixing to incorporate oil. Doesn't that just make more gluten?
Susan November 1, 2016
Hi, I didn't know that mixing a lot makes more gluten! Really interesting point. I too found that you had to mix to get the oil in, but I used a spatula and it did work finally. I mixed very slowly.
Jessica K. January 16, 2018
Amy - (This is Jessica Koslow). The recipe attached seems to be an iteration made by Food52 and not the recipe from Sqirl. Below (in the link) is the recipe we use at Sqirl -- which sells out instantly every time. I'm sad this recipe here has my name attached to it!
mary October 29, 2016
I made the cake, following directions to a "T". Weighed out the carrots and agree that it took 3 good sized carrots to get 7 oz of grated carrot. Anyhow I was disappointed. It was hard as a rock on the edges and pudding like in the middle. The flavor was good, mellow and lightly sweetened. But the consistency was not cake like at all. I did like the introduction to black sesame seeds which I would not have purchased if it wasn't for the cake. Don't know what i did wrong???
Susan November 1, 2016
Oh, I am so sorry to hear that. In the meantime I have made it three times and each time it has been delicious - I know because it was eaten quickly. The second time I made it, I kept it in the oven a bit too long, and at first I thought it would be too hard, but it was delicious as it cooled down. I used coconut oil and probably extra carrots.
familydinners October 27, 2016
Made this GF w Cup4Cup flour. So delicious! Everyone loved it. They have Cup4Cup at Whole Foods, so it's easy for me to buy now.
bluejeangourmet October 24, 2016
In the oven right now! Just a note that was I using what I'd consider to be pretty large carrots, and it took nearly 3 to yield 7 ounces, so the recipe as written may be somewhat misleading if folks aren't measuring by weight.
Susan October 24, 2016
I just made this cake and as soon as it cooled down, it was gone! Everyone had more than one piece, simply because it was delicious. Moist and tasty! Best carrot cake ever. I used coconut oil because it was the only oil I had besides OO at home.
Katie A. October 24, 2016
I made this yesterday, it was incredible! I only had white sesame seeds and only about 2/3 the amount of carrots specified. It was so moist and delish, next time I might reduce the sugar a little bit, but it was good.
Adel H. October 22, 2016
I made this last night and it was so good! love the sesame seeds
I U. October 22, 2016
Some things just DO NOT go together.
JoAnne L. October 20, 2016
Being Vegan and gluten free, I'm eager to try this cake with a gluten free flour mix. No eggs to substitute, I'm halfway there!!!
Sandra W. October 21, 2016
That is exactly what I thought! Making this tomorrow with GF A-P Flour.
erin October 26, 2016
Hi, how did the GF flour work? (And does your flour already contain xanthan gum?) Thanks!
jan October 19, 2016
I notice there are no eggs...what is the keeping quality of this cake?