Chocolate Cake with Tahini Buttercream Frosting Recipe on Food52

Chocolate

Chocolate Cake with Tahini Buttercream Frosting

November 10, 2020
7 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

This cake is very barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen's sour cream chocolate cake, but it's so good, and pairs so well with all different frostings, like this simple and nutty tahini buttercream. —Joanna Sciarrino

  • Serves 12–16
Ingredients
  • Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Tahini Buttercream
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Chocolate Cake
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
  3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sour cream, water, vinegar, vanilla, and eggs.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until the batter is completely combined. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.
  5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely and then chill overnight.
  1. Tahini Buttercream
  2. Beat the butter and tahini together until smooth. Gradually add in the powdered sugar, then the vanilla and the salt. Continue to beat until completely smooth and lightened in color, about 2-3 minutes on medium speed.
  3. Frost the cake: Place one cake layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread with an even layer of the buttercream. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of frosting to bind any crumbs together. Chill the cake for 30 minutes or until the crumb coat is set. When the cake is chilled, frost with a thick layer of buttercream. Then use the remaining buttercream to create big swooshes and swoops across the entire exterior. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, slice, and serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Peony
    Peony
  • Colleen Kestner
    Colleen Kestner
  • epicharis
    epicharis
  • Margie V
    Margie V

    9 Reviews

    eswapner November 10, 2020
    This cake is absolutely stunning, a must make! Topped it with a checkered pattern of toasted black and white sesame seeds. The chocolate cake is so spongey and delicate and the tahini dressing is one of the best things I've made. You do need to double the icing recipe to get it to be completely frosted. Thank you so much for this recipe! Will be a staple!
     
    eswapner November 10, 2020
    This cake is absolutely stunning, a must make! Topped it with a checkered pattern of toasted black and white sesame seeds. The chocolate cake is so spongey and delicate and the tahini dressing is one of the best things I've made. You do need to double the icing recipe to get it to be completely frosted. Thank you so much for this recipe! Will be a staple!
     
    Peony July 27, 2020
    Odd one out here. I am normally a big fan of tahini but my partner and I thought the frosting awful; I actually scraped it off the cake. We used the frosting for a zucchini chocolate cake that is very moist and chocolatey thinking it would balance it out but it wasn't a good fit. I found the tahini taste to be strong even though I used a bit less than the called for 1/2 cup.
     
    Colleen K. March 9, 2020
    This cake is awesome!! I've never actually baked a cake with sour cream & oil, so was a bit nervous, but the texture is incredible. The frosting doesn't need quite as much sugar as called for in my opinion, and was great with 1 cup of confectioner's sugar. Baked in 2 9" rounds for ~45 min and had enough frosting to cover the cake sides. When I make this again (because I definitely will), I would possibly add some crumbled sesame seed brittle or something to the top just for an added sparkle & crunch, I thought the white sesame seeds blended in to the tahini frosting color a bit too much.
     
    epicharis November 23, 2019
    Incredible, world-class cake. Mine needed a fair bit longer in the oven but turned into one of the most tender and rich cakes I've ever tasted. People fought over it. This is a keeper for sure.
     
    Sarah November 4, 2019
    This cake was fantastic. I made the tahini buttercream in the volume given, which was intentional, and agree that you’d need to at least double it if you want to frost as pictured. That said, I just frosted the center and top and it was a perfect ratio of cake to frosting. I also added a bit more salt than called for and was glad I did. As for the cake, it was exquisite. Definitely an open, loose crumb, and very soft. I used 2 9 inch pans and it was perfect.
     
    Heather February 3, 2019
    This cake was fabulous! I didn't double the frosting (which you would need to do to get a cake to look like the one in the image), and I thought there was a perfect ratio of cake to frosting. The tahini flavor was nutty and subtle, and did not at all make me think of hummus. Can't wait to make this again!
     
    Margie V. November 13, 2018
    The buttercream is good, but you need to increase the recipe to frost and fill as pictured. The cake was ok, chocolate flavor was good but I like a more dense, even textured cake. I'll try it again, but might just use the buttercream with another cake recipe.
     
    ghainskom October 28, 2018
    The buttercream is to die for! GREAT recipe!