Serves a Crowd

Sesame Oil Cake with Honey Whipped Cream

May  3, 2019
Photo by Joy Cho
Author Notes

Adapted from Maialino's Olive Oil Cake recipe, this "off-roading" version swaps out olive oil for sesame oil, a nutty and pungent alternative. Sesame oil is common in traditional Korean cooking, and I wanted to infuse its characteristic flavor into a cake.

The oil's flavor and aroma are definitely evident in the cake, and would be overpowering if not for the honey syrup and honey whipped cream – both of which provide complementary sweetness and depth that balance the overall flavor profile. If you’re up for an adventurous twist on a classic, give this recipe a try!
Joy Cho

  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Makes 2 8-inch round cakes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup pure sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon grated grapefruit zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 cup honey (for syrup)
  • 4 tablespoons honey (for whipped cream)
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly coat two 8-inch cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds.
  2. Sift the flour into a medium bowl, then add the sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and ground ginger and whisk together.
  3. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the oils, milk, eggs, zest and juice and whisk until well-mixed. Add all of the dry ingredients to the oil mixture at once and whisk together until smooth and no lumps remain. Take care not to over-mix.
  4. Carefully divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 35-40 minutes. The cakes are done when the middles are set and spring back upon touch, and when a toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. Set aside.
  5. To make the honey syrup, simmer the water and 1/4 cup honey in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until warmed through. With the warm cakes still in their pans, brush the syrup over the cake tops, or better yet, poke small holes on the cake tops with a toothpick and pour syrup on top. Let cakes sit for 30-45 minutes while the syrup is absorbed, then invert onto a baking rack and let cool completely.
  6. When ready to serve, whip together the heavy whipping cream and 4 tablespoons of honey with a stand mixer, electric hand mixer, or by hand until soft to medium peak. Top cake slices with a dollop of fresh whipped cream to finish.

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