sesame-seeded carrot cake

1st April 2011

I know there are many carrot cake recipes out there, but what makes this one special is the nutty addition of raw tahini and the sesame seeds encased all around it.  I have been baking it in two loaf pans, each measuring 22 x 12 cm.  One for us, and the other as a surprise gift for a dear friend or neighbour, to find on their table when they arrive home.

I keep little bits of paper everywhere.  It can drive me a bit crazy at times.  It always seems messy and when I need a certain piece of paper, a book I wanted to order, a poem I found inspiring, things to be done in the garden, messages to pass on to friends, a magical sentence that the children said or a wonderful recipe to try, I can never find them when I need them!  This is what happened to this cake recipe.  To find this little piece of paper scribbled on the back of an envelope took me forever. It somehow found its way into my garden seed box! Pure luck that I stumbled upon it.

It was first made for me by my next-door neighbour, Michal, and I quickly scribbled the recipe down and sort of forgot about it until Anna turned up with this same cake on my doorstep.  As a must-try, of course.  She had taken this cake to another level as she always does, and prepared it so the whole cake was encased with a sprinkling of sesame seeds, top to bottom and all four sides.

This little cake deserves a viewing of my favourite tea corner in the garden.  This is where I sit in the morning after the frenzy of morning duties in getting everyone out the door, and here I sit again in the late afternoon watching the kingfishers swoop down to scoop up a snail or a fat worm.  This is where I sit and take in the sweet smells of blossoming Spring.  At the moment the garden is heavy with the scent of white jasmine and almost overtaken with rambling nasturtiums.  This is a place where I can watch things grow, a place to tend and nurture, to taste and smell, and most importantly to connect me with that flame of existence.  A place where I can sit quietly and listen to the busy buzzing of the bees, the songs of the birds, and grab a moment to take in this secret space of my garden, filling me with a sense of peace and warmness that envelops my whole being.

So please enjoy, and bake this to take to your favourite tea corner in your house or garden.

sesame-seeded carrot cake

Makes 2 loaves


½ cup all-purpose flour

¾ whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

½ tsp fine rock salt

1 Tbsp cinnamon powder

1 Tbsp ground Allspice

1½ cups dark brown sugar

¾ cup canola oil/coconut oil

4 eggs

¾ cup raw tahini

2½ cups grated carrot – three medium carrots

1½ cups roughly chopped walnuts

½ cup unhulled sesame seeds


1.  Set the oven to 180C/350F and lightly butter two 22cm loaf pans, then gently sprinkle the sesame seeds along the sides and bottom of the pans, leaving enough sesame seeds to sprinkle over the top of the two cakes before baking.

2.  Sift together the flour, bicarbonate soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt.

3.  Beat the oil and sugar in a food mixer/hand beater until a creamy consistency, then add the eggs and tahini and mix again.

4.  Slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

5.  Add the grated carrots and the chopped nuts to the mixture, using a spatula, fold them into the batter until all ingredients are combined well.

6.  Divide the mixture between the two loaf pans, sprinkle over the remaining sesame seeds and bake for 40 – 45 minutes.  Test with a skewer for doneness.  The cakes should be moist, but not sticky. Remove from the oven and leave to settle for a good 10 minutes before turning them out of their pans.

Goodness shared from Stacey

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