Black sesame is a seriously underrated flavour for desserts. It has a beautiful roasted aroma that brings depth to your baking. This black sesame sponge cake is topped with a fragrant black sesame mascarpone cream to really kick the black sesame flavour up a notch. The best part? It needs nothing else!
Tang 燙: scald. Mian 面: flour.
My favourite way of making sponge cakes uses the tang mian/cooked dough method, which coats the flour with fat before adding anything else. Yes, it has an extra step, but this crucial step inhibits the formation of gluten and creates a beautifully fine cake crumb. This means you can also bake the cake days ahead and it will still be soft and moist even a week later! More on the science of tang mian cakes here).
Another key trick to a soft sponge is to bake it in a water bath. There are two reasons for this. The steam from the hot water bath adds moisture to the oven. It also gives a more even and slower heat source than the direct heat of your oven. More on the science of water baths here.
Give this recipe a go! I promise you’ll never want to go back to just a plain sponge. Make sure you tag your beautiful creation with @ultimateomnoms on Instagram so I can share the love!
If you’re interested in more cakes using the tang mian method, you can try my favourite ube cake, chocolate cake, or the classic cotton sponge.
Black sesame sponge cake
Egg yolk mixture
- 65 g oil
- 190 g milk
- 60 g sugar
- 100 g black sesame paste
- 6 egg yolks
- 180 g cake flour
- 1 pinch salt
Egg white mixture
- 6 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 130 g sugar
Black sesame mascarpone cream
- 400 g fresh cream
- 250 g mascarpone cream
- 50 g black sesame paste
- 4 heaped Tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 10 g black sesame seeds (crushed)
Black sesame cake
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan using low-med heat. Sift in the cake flour and mix
- Add the milk, sugar and mix. Take the saucepan off the heat
- Add the egg yolks in one at a time, whisking between each one
- Add a pinch of salt
- Mix in black sesame paste
- In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy and add the cream of tartar. Add the sugar in batches and whisk until the egg whites reach stiff peaks
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC and prepare your hot water bath
- Add one third of the egg white to the yolk batter and mix well. Using a spatula, fold the remaining egg white in two batches. Do so gently and thoroughly so no streaks of egg white remain
- Pour the batter into the lined 8” cake pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Tap the pan against the tabletop to get rid of any large air bubbles
- Put the cake pan into the hot water bath, ensuring that the water height reaches at least a third of the cake pan
- Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour 25min or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean
- Remove from the oven and tap the pan against the tabletop a few times to prevent shrinkage. Transfer to cool on a wire rack pan for 10min before unmoulding
Black sesame mascarpone cream
- Put the ingredients together and whip until soft peaks are reached
- Follow by whipping by hand so the cream is stiff enough to pipe but before the cream turns grainy
Hi there! I’m a bit confused at the recipe vs photos. I see that it’s a layered cake. Yet in the recipe instructions I read 1 8” pan and nothing about slicing into layers. Is it that I am to repeat the baking 4 times in the one pan? Can you clarify this for me please? Thank you so much!
Hey Sydney! For the photos, I made a 6″ layered cake. For this, divide the batter into two cake pans and bake for 1hr 10min. You can then half the 6″ layers to fill with mascarpone cream. I’ve added a note under the recipe to reflect this 🙂
Can you share a photo of the sesame paste you used? Thanks!
Hi Lillian, the wrapper has already been discarded but I bought mine from the Asian grocery store.
Hello, have you ever tried to make these as cupcakes? I’ve tried to look around the internet for tang mian based cup cakes but couldn’t find anything!
Hello! I haven’t tried tang mian cupcakes myself because I use this recipe for fluffy cupcakes: https://ultimateomnoms.com/soft-and-fluffy-vanilla-cupcakes/. It also doesn’t require the use of a waterbath so it would be easier 😆. But do let me know if you try the black sesame cake out in cupcake form!
After adding boiling water to the pan, but before dropping the cake pans in the bath, do you need need to give the oven time to get the water to the required temperature? i.e. boiling water 212F, but recipe over temp calls for 300F? Or is this irrelevant?
This was my first attempt in making a cake using the tang mian method – and ended with a very dense and claggy cake. I was careful to fold the whipped egg whites in very carefully (just like making a genoise sponge) – but the only thing I can think of is that maybe the water bath was not hot enough and somehow allowed the air to release before getting to a cooking temp?
Awesome that you gave the tang mian method a go! I usually boil the water around the same time that I start whipping my egg whites – the water doesn’t need to be boiling hot when you put it into the oven. The purpose is only to create steam inside the oven.
It sounds like the batter wasn’t fully incorporated with the egg white. Folding the egg whites can be a delicate process! My recommendation is to pour a third of the egg white into the batter and fold thoroughly to lighten the batter first. This makes it easier to gently fold the rest of the egg white into the cake batter.
Thank you! Regardless the taste is so good – just wish the texture was up to par – totally on me. Try try and try again 🙂
Yes, it takes me a bit of trial and error too! 😊
If we want to make a layered 8″ cake should we double the recipe and bake in two pans, or just stick with recipe as is and slice in half?
Hey Rowena, I also used this recipe to make a 8″ cake. It wasn’t as tall as the 6″ cake in the pictures but still a great height for a celebration cake. Otherwise you could make 1.5x the recipe. If using two separate 8″ pans, make sure both the pans fit in the waterbath – that is the important thing to make sure the texture is soft and moist!