Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake

A 100% rye flour version of Benjamina Ebuehi’s Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake from The New Way To Cake. It’s everything you want in a cake. The chocolate notes are deep, the crumb perfectly moist, and the salted tahini icing? Something I didn’t know I needed in my life until now.

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I baked a 100% rye flour version of Benjamina Ebuehi’s Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake yesterday, and it’s everything you want in a cake. It is from her book The New Way to Cake, the chocolate notes are deep, the crumb perfectly moist, and the salted tahini icing? Something I didn’t know I needed in my life until now. The tahini rounds out the sweetness of the sugar in the icing. Fragrant sesame notes come to life as you whisk the flavors into balance with a generous pinch of salt. It’s so good.

Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake
There are a lot of reasons to love The New Way To Cake — the range of beautiful signature cakes, the minimalist book design, the naturally-lit photos by Holly Wulff Petersen — but her celebration of flavors close to my heart is what initially attracted me to it – hibiscus, chamomile, citrus, and chocolate all represent in unique and delightful ways.

A Bit More About Benjamina

She’s a London-based author, baker, food stylist & recipe developer, and she has been involved in some great projects since her appearance on The Great British Bake Off a few years back. You can follow Benjamina on Instagram. She also works in an ambassadorial capacity with Luminary Bakery (read about them!), and co-founded The Sister Table. And, if her use of tahini is what caught your attention today, have a look at the Necatrine, Tahini & Hazelnut Pavlova, on her blog. Or this Tahini Granola

Benjamina Ebuehi's The New Way To Cake

The New Way To Cake

Before we jump into the Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake, a few more notes related to The New Way to Cake. The book is 160 pages in length, soft-back, with sixty cake recipes. It has a premium feel, and would make a nice gift for any baker in your life. The main sections are Nuts & Caramel, Spices, Chocolate, Citrus, Floral, and Fruit. The two recipes I’ve earmarked to bake next: Hibiscus Buttermilk Cakes, and then a Chocolate Guinness Bundt with Yogurt Glaze.Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake

Benjamina’s Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake

The two main components here are a coffee-bolstered, cocoa-based chocolate cake, and the salted tahini icing/frosting. You can make either component a day ahead of time if needed. Although, I should note that, generally speaking, I like to frost cakes the day of serving. Up to that point, keep the cake covered (after cooling completely) and, if needed, rewhip the icing before using.
Salted Tahini Icing

A Rye Flour Swap

I made a few alterations to Benjamina’s cake out of necessity (different pan / alternate flour) & the good news is it baked up wonderfully. All-purpose flour can still tough to come by right now, and I keep a lot of rye flour on hand. I had a hunch that a rye flour swap would be good here – so I went for it. 100% rye. Didn’t hold back. So good! I think people worry that going an aggressive whole-grain flour swap will result in tough, dry cakes and muffins. And quite honestly, that can often be the case. But this worked nicely – have a look at the slice down below! So tender. If you’re apprehensive, go with all-purpose flour, or you can do half rye, half all-purpose flour. But there’s something that happens in the intersection of the rye, coffee, and cocoa, that is really nice.Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake
One slice of Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake

Benjamina Ebuehi's Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake from The New Way to Cake

Let’s Talk Pans

Per my mention up above – I didn’t have the three 6-inch cake pans Benjamina used to create the stunner cake pictured in her book (above). But you all know I have an endless collection of bundt pans. So that’s what I used. I baked the batter in a single 9-inch bundt pan. Buttercream wasn’t going to work with the ridged cake, so I did a salted tahini icing that I could pour over the bundt shape cake, in place of the tahini buttercream version in the book. No bundt pan? My sense is you can get away with baking in a single 13×9 pan, or two 8-inch rounds as well (adjusting the timing, of course). A long way of saying, don’t be deterred if you don’t have the “correct” pan. Bake until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
Chocolate Fudge & Tahini Cake
And a last little side note – I’ve been trying to add weekly favorites links to my newsletter more regularly – articles, books, cookbooks I’m excited about, recipes to try, products I love, or new discoveries in general. So, instead of including them here in “Favorites Lists” on the site, you’ll be able to get them there, along with the heads up on new recipes I’m highlighting. I’ve been sending newsletters out once a week, on Saturday mornings. xx -h.

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Chocolate Dipped Biscotti

Sesame studded and heavily scented with crushed fennel seeds and chamomile, these chocolate dipped biscotti punctuated my espressos this week.

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Sesame studded and heavily scented with crushed fennel seeds and chamomile, these chocolate dipped biscotti punctuated my espressos all week. They were the petite treats I looked forward to. If you’ve never baked biscotti before, they’re a lot of fun, and quite adaptable. The main thing? You double bake them. First with the biscotti dough shaped into a long loaf. And a second time after you’ve baked and sliced those loaves into biscotti.

Chocolate Dipped Biscotti Recipe
You can play around with the flavors here, but the way the fennel seeds and chamomile complements the chocolate is really fantastic (I used, and loved, Guittard 66% organic semisweet). That said, I’ll offer up some alternative suggestions down below, because I totally get that not everyone keeps chamomile around 😉 xx!
Chocolate Dipped Biscotti Recipe

Biscotti Tips:

A couple things I should point out:

Rolling Technique: First, make sure to roll your dough into a tight shape (pictured below). This way, when you go to slice your biscotti after the first bake, they’ll hold their shape. You don’t want crumbling biscotti going into the second bake. A serrated knife is the way to go for slicing, using a quick sawing motion, and not too much downward pressure.

Texture and Baking: If you like a cake-y biscotti, slice them a shade thicker and bake them for a hint less time. If you like a crunchier, more structured biscotti, slice them a shade thinner, and bake them a bit longer (consider flipping them toward the end to really get both side toasty).

Storage: On the storage front. They’ll keep in an air-tight container for a couple of weeks.

Chocolate Dipped Biscotti Recipe

Variations

Herbs: I love herbs like rosemary, thyme, and lavender in biscotti. You can experiment with those. Chop and add to your dough with the other dry ingredients. Go easy, make notes, and adjust each time you bake them. A teaspoon is a good place to start.

Spices: A bit of turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, all are welcome here. Basically if it’s a flavor you can imagine being good in a muffin, it’s fair game here. Or, pre blended spices. My favorite chana masala blend is magic here, and garam masala is a good fit as well. 

Citrus Zest: Lemon zest, makrut lime zest (or minced leaves), orange zest – all add a sunny punch of flavor.

Outer Texture: I rolled these biscotti in sesame seeds to add some texture and boost the flavor inside the cookies, but you could go in all sorts of directions. You could roll them in large grains of sugar, for a crunchy, shardy texture. Or, poppy seeds (or a blend of seeds) could be nice. Or, you could add some sort of flavor boost or ingredient to the egg wash you do before the first bake.
Chocolate Dipped Biscotti Recipe

This is what my biscotti looked like when they came out of the oven after their second bake. Once you’ve sliced your biscotti, for the second bake, you can put them all on one pan. They’ve already risen, so you don’t need to distance them the way you would with most other cookies.
Chocolate Dipped Biscotti Recipe
If biscotti aren’t your thing, but you’re still up for a baking adventure, I love these brownies, this Devil’s Food Cake, these snickerdoodles, or the swirl cake from last week.

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Chocolate Almond Swirl Cake

A fun swirl cake made with a beautiful yellow olive oil cake paired with classic chocolate buttercream frosting that has been bolstered with an entire tablespoon of almond extract.

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Buckle up everyone. I’m going to counter all the recent bean recipes with a birthday cake. It was Wayne’s birthday this week and I felt like a special cake was in order. I wanted to make something that looked classic from the outside, with a surprise when you slice into it. I also wanted to combine all the flavors he loves – chocolate, olive oil, almond, and a good kiss of salt to balance the sweet. He’s always showing me photos of crazy cakes, so I thought it’d be fun to bake him some sort of a swirl cake.

Chocolate Almond Swirl Cake

The Swirl Cake Game Plan

Swirl cakes, zebra cakes, and tiger cakes all have three main components: the base cake, the swirl, and the frosting or icing. For this version I made an incredibly moist and fragrant olive oil cake to use for the base and swirl. It’s a favorite made with yogurt which helps keep things tender. The tangy note of the yogurt nicely balances out the sweetness as well. And then there’s the frosting. The frosting here is classic chocolate buttercream bolstered with an entire tablespoon of almond extract. On the swirl front I ended up doing two versions to see which one I liked better – one I envisioned with a hot pink dragonfruit or raspberry swirl (I had such high hopes!!), and another with classic chocolate. 
Chocolate Almond Swirl Cake

How to Assemble a Swirl Cake

This is what a swirl cake looks like (above) just out of the oven. When you slice into it you get beautiful striping and swirls depending on how you layer or swirl the batter. For a cake like this I use a ratio of about 2 parts yellow cake batter to 1 part chocolate cake batter. You do 2 big spoonfuls of batter into the center bulls-eye of your prepared cake pan, and then top it with one spoonful of chocolate. Repeat until all the batter is gone. Always placing the batter onto the bulls-eye.Chocolate Almond Swirl Cake Recipe

The Frosting

Before we get to the details, just a reminder to let your cake cool completely before you attempt to frost it. And before you go to mix up your buttercream, make sure your buttercream is at a nice, mild, room temperature. Not too warm, not too cool. You want it to whip up nice and billowy. If your kitchen is too warm, and your butter is starting to get a little sweaty looking as you mix it (or at any point, really). Just give it a few minutes in the refrigerator.Chocolate Almond Swirl Cake
To make this shape cut a square cake in half, and stack.

A Tasty Fail

You can see a couple of in-process shots (below) of the version of the swirl cake made with dragon fruit puree. You know those smoothie packets? I pureed one of those. And it looked incredibly promising all through the bake. The disappointment came when you sliced into the cake. If you were expecting bold stripes, no dice. But if you were expecting a really delicious cake, we’re still in business. If you want to make this version – do it for the flavor, not the visual. Mix 1/4 cup of the puree into about half of the yellow cake batter, and skip the cocoa. 
Chocolate Almond Swirl Cake
Before the bake (above), after the bake (below). 
Chocolate Almond Swirl Cake
Swirl cakes are a lot of fun. And you can play around with all the different components of your cake if you have another frosting you like, favorite base cake recipe, or even the shape. 

Or, if swirl cakes aren’t your thing but you still want to make something sweet and tasty try these brownies, this Devil’s Food Cake, this popular chocolate cake, or skip the cake altogether, and churn up some berry swirl ice cream.

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Turkish Coffee Chocolate Brownies

These brownies are dense and fudgy, deep-dish, and decadent with a high fat (butter & chocolate) to flour ratio. Espresso powder and an infusion cardamom seeds lends a Turkish coffee flavor profile.

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Hi everyone, after a few weeks without eggs, we finally scored some. To celebrate? I baked brownies – the best brownies I know how to make. They’re fudgy, deep-dish, and decadent with a high fat (butter & chocolate) to flour ratio. We ate some, froze some, and left some for neighbors. In addition to lots of bittersweet chocolate in the batter, I dial up the intensity with 1/4 cup of espresso powder and an infusion of fragrant, freshly ground cardamom seeds blooming in vanilla extract. It’s a flavor profile I love every time I encounter it. They’re Turkish coffee chocolate brownies, and I’d happily use my last eggs and chocolate to make them.
Turkish Coffee Chocolate Brownies

Brownie Tips

Chocolate: I love Amy Guittard and her family’s San Francisco-based chocolate. For these brownies I use a bag of Guittard Organic Bittersweet 74%. That said, any good bittersweet chocolate over 70% is great. If you can only get semi-sweet right now in the 60-70% zone – they’ll still be delicious, but look for bittersweet as your first choice.

Grinding spices: If you have a coffee grinder at home, you can grind the cardamom seeds along with your beans when grinding the espresso powder. That said, it’s probably easier to use a mortar and pestle to quickly grind the cardamom – your coffee grinder will retain the cardamom scent for a while if you don’t clean it which takes some effort. To clean a coffee grinder you can grind a handful of white rice to clear it of other ingredients and scent.

Invest in good cardamom: Many of you are familiar with Diaspora Co. turmeric, but don’t sleep on the cardamom. I use it here and it is incredibly fragrant and special. Other things you can do if you have a jar –  steep pods in tea, grind a couple seeds with your coffee beans in the morning, toss a few pods into stews, etc. Freshly ground spices can make a huge difference in your baking.
Turkish Coffee Chocolate Brownies

Coffee Choice

A dark, robust roast is welcome here. Anything labelled espresso. You’ll want the coffee beans ground espresso-fine.

Brownie Pan Size

You have some flexibility here. I call for baking in a 8×8-inch pan. If you only have an 9×9-inch brownie pan, I’ve baked these in that size as well, they’ll be a bit thinner, and you won’t need to bake as long. A 9×13-inch pan will result in a thinner brownie, you’ll need to bake for even less time. 
Turkish Coffee Chocolate Brownies
One variation I want to mention. I love using almond extract here in place of the vanilla extract called for.  I’m out right now, but if you have some, consider using it!

Other baking ideas: Maybe you’re not in the mood for brownies, but cookie recipes sound good right now? I love these snickerdoodles, these shortbread cookies, and this Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie. On the cake front, a lot of people are baking this One Bowl Banana Bread right now. Kim Boyce’s Rosemary Olive Oil Cake is wonderful, or if you’re up for a bit of a project, make the Violet Bakery Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake

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An Incredible No Bake Chocolate Cake

The easiest chocolate cake you’ll ever make. And it’s always a huge hit. It’s the sort of easy dessert perfect for summer, and entertaining, because you don’t need to heat your oven.

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I suspect this will be the easiest chocolate cake you’ll ever make. And it’s always a huge hit. It’s the sort of easy dessert that is perfect for summer (and entertaining!) because you don’t need to heat your oven. I think of it as a no bake chocolate cake, you wouldn’t be far off calling it a slice-able truffle. Or, imagine an espresso-spiked, velvety, chocolate mousse you were able to cut into beautiful wedges. Sounds incredible, right? If you have ten minutes,  some dark chocolate, cream, and something to infuse the cream with, you’re in business. I also have some non-dairy variations as well.

The Ultimate No Bake Chocolate Cake

When this Sort of Chocolate Cake is Perfect

This is the sort of thing I’ll throw together if we’re having friends over for dinner and I run out of steam on the dessert front. It’s less trouble to make than it is to go out and buy something. A small slice really goes the distance. It’s intense, it’s hardcore chocolate. Paired with a touch of whipped cream (or whipped coconut cream) it’s a total crowd-pleaser. I infused the cream used in the cake with espresso adn allspice in this version, but you could play it straight. Or take it in any direction you’re inclined – there are dozens of great suggestions in the comments.

The Ultimate No Bake Chocolate Cake

Choosing the Right Pan

This is a small but mighty chocolate cake. The choice of pan warrants a mention. You end up with with ~ two cups of batter, and for the most part you can pour that into any small-ish, parchment-lined cake pan you like. The parchment is important if you ever want to get the cake out of the pan. For this cake, I used a little loaf pan I like, but I’ve done this in small spring-form pans, and on occasion little tart pans. Just keep in mind, a bigger pan will mean a thinner slice. A small loaf pan like this yields a deeper slice, and so on. It’s hard to screw up – I mean, it’s a slice-able truffle cake. In the lead photo I’ve used a 6-inch springform pan. In the shot below, I’ve used a small loaf pan.

In a pinch – a number of you have mentioned that you simply pour the chocolate mixture into individual muffin tins, or dessert cups, allow it to set, and served this way. Brilliant! Less cake like, but I suspect no one will complain.

The Ultimate No Bake Chocolate Cake

Variations

If you want to avoid heavy cream, there are a number of substitutions that work well. I love using cashew cream in place of the heavy cream called for in the recipe. Make cashew cream by combining 1 part cashew nuts + 1 part water and process in a high speed blender until silky smooth. No need to strain. Coconut milk also works nicely as a substitution.

The Ultimate No Bake Chocolate Cake

Choosing the Right Chocolate

Because this cake is all about the chocolate, you don’t want to skimp on quality. I’ve been using Guittard Organic 74% Bittersweet Chocolate Wafers for this cake. It works beautifully. I often use it straight, meaning, without the added espresso or allspice noted in the recipe. So it’s just the beautiful chocolate notes coming through. San Francisco family-run chocolate represent! But, any good chocolate between 70% – 80% will work.

The Ultimate No Bake Chocolate Cake

Finishing Touches

I like to bring a bit of extra flavor (and some pretty) with a dusting of cocoa powder, a few dried rose petals, and a sprinkling of cacao nibs. Others like to finish things of with a few berries. Generally speaking, if it pairs nicely with chocolate, go for it. A few toasted nuts, or crumbled cookies wouldn’t be unwelcome.

No Bake Chocolate Cake

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