recipe image

Tahini Cake with Blueberry Swirl

Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time
    30 minutes
  • Cook time
    1 hour
  • Serves
    8 to 10
Author Notes

The foundational cake here is lush and bronzed, a dessert with effortless summer glow. It’s like the Genius Maialino Olive Cake, but with a bitter edge that bites back against sweetness. Adapted from Falafel for Breakfast via Erin Made This.

A couple of notes on the cake!

It works without the blueberry swirl—which is a great option for the non-summer months (but try not to think about that yet!).

Instead of buttering the pan, you brush it with tahini, then sprinkle it generously with sesame seeds (I like a mix of black and white, but you can use all white if you’d like, or all black). Make sure to brush all the ins and outs of the pan thoroughly so that your cake does not stick. (You can also spray with nonstick spray for extra reassurance.)

For the jam layer, the blueberries get blitzed first, then cooked down with citrus juice and cornstarch. This reduces cooking time and means you don’t have to transfer hot mush from your stove to your blender or food processor. —Sarah Jampel

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

  • For the swirl!:

  • 1 1/2 cups

    (220 grams) blueberries

  • 1/4 cup

    (50 grams) granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon


  • 2 tablespoons

    cold water

  • 1 tablespoon

    orange juice

  • For the cake:

  • 3/4 cup

    (200 grams) tahini, plus 4 tablespoons for brushing the pan

  • 1/3 cup

    (45 grams) sesame seeds, plus 3 to 4 tablespoons for coating the pan

  • 3


  • 1 1/2 cups

    (300 grams) granulated sugar

  • 1

    vanilla bean, seeds scraped

  • 3/4 cup

    plus 2 teaspoons (190 milliliters) olive oil

  • 1 cup

    (240 milliliters) orange juice

  • 2 cups

    plus 3 tablespoons (280 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon


  1. For the swirl!:
  2. In the food processor, purée the blueberries until you have a coarse mixture.
  3. In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and water to dissolve the cornstarch. Stir in the blueberries and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Then lower the heat and let the mixture simmer and bubble, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange juice; cool.
  1. For the cake:
  2. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Use a kitchen brush to smear the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan with the 4 tablespoons of tahini. Make sure you get it in all the crevices and creases—it’s the equivalent of “buttering” the pan.
  3. Use 3 to 4 tablespoons of sesame seeds (you can use a mix of white and black if you want!) to sprinkle all over the pan. You can shake the pan back and forth a bit, as if you were applying a flour coat, to make sure the seeds are evenly distributed.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and fully incorporated.
  5. While whisking gently, slowly pour in the olive oil, making sure it’s fully emulsified. Add the orange juice and mix well.
  6. Stir in the tahini and mix until well combined and no lumps remain.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then add to the bowl of wet ingredients and fold to combine. Add the remaining 1/3 cup sesame seeds and fold to incorporate.
  8. Pour 1/2 of the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Spoon half of the cool berry mixture in a ring over top of the cake batter, then use a wooden skewer, offset spatula, or sharp knife to swirl the two together. Add the remaining batter and the remaining purée and again swirl until well incorporated—large swatches of pure purée could be problematic.
  9. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.
  10. Allow to cook in the pan completely, then flip onto a cooling rack.
  11. This will keep wrapped in foil, at room temperature, for 3 days.

Read More