Black Sesame Swirl Pound Cake

Getting all my posts back up and edited yesterday I thought it was time for a celebration. And what better way to celebrate than with some cake?

Toni Tipton-Martin’s Jubilee

Since I’m a pretty shit baker, I’ve always wanted to learn to just make a basic cake. When I saw the recipe for pound cake in Toni Tipton-Martin’s Jubilee, I knew this was The One.

The cover of Jubilee by Toni Tipton-Martin

Toni Tipton-Martin has spent her career shedding light on the history of African-American cuisine and cooks. In Jubilee she brings together their stories and recipes for a compelling and hunger inducing read.

The book really does feel like a true celebration and is highly recommended reading for anyone who wants to understand more about the history of North American food.

Black sesame fiends and snack exchanges

I’ve been doing snack exchanges with Yone, who lives in Taiwan, for a while now. One of the things she’s sent me is black sesame paste. On my request, because I love black sesame and wanted to use it for baking.

And use it for baking I did.

A mess, some stress and then perfection

One of the things that intrigued me about Toni’s recipe is that you start the cake in a cold oven.

Turns out, if you add a fuck tonne of sesame paste to a recipe it’s not going to cook the same. During its time in the oven my black sesame swirl cake was looking a tad hopeless for a while, but I left it in until it was solid, which is a lot longer than Toni’s recipe, and in the end I cut into the most perfect moist and fluffy cake I’ve ever had.

So if you’re going to tackle this, have faith. It’s going to turn out alright.

Slices of black sesame swirl pound cake stacked on top of each other on marble and wooden cutting boards with a light green background

Black sesame swirl pound cake

Dorothy Porker
This recipe combines Toni Tipton-Martin's beautiful pound cake recipe from Jubilee with a black sesame swirl all the way from Taiwan.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Or 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Birthdays, Dessert
Cuisine African American, American
Servings 10


  • Tube pan - 10"/ 25 cm
  • Small bowl
  • Big bowl
  • Stand or hand mixer
  • Spatula
  • Oven
  • Metal spoon
  • Wire rack


  • butter for the pan
  • 5 c - 380 gr all purpose flour plus extra dor dusting the pan
  • 1/2 t - 5 gr baking powder
  • pinch salt omit if using salted butter
  • 1 t - 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 8 oz - 230 gr butter room temperature
  • 1/2 c - 95 gr shortening
  • 5 c - 615 gr sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 c - 250 ml whole milk
  • 4 oz - 125 gr black sesame paste loosened if caked together and drained from oil


  • NOTE: do not preheat the oven. We will start heating the oven once the cake is in. This is different but I found it really works. Patience permitting.
  • Coat a 10" - 25 cm tube pan with butter and dust lightly with flour. I like to fridge mine while I make the batter so it really makes a strong coating.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 5 c - 380 gr of all purpose flour with 1/2 t - 5 gr of baking powder and a pinch of salt.
  • Cream 8 oz - 230 gr of room temperature butter on medium speed in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula every so often as you go along.
  • Add 1/2 c - 95 gr of shortening and beat for another 2 minutes.
  • Now set your mixer to low and slowly beat in 3 c - 615 gr of sugar in three portions and then beat for an additional 5 minutes on medium until the batter is light and fluffy.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add 5 eggs one by one. Until all the eggs have been fully incorporated and you're left with a light batter.
  • Now set your mixer to medium and add 1/3 of the flour mixture, incorporate, add 1/2 c - 125 ml of milk, incorporate, add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, incorporate, add 1/2 c - 125 ml of milk, incorporate and finally incorporate the final 1/3 of the flour mixture until the batter is just smooth.
  • Rinse out your smaller bowl and dry and move roughly half of your batter to this bowl.
  • Beat 4 oz - 125 gr of black sesame paste into the remaining batter on medium for 2 minutes or so until well incorporated. You can add more black sesame paste to taste if you like.
  • Lightly fold the plain batter back into the black sesame batter, 2 to 4 folds max, to get a little marbling going on.
  • Pour the cake batter into the pan and place in the middle rack of a cold oven.
  • Set the oven to 325° F/ 160° C and bake until the top is golden and a tooth pick comes out clean. Toni Tipton-Martin's recipe (without the sesame paste) should take around 1 hour and 15 minutes, where as my cake took about 2 hours and 15 minutes with the sesame paste incorporated.
  • Leave the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out on a wire rack to cool completely. Maybe cut yourself a slice cause it's really nice when it's still warm too.


This cakes keeps for around 1 week in an airtight container.
Keyword american cakes, black sesame, cake, pound cake

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar voor zwarte sesam marmer cake.