Tahinopita / Sesame Cream Cake

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tahinopita / sesame cream cake

tahinopita / sesame cream cake

Tahinopita (ταχινόπιτα) or sesame cream cake is a delicate, traditional treat for Lenten periods of the year in Greece.  This cake bakes up light and high with walnuts and golden raisins, dusted with a bit of powdered sugar.

Perfect for breakfast with coffee or tea, tahinopita is equally delicious for an afternoon snack or tucked in a lunchbox. Its just ever so slightly crumbly and cuts neatly into slices that make pretty plates even prettier. Pair with a side of red grapes or sliced fruit for a sophisticated, sweet dessert that can follow any meal.

tahinopita / sesame cream cake

tahinopita / sesame cream cake with red grapes

If you haven’t cooked with tahini before, you’ll be surprised at how versatile and full of flavor it is. One of the most important things to remember when cooking with tahini is to stir it well.  Just like other nut butters (peanut, almond, etc), the sesame oil rises to the top of the jar.  It’s very important to remember to stir tahini until all the oil is incorporated completely BEFORE measuring out the amount needed for your recipe.

In this recipe, the order of cooking instructions is important to getting the best results. Begin with creaming the tahini and sugar together.  It will begin as a very crumbly mixture. Mix well for at least 5 and up to 10 minutes by hand until you get a creamy mixture that holds together pretty well.

cream tahini and sugar

cream tahini and sugar

Once the tahini and sugar are creamed, add the oil and stir to combine, should take only a few strokes. At this point, add the brandy, orange juice and spices. Stir to combine and set aside.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder/soda in a separate bowl.  Add dry ingredients to wet and combine completely.  The batter will be very thick. It’s tasty too – definitely spoon licking material! This recipe will make 1, 9″ round cake. Remember to cover the bottom of your pan with parchment paper and smooth the batter on top before baking.

tahninopita batter in pan

tahninopita batter in pan

Tahinopita will bake up a lovely brown and should come easily and cleanly out of the pan after running a knife around the outside edge. Cool in pan for at least 30 minutes and turn out of pan to serve. Remember to remove parchment paper from the bottom of cake before cutting. This is a wonderful cake to display on a cake platter or stand!

tahinopita on cake stand

tahinopita on cake stand


  • 1 cup tahini (stirred well to combine)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsbsp vegetable or light olive oil
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 anise seed (grind seeds)
  • seeds of 2 cardamom pods (grind seeds)
  • 2 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins (optional)

Cooking Instructions

Mix tahini in jar until oil on top is completely incorporated. Measure out tahini and add to medium bowl with sugar.

Cream tahini and sugar together for at least 5 up to 10 minutes until you get a smooth paste that sticks together.

Add oil and stir well to combine. Should take only a few strokes. Add  brandy, orange juice and spices. Stir to combine and set aside.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder/soda in a separate bowl.

Add dry ingredients to wet and combine completely.  The batter will be very thick. It’s tasty too, so feel free to lick the spoon or pass it to little hands to finish off!

This recipe will make 1, 9″ round cake.

Cover the bottom of your pan with parchment paper and smooth the batter on top before baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  Check at 40 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick comes out clean.

tahinopita / sesame cream cake

tahinopita / sesame cream cake

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22 Responses to Tahinopita / Sesame Cream Cake

  1. Pat Martin March 20, 2014 at 5:12 am #

    Hi! In the above recipe, is it 1/4 tsp. ground anise seeds? Thanks!

    • Kiki March 20, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

      Hi Pat! The recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds so I’d say about 1/2 teaspoon ground anise if you’re not grinding your own. Hope this helps, Kiki 🙂

    • nitsa May 23, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

      Thankyou for the recIpe. Delighted as came up quite light and heigh but disappointed by the dryness.

      • Christine June 20, 2015 at 11:18 am #

        I was also disappointed by the dryness. Would make again but bake for much less time. I knew 40 minutes sounded too long. But my husband said it reminded him of the cakes his Greek mother made growing up, so maybe it’s just supposed to be dry.

        • Kiki June 20, 2015 at 7:41 pm #

          Hi Christine, It IS supposed to be a dry cake in the tradition of the drier Greek cakes. Your tahinopita should be just almost crumbly but not fall apart completely. You should be able to cut nice slices from a round cake with no trouble. The flavors in this cake are what I love best and for me it’s perfect with a nice cup of coffee. If you do try it for less time in the oven, please let me know? I’d love to know how it turns out, Kiki 🙂
          ps – For a moist cake, milopita is definitely a better choice – actually baking one tonight for Father’s Day tmrw 🙂

  2. Lana Vukovich January 11, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

    How much cardamon spice does the 2 pods translate to?
    1/2 teaspn ?
    1 teaspn ?

    • Kiki January 11, 2015 at 11:04 pm #

      the rule is approx 10 pods per teaspoon so 2 pods is pretty hard to say – 1/8th tsp maybe? I’d go with 1/4 as more flavor will be absolutely better here than less 🙂

  3. Georgia March 24, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

    If I don’t have anise can I use ouzo and if so how much?

    • Kiki March 25, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

      Georgia, I’d be hesitant to substitue ouzo as you’d be adding additional liquid to the batter and I can’t say how that might affect the cake as a whole. Think about just leaving out the anise seeds maybe. The cake will be lovely even without them, I promise! Next time, add them in and see which way you like best. Let me know how you do, Kiki 🙂

  4. Georgia April 2, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

    I actually added like 1/8 teaspoon ouzo and I can’t say the batter seemed too runny. It was like a dough…. The final out come is crumbly; is that how it’s supposed to be? It tastes fine and is good with a coffee or tea.

    • Kiki April 2, 2015 at 10:33 pm #

      It’s definitely a thick batter! And yes, it should be a nice, delicate crumble. Not a mess all over the counter certainly but just perfect with coffee or tea 🙂

  5. Erika June 4, 2016 at 5:34 pm #

    This is AMAZING. Exactly what I’ve been searching for for quite some time. I can see it going perfectly with my black coffee…if it lasts until morning! I want to share with everyone. I can’t wait to try your other recipes! 😀

  6. stefano arturi December 12, 2016 at 4:49 am #

    hi there, I stumbled upon your blog whilst researching for “vegan cakes”. I am not vegan but I had a vegan friend for supper and I wanted to bake something different (I once had a cake stall at a local farmers’ market and I had a couple of vegan cakes in mu files, but I wanted to explore new things)… so I baked this cake…It is a good cake and I actually like the crumbliness. Good flavour – rather subtle and austere. One of my guest tasted the tahini straight away, I did not.

    My changes: I used walnut oil instead of olive oil, I have added the zest of the orange, I have used rum instead of brandy. I also made a smaller cake adding some diced apples and this was good too. This is a good cake to have in one’s repertoire. Next time I will try it without raisins. thanks

    • Kiki December 13, 2016 at 9:37 am #

      Stefano, your version sounds just delicious! I especially love the smaller cake’s addition of chopped apples and definitely want to try it now with the walnut oil. thanks for taking the time to share these with all of us! Kiki 🙂

  7. Netta September 13, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

    what is: “ground allspice”?

    • Kiki September 18, 2017 at 5:01 pm #

      Allspice is one spice that blends the flavors/aromas of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Ground allspice is simply how you purchase it in the grocery store, the allspice berries are dried and ground in a fine powder. this is what we use in this recipe 🙂

  8. George November 17, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

    Please clarify the oil “ tsbsp” Is tsp or tbs? Thanks

    • Kiki November 25, 2017 at 10:43 pm #

      tablespoon 🙂

  9. Nomy August 11, 2018 at 2:24 pm #

    can I substitute almond meal for the flour?

    • Kiki September 5, 2018 at 4:24 pm #

      I wouldn’t recommend it 🙁

  10. donna May 10, 2020 at 1:17 pm #

    can we use buckwheat flour for the regular flour thanks

    • Kiki June 11, 2020 at 1:26 pm #

      Donna, I honestly couldn’t say! But please do report back if you try it 🙂

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