Mini Tahini Layer Cake with Malted Cream Cheese Frosting

tahini cake sliced and served

tahini cake ingredients

The other day, amidst one of the busiest Augusts in recent memory, I found myself with an unexpectedly free weeknight. To unwind, calm down, and do something “productive”, I decided to bake a cake. Since first eyeing Molly Yeh’s tahini sheet cake ages ago, baking something similar has been in the back of my mind. The setting was perfect: I had all ingredients and didn’t have to run to the store for anything fancy. Luckily, I still had a fair bit of tahini in the bucket I recently purchased. Yes, I use it often enough that I buy it by the bucket. It’s great with toast, in granola, generously added to hummus (of course), and in other baking!

You should try this recipe if you enjoy tahini. You should also try this recipe if you’re kind of impartial to tahini – the moistness and flavour work really well together, especially with a new spin on cream cheese frosting!

Mini Tahini Cake with Malted Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake recipe adapted from Molly Yeh

Yield: one two-layer 6″ round cake and just enough frosting; Can double the recipe to make two round 8” cakes, or one 9×13” sheet cake

Notes: This is a very straightforward recipe. If you are following it exactly as I have listed below, you’ll need two round 6” cake pans. If you only have two round 8” pans or a 9×13” sheet pan, then double the recipe and proceed! Remember that cream cheese frosting does not hold its form as well as buttercream, so act quickly! If not using immediately, pop it in the fridge until you’re ready. I was baking this on a warm day and my frosting kept creeping away from where I spread it

Tahini Cake Ingredients:


  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt


  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup flavourless oil, like canola or grapeseed
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp water

Malted Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • ¾ cup confectioners (icing) sugar
  • A few shakes of salt
  • 2 Tbsp malt drink powder (I used Milo, but you could also use Ovaltine or similar)
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease two round 6” cake pans.
  3. Line the bottom of each cake pan with a circle of parchment paper and grease it, too.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  5. In a separate large bowl, mix together the wet ingredients until evenly combined.
  6. Whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just incorporated.
  7. Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans.
  8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Cool in the cake pans for about 10 minutes, then loosen the edges with a knife and flip onto cooling rack until room temperature.

Frosting Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a medium-large mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt, and cream for another 2-3 minutes until well incorporated.
  3. Add the malt powder and mix until evenly incorporated.
  4. Mix in the vanilla.

Cake Assembly Directions:

  1. Understand you can frost this cake however the heck you want! This is what I did – note that cream cheese frosting at room temperature does not keep its shape and your layers may slide around a bit
  2. Level your cake layers (cut off the rounded tops, eat them with leftover frosting).
  3. Place a dollop of frosting on a plate or cake board, followed by the first layer, cut-side down.
  4. Spread a generous layer of frosting on the top of the first layer.
  5. Place the second layer, cut-side down, on top of the first layer.
  6. Frost the second layer with the remainder of the frosting.
  7. Eat it or pop it in the fridge to firm up.

tahini cakes in pans not frosted

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