Monday, March 3, 2014

Cinnamon & Sesame Apple Cake

Okay get ready- I'm gonna get a little philosophical on you guys today. Bear with me.

I try to write every day (uh huh sure) and the other morning I ended up writing about how I tend to think of life in chapters. I blame it on excessive reading ever since I was a kid- although what is excessive, really, when it comes to reading? Some of these life chapters are longer than others, but they always open out onto a new page. Fresh ideas, plot twists. Unexpected words put into unexpected sentences.

Ugh, sorry, I'll stop with the extended metaphor.

The main point that I want to get to is that sometimes it's hard to see how all of these chapters connect. Sometimes I look back on my years in college and I think wait, was that really the same person? Taking too many classes, waitressing in the local pizza restaurant and choreographing to keep herself sane? 

And then I think what about that young woman in London? The one waltzing around in high heels, saying words like 'cheeky' and making pancakes for her flatmates on Sundays? 

And that leads to how about that girl in Italy, downing espressos every hour? 
the girl back in Minneapolis, sitting on the back porch feeling stuck, writing and dreaming about the next adventure? 
the woman in Berlin, doing yoga and casually dating like it was a sport?

And now the chapter of the American in Tangier. Dancing up a storm, stumbling through languages, collecting stories. 

How do these people relate?

I have a good friend who I met in London who liked to talk about "connecting the dots." Even with these different chapters that feel completely seprate from each other, the dots connect. For example, I cook wherever I go, bringing a sense of home to whatever kitchen I'm thrown into. I'm stabilized by weekly conversations with my family, whether it's sitting around the living room in Minneapolis or on a skype call from a hostel in Brugges. I always have the same shade of lipstick in my purse, the same silly habit of laughing with just my shoulders, and the things I learn and the impact of people I meet just keep piling and piling on, filling me up... but only half full, right? 

Speaking of being full. 
Let's switch the topic to CAKE.

This apple cake tastes nostalgic- like flipping back to past chapters of homemade apple pies, checkered aprons and cinnamon. However, it also has a little zing of something new. Something exotic that you can't quite put a name to unless you know the secret ingredient. That, my dear, would be my new best friend- tahini. With a little extra sesame in the crunchy crumb topping. Let's mix up the new and the old today, because you can't have one without the other. 

Cinnamon & Sesame Apple Cake

155g almonds, ground to a fine flour
55g rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 medium apples, peeled, cored & chopped to 1" pieces 
3 eggs
90g brown sugar
4 tbsp melted coconut oil
1/3 cup tahini

Sesame crumble topping:

3 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp solid coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 375ยบ and grease & flour a cake pan (mine was about 6x10"- a funny size, but 8x8 or slightly larger works too. Adjust cooking times as necessary).

In a medium bowl, mix the almond and rice flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, coconut oil and tahini until frothy. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, then fold in the apples until completely coated. Spread the batter evenly in your cake pan and set aside.

Combine the crumble topping ingredients in a small bowl with your fingers until it sticks together in large crumbs. Sprinkle over the top of the cake batter and bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until a knife comes clean out of the center. Let cool for about 15 minutes, slice, serve & be happy.


  1. I have a new found obsession with combining tahini with sweet things. This looks so comfy and delicious!

    1. Thanks, Tessa! I have found the exact same obsession. Tahini & chocolate truffles are next on my to-make list.

  2. oh wow this looks delicious! i've been looking for a good gf apple cake with lots of apple chunks in it. love that you top it w sesame! making this.

    1. Yay thank you, Renee! Apple cakes are always best when they are super chunky and fruit-filled, in my opinion. Can't wait to hear how you like it.

  3. This looks amazing! We've talked about this before, but I'm obsessed with all things tahini and sesame lately. Can't wait to try.

    1. Thanks!! Yes- the obsession continues. Cakes, cookies, truffles, veggies... Tahini on and in everything, please.

      I hope you enjoy it!

  4. This looks like the perfect snack cake! Tahini is so underrated too - I love to put a spoonful in a chocolate milkshake to give it a nutty flavor.

    1. Oh wow, that sounds delicious! Great idea, Amanda :)