The best types of desserts are impressive but secretly foolproof to make, and Eric Kim’s chewy black sesame rice cake (from his new cookbook, Korean American) needs only a whisk and a bowl. It has a sweet, nutty sesame crumble and a satisfyingly chewy vanilla base unlike any cake you’ve ever tried.
“This simple yet regal cake tastes like a mix between songpyeon, a honeyed sesame-filled tteok served during Chuseok (the fall harvest festival), and the chewy black sesame rolls you might find at a Korean bakery,” Kim writes. “The chewiness of this cake comes primarily from glutinous rice flour.” (You can find it online and at most grocery stores.)
“Another key trick to chewiness in desserts,” he continues, “is really whipping the eggs—a solid 1 to 2 minutes—to dissolve some of the sugar and to incorporate air, which causes baked goods like this one to rise and deflate as it cools, adding to that wonderful chewy texture. It helps, too, that this is the easiest, most straightforward cake recipe I’ve ever developed.”
Reprinted from Korean American. Copyright © 2022 Eric Kim. Photographs copyright © 2022 Jenny Huang. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
¼ cup honey
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons toasted black sesame seeds, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces (227g) glutinous rice flour (aka mochiko or sweet rice flour)
Powdered sugar, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mist an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, honey and salt until fluffy and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, vanilla, melted butter and sesame oil until combined.
3. Using a mortar and pestle (or a coffee/spice grinder), pulverize 2 tablespoons of the black sesame seeds into a rough powder. It should smell very fragrant. Add this sesame powder, along with the remaining 2 tablespoons of whole black sesame seeds, to the bowl with the egg mixture, followed by the baking powder and rice flour. Whisk to combine, then carefully pour the batter into the greased cake pan.
4. Bake until the top is nicely browned and cracked slightly (this is a good sign), 50 to 60 minutes. You can also insert a chopstick or toothpick into the center of the cake, and if it comes out clean, then it’s done.
5. Cool completely before dusting with the powdered sugar and slicing into wedges to serve. The cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.