Everyone loves a timeless classic. A tailored little black dress. A warm apple pie with a shatteringly flaky crust. A right proper Manhattan on the rocks.
That said, anyone who knows me well will tell you that I usually prefer my classics with a twist. I pair my little black dresses with a funky pair of shoes or a coloured tights. I like to add sharp cheddar to the crust for my apple pie. And I'm a total sucker for a maple Manhattan.
And then there's this cake, which I like to think is a perfect example of an old-school classic with a new-school twist. It all started with a recipe from Second Helpings, Please!, which was the must-have gift for an entire generation of Jewish-Canadian brides.
My well-loved copy of the book originally belonged to my mother-in-law, as did the vintage Nordicware Bundt pan I used to bake this cake. It's dog-eared and stained and has seen better days, but it's also my go-to when I want to make some Jewish comfort food for The Mister.
Not surprisingly, there are several coffee cake recipes in the book, including a gorgeous sour cream bundt cake that's buttery and moist, with a dense crumb and a crunchy exterior. It's the perfect way to use up that half-full tub sour cream you've probably got kicking around in the fridge right now.
But like with any classic, I just couldn't resist giving it a brand-new twist.
Which is where the rest of the inspiration for this recipe comes in, courtesy of the local Korean supermarket. That's where I picked up some toasted black sesame seeds to give this cake its delicious nutty flavour, and a jar of marmalade-like quince tea that's swirled inside the cake and brushed on as a glaze.
Newfangled flavours aside, though, this is still an old-fashioned coffee cake at heart. It's still just as buttery and tender as the original, but with a irresistible nutty aroma, and a glossy golden-brown exterior that slices open to reveal a beautifully black-speckled interior swirled through with shreds of quince.
It's not fancy. It's not vegan or paleo or gluten-free. It's just a damn good cake.
For best results, do exactly what I think all of those young brides did after they baked this cake... invite your oldest friends over, bust out your finest china, and brew up a pot of your strongest coffee for a good old-fashioned kaffeeklatch. With a new-school spin, natch.
Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Gay Lea, and received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
- 1 cup Stirling butter, softened
- 1½ cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup Gay Lea sour cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup roasted black sesame seeds
- 2 ¾ cups flour
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup mogwacheong (Korean honey quince tea), divided
- Preheat oven to 350F. Generously grease a 12-cup fluted tube pan, and dust with flour.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the sour cream, vanilla extract, and sesame oil.
- Using a coffee grinder or a small food processor, grind the sesame seeds into a fine powder. (Don't overprocess - you'll end up with black tahini!) Stir into the wet ingredients, mixing until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients, and stir until the mixture comes together into a thick, smooth batter.
- Spoon one third of the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon ¼ cup of the honey-quince tea on top of the batter, staying away from the edges of the pan. Top with half of the remaining batter, following by another ¼ cup of honey-quince tea, and then finish with the last portion of batter.
- Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a moist crumb. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully invert and unmold. Brush the surface of the cake with the reserved ¼ cup quince tea, then tansfer to a wire rack to cool off completely.
If you're in Toronto, I'd suggest checking out the Galleria Supermarket in North York, H-Mart at Yonge and Bloor, or P.A.T. Central in the Annex.
sugar pawz says
I pair my little black dresses with a funky pair of shoes or a coloured tights. And then there’s this cake, which I like to think is a perfect example of an old-school classic with a new-school twist.
Brandy | Nutmeg Nanny says
I am SUCH a fan of Black Seasme Seeds! The flavor in this sounds so good!
Amy @ Two Healthy Kitchens says
This looks so good! What amazing flavor combinations! I love the idea of putting a twist on a classic - that way, you know you'll love it, but you're also not getting bored! I could totally see this recipe as being useful for a bunch of occasions! :)
Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) says
A damn good cake. This is all we need, mostly. Love the twist on this classic!
[email protected] says
Anybody who cooks/bakes/whatevers with quince is a hero in my books. What a superbly underrated food. I've been thinking about trying something with Korean quince tea for a while now too - it's one of those ingredients that kind of calls to my from the shelf. Buy meeee.... make Isabelle's incredible looking black sesame coffee caaaaaaake.
I can almost see the extreme moist levels of this cake!! This looks right up my alley- yum yum!
Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes says
I love a classic recipe like this but love the twist you put on it most of all!
colleen kennedy says
I love that about you Isabelle!! This looks scrumptious! And vintage cookbooks are the best...I could read them for days on end.
Tiffany Mayer says
The flavour combos in this sound spectacular. A great update to a classic. And the great things about classics is that they're totally open to interpretation and updates. Well done with this one.
I'm with you — you gotta take those timeless classics and make them your own! Plus, not much is as exciting as colored tights…
This cake looks and sounds delish. I lovelovelove sesame, so this is right up my alley!