Photo credit Sonya Sanford
Prep Cook Yield Ready In
30 minutes 40-45 minutes 12-14 servings 1 hour 15 minutes

Tahini Coffee Cake Recipe

Classic coffee cake gets a sweet tahini upgrade.

Tahini coffee cake has all the things you know and love about classic coffee cake, but with the added bonus of rich, nutty, sesame flavor that comes from tahini. This cake is tender, with a spiced brown sugar swirl running throughout and a crumbly sweet tahini streusel on top. The sweetness of the cake is balanced by the toasted sesame flavor from the tahini, and both are a perfect match for any good cup of coffee. This recipe makes a large cake that can easily feed a crowd at your next Shabbat spread or Sunday brunch, and it can even be made several days in advance of serving. 

Photo credit Sonya Sanford


For the cake:

  • 10 Tbsp (141 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1¾ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup milk

For the brown sugar filling:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (62 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cardamom

For the tahini streusel topping:

  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup tahini paste
  • 4 Tbsp (56 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and generously grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. To make the cake batter: To a large bowl, or to the bowl of a stand mixer, add the room temperature butter, sugar, and tahini. Beat together the butter mixture using a handheld mixer, or the paddle attachment on the stand mixer, until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. To the bowl, add 2 eggs, and beat until incorporated. Add 2 more eggs and beat until they are incorporated. Add the sour cream, sesame oil, and vanilla extract, and mix until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add half of the flour mixture to the batter, with half of the milk. Stir until just combined. Add the remaining flour mixture to the batter, and the rest of the milk. Stir until just combined, be careful not to overmix (your batter may be slightly lumpy).
  4. To make the brown sugar filling: In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, cardamom.
  5. To make the tahini streusel: In a bowl, using a fork, combine the flour, brown sugar, tahini, melted butter, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt until the mixture comes together and forms pea-sized crumbles.
  6. To assemble and bake: Add half of the batter to the greased baking dish. Smooth it into an even layer. Top the batter evenly with the brown sugar filling mixture. Dollop the remaining batter on top, then carefully smooth it over in an even layer with an offset spatula or knife. Top the cake with the streusel mixture.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool, then serve. Tahini coffee cake can be stored covered at room temperature for 4-5 days, or it can be frozen and defrosted as needed for up to 3 months.

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