Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Dairy Free: Tahini Pomegranate Cake


Tahini is one of those things that ends up hanging about in the fridge for ages, long after the resolution to make our own hummus has passed. Which is a shame because it's beautiful: silky smooth and richly-sesame flavoured, so of course, we've found a way to get it into a cake. 

I have a friend who grew up in Cyprus, and tahini always reminds me of long, late-summer days and lunches by the sea there. It's used in this recipe in place of butter, which makes this cake rich and nutty, yet dairy free: it's naturally gluten free too. 

Tahini Pomegranate Cake
Preparation time: 30 mins
Baking time: 45-50 mins
You will need:
For the cake:
  • 200g tahini 
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 150g polenta 
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder (check to make sure it's gluten free)
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Zest of 1 orange (save a little to decorate)
For the syrup:
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 100ml pomegranate juice
  • 1 tbsp muscovado sugar
Make it!
The cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 165C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line a 20cm baking tin. (Just grease it if you're using a silicone one). 
  2. Beat together the tahini and the sugar. 
  3. Measure the polenta, almonds and baking powder into a separate bowl. 
  4. Beat the eggs in a jug, together with the pomegranate juice and honey. 
  5. Add a third of the polenta mixture to the sugar mixture, along with a third of the eggs and stir gently to combine. Repeat twice more with the remaining ingredients. 
  6. Stir in the orange zest. 
  7. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden-brown and a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean. If the edges are browning too fast, cover them with tin foil.
  8. Place on a wire-rack and leave to cool in the tin.
The syrup:
  1. Meanwhile, make a mess of yourself by deseeding the pomegranate. 
  2. Tip the pomegranate seeds into a small saucepan with the juice and muscovado sugar. Stir together and gently simmer for around 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced.
  3. Set aside to cool. 
  4. When the cake is still slightly warm, poke some holes in it with a skewer, and spoon over the pomegranate syrup. Decorate with the remaining orange zest. 

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