Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Sesame chiffon cake with vanilla frosting and a trip to Niseko

We spent the week before the Chinese New Year snowboarding for 6 days in the powder paradise of Niseko in Hokkaido, Japan.  Niseko gets an average annual snowfall of around 15m and everywhere we looked it was meters tall of white, giving new meaning to the term "winter wonderland".  Its our second trip to Niseko and it's almost certain that we'll visit again during the winter of 2013.

Other than plenty of powder snow on the ski slopes, we loved being in Niseko due to the great variety of amazing good food, all within the small town of Niseko Hirafu.  We had so many good meals that I didn't lose any weight despite 6 consecutive days of physical exercise on the ski slopes.

One afternoon we explored the little adjacent village of Izumikyo and found a lovely cosy cafe called "Mozart".  Run by a Japanese lady, Akiko Shimono, it is the sweetest cafe I've been in and truly reminded me a little of Vienna.  She served us some really good coffee and a yummy apple crumble with Hokkaido milk ice cream.

Going with the Japanese theme, upon returning home I got round to trying a sesame chiffon cake recipe from a book by Keiko Ishida.  I'm usually not into frosting but this vanilla frosting surprised me with how nicely it paired with the sesame chiffon which is mildly sweet and taste strongly of sesame.  There are also whole sesame seeds embedded within the soft chiffon adding a surprise crunch when one munches into it.

Unfortunately I'm still not too good with frosting cakes and made a bit of a mess with the uneven layer of frosting over the top and sides.  I also think an 8 inch pan would have produced a taller, prettier cake but I only have a 9 inch pan at home.

Recipe below makes 1 cake, adapted from "Okashi" by Keiko Ishida
(I used a 9 inch round tube pan.  Using a 8 inch pan would produce a taller cake)

70g plain flour
5 egg yolks
20g brown sugar
20g black sesame paste
60g water
40g canola oil
20g sesame seeds (optional)
90g granulated sugar
10g cornstarch
180g egg whites (about 5 to 6 eggs)

For the vanilla frosting:

200g whipping cream
15g granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Sift flour.  Whisk egg yolks, brown sugar, black sesame paste, water and canola oil in bowl till well mixed.  Fold in flour into egg yolk mixture till its properly incorporated - flour may appear lumpy at first but keep folding till smooth.  Don't be afraid to stir the flour in if necessary.  Set aside.
Place egg whites in bowl of electric mixer and beat on high speed till foamy.  Add granulated sugar and cornstarch in 2 batches while continuing to beat till glossy meringue forms with stiff peaks.  Gently fold meringue into egg yolk & flour mixture one-third at a time.  Be careful not to overmix.
Pour batter into round tube pan and bake in 160C preheated oven for 45 minutes.  Leave cake to cool in pan inverted (this is important).  Remove cake from pan only when it has completely cooled.  Coat with vanilla frosting and decorate as desired. 

Vanilla frosting: Place whipping cream, granulated sugar and vanilla essence into mixer bowl and whisk on medium speed till stiff peaks form. 


  1. i just tumbled into your blog i love it. please show as step by step so that amateurs like me can try making it. basic recipes are ok but the more pro type ones.love it

  2. What a beautiful cake! It sounds really delicious too :-)



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