Sesame Halvah Tea Cake

Active Time: 20 MINTotal Time2 HR 45 MIN
Yield: Serves : Makes 1 (9-x 5-inch) loaf

When self-taught pastry chef Tzurit Or moved from Tel Aviv to Boston, she found herself missing the foods that she grew up with. So, after a summer selling baked goods at local farmers markets, she opened Tatte Bakery & Café and filled it with the tastes of home—nutty halva; spicy shakshuka; creamy cheesecake. This gluten-free halva sesame tea cake bridges the flavors of her two hometowns.


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour with xanthan gum (such as King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour) (about 4 1/4 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 cups fine almond flour (about 4 1/4 ounces)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3 ounces), softened
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup crumbled or chopped vanilla sesame halvah (about 4 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

How to Make It

Step 1    

Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly coat a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of overhang on all sides. Whisk together gluten-free flour and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside. Beat almond flour, sugar, and butter in bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer on medium speed until well combined and crumbly, about 4 minutes. Gradually add eggs, beating just until combined. Stir in vanilla extract and salt. Add flour mixture, beating on low speed just until incorporated.

Step 2    

Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle halvah and sesame seeds evenly over batter. Bake in preheated oven until deep golden brown and top springs back gently when pressed, 55 minutes to 1 hour. (A wooden pick inserted in cake will not come out clean.) Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cool slightly, about 30 minutes. Using parchment paper as handles, lift loaf from pan, and cool completely on wire rack, about 1 hour. Slice and serve.

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