Let Them Eat: Orange Blossom-Sesame Cake with Peaches


Sesame street. [Photograph: María del Mar Sacasa]

I make a lot of tea and breakfast-friendly bundt cakes. The batters are frequently loaded up with sour cream and butter, ingredients responsible for the thick, velvety texture and the way it plops comfortably into the round, ridged, hole-in-the-middle bundt pan. These basic batters lend themselves to any number of additions, from shards of bittersweet chocolate to globs of ruby-red strawberry preserves.

Unpretentious and homey, these buttery cakes with their dense, tight crumb could easily become plain Janes when standing next to their tiered, frosted sisters, but special additions to the batter and topping can make them stand out.

This recipe was inspired by a recent shopping trip to a specialty food store in Manhattan which sells an overwhelming amount of spices from all corners of the world. In addition to the supplies I needed for a shoot that I was styling, I came away with sesame brittle. The brittle is mildly nutty, and the sesame seeds burst delicately when bitten into, their hulls willingly giving way.

Normally, ground nuts are my go-to when it comes to adding toppings and layers to bundt cakes, but here I went with a full cup of toasted sesame seeds and freshly grated orange zest to complement the orange blossom water in the cake. As an accompaniment, gently simmered peach slices rest on the thick pieces cake. Not so frumpy, eh?

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Orange Blossom-Sesame Cake with Peaches »