Black Sesame Halva Coffeecake
Black Sesame Halva Coffee Cake 

Black Sesame Halva Coffee Cake 

Recipe by Myo Quinn

Looking for an incredible variety of irresistible textures and flavors in your coffee cake? Then this confection's for you. The cake itself is fine-grained and tender, thanks to sour cream; its halva filling caramelizes and becomes gooey as it bakes, and the sesame seeds and pecans on top add a nutty crunchiness. Recipe developer Myo Quinn is a writer, editor, and Baker’s Box participant with With Warm Welcome, a nationwide organization that champions Asian Americans in hospitality.

30 mins
45 to 50 mins
1 hr 45 mins
8” square coffee cake
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Black Sesame Halva Coffeecake - select to zoom
Black Sesame Halva Coffeecake - select to zoom
Black Sesame Halva Coffeecake - select to zoom
Black Sesame Halva Coffeecake - select to zoom


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  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center position. Lightly grease an 8’’ x 8’’ pan. 

  2. To make the filling: In a small bowl, toss together the flour and black sesame seeds. Set aside. (You’ll use the halva later.) 

  3. To make the streusel: In a medium bowl, use your fingers or a spoon to thoroughly combine all the ingredients, mixing until crumbly. Set aside. 

  4. To make the cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer, use the flat beater to beat the butter, sugars, vanilla, baking powder, and salt at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating at medium-high speed for 1 minute and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  

  6. On low speed, stir in about 2/3 cup of the flour followed by roughly 1/2 cup of the sour cream. Add the remainder of the flour, then the rest of the sour cream, mixing just until combined; don’t overmix. 

  7. To assemble and bake the cake: Transfer about half the batter into the prepared pan, spreading to the corners.  

  8. Sprinkle the filling evenly across the batter and top with the halva. Resist the urge to poke the halva down into the batter. 

  9. Spread the remaining batter on top of the halva, and top with the streusel.  

  10. Bake the cake for 40 minutes, then tent it with foil to prevent the top from over-browning. Bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until golden brown on top and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. You may have melted halva or small crumbs stuck to the knife, but you shouldn’t see any wet batter. 

  11. Remove the cake from the oven and set it on a rack to cool for at least 1 hour before cutting and serving. 

  12. Storage information: Store the cake, securely covered, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.  

Tips from our Bakers

  • Halva can be found at specialty food stores, co-ops, or online retailers. Recipe author Myo Quinn recommends these brands: JoyvaSadaf, Seed + Mill, and Al Wadi. If you can't find vanilla, use any flavor of halva that you like to eat.