On my last night in Switzerland, I boarded a train from Lausanne to see Leonard Cohen live at the Montreux Jazz Festival. It was a total splurge, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the Montreal legend on stage (he is 78 after all). His 3 hour set (!) was an incredible way to top off my time abroad. It was unlike any concert I’d been to. A few hours later, before dawn had a chance to creep up, I was boarding another train, this time headed to the airport. Since I’ve been home and back in the kitchen, his music’s been on my baking playlist.
These textured cupcakes sprinkled with sesame seeds remind me of muffins since they are not too sweet, yet they are not heavy and dense like muffins. The honey cream cheese frosting compliments them well. As a finishing touch, I decorated these cupcakes with crunchy sesame snaps. Julie Hasson, the author of the recipe, suggests serving these after an Asian or Mediterranean meal. She also writes that you can add 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped white chocolate to the batter for some variety. Although many of my taste-testers really enjoyed these cupcakes, I was a bit thrown off by the texture.
Recipe adapted from Julie Hasson’s 125 Best Cupcake Recipes
Yields 12 portions
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 egg whites
2/3 cup buttermilk
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/3 cup liquid honey
1) Preheat the oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
2) Toasting the sesame seeds: Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and cook them for 3 minutes, or until the seeds start to darken, stirring continuously. Transfer seeds to a plate and let cool.
3) Combine the flour, sesame seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
4) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter together until well blended.
5) Add the egg whites one at a time. Mix well after each addition.
6) Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the bowl of the stand mixer, three additions of flour and two of buttermilk. Mix until the batter is smooth.
7) Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Then, remove the cupcakes from the pan and let them cool completely on the rack.
1) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter and salt on high speed until fluffy.
2) Bring the mixer down to a low speed and add the confectioner’s sugar.
3) Pour the honey.
4) Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy.
5) Refrigerate the frosting for 2 to 3 hours, or until it is firm enough to spread. I used a piping bag with a large round tip to frost the cupcakes.