Tahini Carrot Cake

One of my many New Year’s Resolutions was to get into the habit of Shabbat. Not necessarily cutting out electronics (though I could go to separate from my phone every once in a while), but mainly as a way to sit down and connect with friends and family. Of the many resolutions I’ve never followed through with, this luckily wasn’t one of them. We were going over a family friend’s apartment for dinner, as she is said to make the most incredible tahchin (a Persian rice cake stuffed with chicken). I decided to bring a dessert, and this cake was born.

A fragrant batter perfumed with cinnamon and cardamom is laced with tahini and tons of grated carrot for a carrot cake with some Middle Eastern flare. The kicker is thin slices of rainbow carrots on top for a gorgeous appearance, sans frosting (though I fully support topping this cake with cream cheese frosting flavored with some orange blossom water.

Having good quality tahini is so important since its flavor is so pronounced in this cake. It’s honestly more of a tahini cake than a carrot cake, the veggies are just a bonus. Just make you give your tahini a good stir before measuring, since the solids often sink to the bottom of the jar. 

Tahini Carrot Cake

Yield: One 9-inch cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus cooling time

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes, plus cooling time


Unsalted butter, for greasing

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup tahini

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange zest

4 eggs

2 cups freshly grated carrots

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

3 small rainbow carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandolin


  1. Preheat the oven to 325° and line a greased 9-inch cake pan with parchment. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, tahini, vanilla, orange zest and eggs until smooth. 
  3. Fold the carrots and walnuts into the egg mixture, followed by the dry ingredients. Pour into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle sesame seed over the top of the cake, then layer slices of the rainbow carrots across. 
  4. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then remove from the pan and let cool completely before slicing and serving.