It is a traditional Lebanese cake with anise, a hint of turmeric and orange blossom water. Some tahini (yes!) and sesame seeds give this wonderful dessert the magic it deserves. It has a deep yellow color, which makes it sunny and whimsical at the same time.
My youngest son calls it "smouf". We found it so cute, that we renamed the dessert. And smouf it is!! Hahahaha
My mom used to make this cake during the war, when shortage of ingredients was very common and the lack of electricity made perishable ingredients hard to keep. This is why the list of ingredients calls for powdered milk instead of the regular liquid version, vegetable oil and not butter... But since the recipe works perfectly fine like that, I didn't want to change it.
I believe there are a lot of versions of this cake because lebanese people are very picky about their food, and their family recipes. I'm sharing this one, because it's the one I like the most and it is very emotionally charged. When you go with your heart, you can't go wrong!
Credits: Rafaella Sargi
4 cups All Purpose Flour, sifted
1 cup Powdered Milk, sifted (I use Nido)
2 cups Granulated Sugar, sifted
2 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 teaspoon Ground Anise
1 ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 teaspoon Orange Blossom Water
1 ½ cup Water
1 cup Vegetable oil
2 tablespoon Tahini
Sesame Seeds (you can substitute the sesame seeds with almonds or pine nuts. It's up to you)
Scale and prep all the ingredients.
You will need a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a big bowl with a wooden spoon and some muscles! Hahahaha
A large cake pan 13 inch (33cm)
Heat the oven to 375F (190C)
Pour the tahini in the cake pan, and spread evenly, including the edges. This will prevent the cake from sticking to the bottom of the pan and give it a subtile flavor. Set aside.
In the bowl of the electric mixer, add the flour, powdered milk, sugar, baking powder, ground anise, turmeric, orange blossom water, water and vegetable oil. With speed on low, mix until well combined. Do not over mix the batter. The more you mix the cake batter the harder it gets, so be careful if you want to end up with a fluffy and soft cake.
Pour the batter in the cake pan. Tap the pan a few times on your working surface. It will help the batter be more evenly spread out and eliminate some of the big air bubbles hiding!
Sprinkle evenly with the sesame seeds.
Put in the oven for 35 minutes.
Let it cool before cutting into individual diamond shaped portions.