Black Sesame Plum Crumb Cake

Oh snap!!! Birthday week is quickly approaching! Reuben is turning the big 30 this Saturday! And I am going to be 26 on Tuesday. I'm currently planning on only eating macaroni and cheese on my birthday. Breakfast Mac, Lunch Mac, Dinner Mac, Dessert Mac (Noodle Kugel?). Reuben's mom makes an amazing noodle kugel btw. We will see if I become a ball of cheese on Tuesday. Mac n' Cheese all day seems like an appropriate thing to do for your 26th birthday, right? I'll also be making a cake this weekend, obviously. For Reuben's birthday, I've been envisioning a classic white cake with black sesame buttercream. I want it to look like a little concrete column. Real architecty. Wish me luck. 

I get a little jealous that Reuben steals most of the birthday thunder, but I actually really love that our birthdays are so close together. Two birthdays is a great reason to go on a mini vacation or spend too much money on fancy restaurants 😊  This year, our celebrations are going to be a little bit more chill. I think we are both exhausted from general life to do anything too crazy. Like, we almost forgot that our birthdays were next week. This weekend we will ride our bikes to the zoo, visit a few breweries and wineries, eat lots of food, bake a cake, and buy lots of macaroni noodles. 

We were organized enough to plan a birthday picnic the following weekend! By planning, I mean 2 months ago I remembered to book the picnic area and this past weekend I remembered to tell everyone it was happening. We had one last year and it was so fun my cheeks hurt from smiling all day. We invite everyone we know in the bay area, lay out some blankets, make a butt load of food, and pray for the fog to stay away from Inner RIchmond. My best friend Katie P flew out last year for the picnic from Seattle AND she is coming out again! I can't wait!

Posting a cake recipe seems like the right thing to do, with birthday week in horizon. Here is the final plum recipe of the season to hold you guys over until I post Reuben's Birthday Cake (if it's cute - fingers crossed!). This Black Sesame Plum Crumb cake may be one of the best things I've ever baked. It magically tasted like a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread... very specific. This means you can eat this cake for lunch obviously! The cake was moist with a tight crumb. The nuttiness from the black sesame was well balanced with the sweetness and tartness of the plum jam. If you don't have access to an overflowing plum tree or don't have time to make your own jam, using your favorite store bough jam will work too! It's been a few weeks since I made this and I find myself craving a square of it. But the idea of cracking open my bag of frozen plums makes me a little anxious. I'll hold off on the plums for a few more months... until I'm 26.5! For those of you who haven't ate 1 million plums, I highly recommend you make this magical cake! 

Black Sesame Plum Crumb Cake

makes one 8" square cake

Plum Jam Materials:

3 C plums - pits removed and chopped

1 C white sugar

1 orange 

pinch of salt


Crumble Materials:

1 C all purpose flour

1/3 C brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

6 Tbsp melted unsalted butter


Cake Materials:

12 Tbsp unsalted butter - room temperature

2 C all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 C white sugar

3 Tbsp sesame seeds

2 eggs

2 Tbsp tahini

2/3 C milk

1 cup Plum Jam


1. Combine plums, sugar, zest and juice of one orange, and pinch of salt in a pot. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Continue to boil for 10-15 minutes, it should start to thicken. While it boils, use a wooden spoon to mash and break up the plums as they soften. Transfer the jam into a glass container or jar and allow to cool in the fridge.

2. Make your crumble by mixing together flour, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter with a fork. Mix until you have a pebble like texture. Set aside.

3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grind the black sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder until you get a fine texture. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and ground black sesame seeds in a medium bowl. 

4. In the large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer, beat butter with sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in 1 egg at a time and then tahini.  

5. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 additions of milk. Beat until combined and scrape down the sides when needed.

6. Spray a 8"x8" baking pan with non-stick spray. Line with parchment paper. Pour batter into baking pan. Smooth batter with an offset spatula until it looks leveled. Spread the plum jam evenly over the top. Top the whole pan with the crumble.

7. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center, it should come out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 mins, then remove from the plan and allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.

adapted from this martha recipe!