February 26, 2012

Black & White Sesame Cupcakes with Sweet Bean Filling

Last week, I saw a blog post about a cupcake with black sesame buttercream.  Immediately, I began to plot my next cupcake.  I love sesame.  I sometimes have weird cravings for it.  I started to envision a lightly sesame cupcake with sweet bean filling and sesame buttercream.  At this point, I realized I was scheming to create a cupcake version of my favorite dim sum treat: Jin Deui.

Concept for this cupcake, as a Venn Diagram.

Jin Deui is a tasty fried pastry coated in sesame seeds.  It can be filled with several delicious things, but my favorite is the sweet bean paste.

Tasty fried sesame ball

I wanted to make sure that the cupcake wasn't too sugary, since dim sum desserts are usually only lightly sweet.  So, after finding a recipe for sesame cupcakes, I cut the sugar down a bit.  I also decided to substitute some brown sugar for white sugar, since most of the recipes for the sesame balls called for brown sugar.

I had no idea if these cupcakes would be any good, especially since the concept is a bit...different.  So, it was with some apprehension that I took my first bite.  They were good!  The sesame buttercream delivered the unique black sesame flavor, and the sweet bean worked very nicely with the lightly sesame cupcake.  My husband quickly declared them his favorite cupcakes ever (he loves red bean), and asked if I could make another batch.

I do think there is room for improvement.  Although I cut down the sweetness in the cupcake itself, I think the buttercream could be improved by having less sugar.  I was also planning on sprinkling toasted sesame seeds on top, so that they looked more like the fried sesame balls, but completely forgot to do it (whoops!).  I know my husband will be pestering me to make these again, so I'm sure I'll be able to test these modifications soon.

Black & white fondant flower

Sesame Cupcakes with Sweet Bean Filling
Adapted from Curiously Ravenous's Honey Sesame Cupcakes recipe.

2 ½ cups (283 g) all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
13 cup butter
½ cup (107 g) brown sugar
¼ cup (50 g) sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp tahini
1 cup buttermilk
½ tsp vanilla extract
red sweet bean paste

Preheat oven to 375F. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar for about 3 minutes. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk and vanilla.
With the mixer running, add the egg to the butter-sugar mixture, until well blended. Continue beating in the tahini. Alternately blend in the flour and buttermilk, starting and ending with flour.
Spoon a heaping teaspoon of batter into cupcake pan, lined with paper liners. Take about a teaspoon of sweet bean paste, and place on top of the batter.  Fill the liners with more batter, covering the bean paste, until they are around three quarters full.  Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the top of the cakes are lightly golden.  Cool on a wir
e rack.

Black Sesame Buttercream
This buttercream was quite tasty and black sesame-y, but was possibly a bit too sweet.  I might try 1 cup or even ¾ cup sugar next time.  I bought the black sesame powder at an Asian specialty supermarket (Uwajimaya here in Seattle) - I doubt most grocery stores carry it.

4 egg whites
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
½ tsp vanilla
~2 tbsp black sesame powder

Cube the butter and leave out at room temperature (make sure you don't leave it over the dishwasher or oven or it will get too warm). 
Whisk the eggs whites and sugar together in the top part of a double broiler.  Make sure that the water in the bottom part is simmering, not boiling.  Keep whisking until a candy thermometer reads 160 degrees (Fahrenheit).  Transfer to a stand mixer with the whisk attachment installed.  Whip at a medium speed until the mixture is at room temperature (the bowl feels neutral when you touch it).
Lower the mixing speed and add the butter, one cube at a time.  Keep mixing until there is an obvious change in the consistency of the buttercream - from soupy to much more solid (you can usually hear the mixer start making different noises).  If it stays soupy for a very long time, throw the bowl in the refrigerator for ten minutes or so and retry.
Add vanilla, and add sesame powder ½ tbsp at a time to taste (I used about 2 tbsp total).

Building Black & White Sesame Cupcakes with Sweet Bean Filling

Wait until cupcakes are completely cool.  Frost and decorate however you like.  I used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe swirls of buttercream, and topped with some black and white fondant flowers.


  1. Holy crap Laura that sounds SO GOOD. I definitely want some next time I come visit!!!!!!!

  2. No seriously, I'm just scrolling up and down on the pics and drooling.

  3. I heard rave reviews about these last night while Kern was on skype with Kai and Kenneth. They sound amazing; I'm so sad we're too far away to try any of your creations. But I am enjoying reading your blog, and I think your pictures are fantastic. They always make me hungry and want to bake.

  4. I had one of these! They were DELICIOUS!!!! Totally beautiful, too. You've got quite the talent!

  5. love your food <3 black sesame is the best!

  6. Some of my favorite flavors rolled into one beautiful cupcake!

  7. Oh my goodness I love jin deui! I love how you used them for inspiration for this cupcake.


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