Molly's Chocolate Tahini Cake w/ Tahini Frosting / by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

in an effort to make new traditions, i thought making holiday cookies was only fitting.  obviously amesy is too young to partake, but the idea of him being in the kitchen with me while i bake seems like the beginning of a tradition we'll hopefully continue as he grows older.  but as i was thinking through what cookies to make, it dawned to me that i didn't know frank's favorite christmas cookie/s!  after having a quick cookie convo i was informed that his go-to's are a pecan cookie (very much like a mexican wedding cookie) his mom would always make, and jammy thumbprints that i make each year with my mom.  so the plan is to have a cookie-making day this week (if the babe permits!) where i'm going to bake up these and these cookies for frank, these almond-based cookies for a naturally gluten-and-dairy-free cookie for my mom and i, and something chocolatey for my dad.  we also like to enjoy a light little cake while we open presents and sip on hot coffee, so this cranberry-lemon cake from last year is on the agenda for a christmas morning treat.  

and speaking of starting new traditions, i think molly's tahini cake will have to join the ranks!  it's a no brainer that if you know molly and her blog, then you know that she knows cake!  in her new book, molly on the range she highlights quite a few of them, one of them being this tahini chocolate cake with tahini frosting.  i love tahini, in any and all applications, but adding it to sweets is something i reserved for another, more brave, day.  so when i saw the recipe in her book, i knew i needed to try it.  the tahini mixed into the chocolate cake adds just the right amount of nutty flavor that you can taste in each bite! and while i would normally think the tahini added to the frosting would be overpowering, it's actually quite balanced and lovely.  and to make the cake a little more festive, i substituted the ground cinnamon in the frosting with gingerbread spice, as well as added some sugared cranberries and winter trees for a decorative topping.   

i'm pretty sure you all know, but molly's book is genius!  not only are there awesome recipes, but her writing is so beautiful and whimsical. when i had first received it, i sat there with amesy (all of a few days old) and read through parts of it with him.  i'm not sure if he was staring at the beautiful photography, or the colorful illustrations, but he was entranced just like the rest of us, i'm sure.  so if you're looking for a gift this holiday season, there's no better book than this one!

wishing you all the brightest of days, and the happiest of holidays! xo

Molly's Chocolate Tahini Cake w/ Tahini Frosting

recipe from Molly On The Range by Molly Yeh.  reprinted with permission.

i made some substitutions to make this cake gluten and dairy-free, which came out really delicious.  you can follow the notes below :) i also substituted 1/2 teaspoon gingerbread spice for the cinnamon for a more festive, holiday flavor. 

| makes one 8-inch layer cake, one 13-inch by 9-inch sheet cake, or 24 mini cakes |


  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flavorless oil 
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 3/4 cup boiling water


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract



  • to make the cake gluten-free, i substituted the flour 1:1 with an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix, i used arrowhead mills heritage gluten-free flour mix (which i found at my local whole foods).  i also replaced the sugar 1:1 with coconut sugar. to lessen the amount of refined sugar.  to make the cake dairy free, i substituted the whole milk 1:1 with califia's unsweetened almond creamer.  and i opted for melted coconut oil instead of flavorless oil for a more wholesome substitute.
  • to make the frosting dairy-free, you can replace the butter 1:1 with non-hydrogenated palm oil.


  1. to make the cake: preheat oven to 350ยฐF.  grease and line the bottom of two 8-inch cake pans or one 13x9-inch baking dish.
  2. in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, oil, and tahini.  add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.  whisk in the boiling water.
  3. pour the batter into the cake pans or baking dish until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  begin checking for doneness at 28 minutes for round cakes and 32 minutes for a sheet cake.
  4. let cool in the pans or dish for 10 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool completely.
  5. to make the frosting: in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and tahini until creamy.  gradually ass the powdered sugar and mix to combine.  mix in the salt, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  6. for a layer cake, level the round cakes and stack them with a layer of frosting between them.  frost the top and sides of cake.
  7. for a sheet cake, spread the frosting on top and cut into squares, or chill in the refrigerator until the frosting is firm and use a biscuit cutter to cut into mini cakes.

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