BANANA & SESAME LOAF with Tahini Buttercream

August 11th, 2022


I have recently been on a bit of a tahini bender. Although possibly not a kitchen staple in every home, tahini is an ingredient I always have on hand. It can be used in baking, in dips such as hummus and babaganoush, as a sauce to drizzle over baked meatballs, used as a sandwich/toast spread in place of butter, and the list goes on.

It is important to note, that not all tahini is the same and it will go rancid (becoming extra bitter) over time when kept at room temperature. With that in mind, I always purchase tahini from a bulk bin refillery and store it in the fridge where it will last for many months. If buying pre-packaged tahini, look for tubs in the chilled section of the supermarket, usually positioned near fresh falafel mixes.

Peanut butter can sometimes be used to replace tahini, but that isn’t always the case. For example, the following recipe would change the flavour and texture too much. You could skip the buttercream icing for the banana loaf if you haven’t got tahini on hand. Although you will now have a good selection of recipes (plus loads more online), that may just warrant adding tahini to the shopping list.

There are two types of tahini, hulled and unhulled. Personally, I prefer the lighter and less bitter hulled tahini for use in cooking. Which is also the more easily available of the two options, but in case you have a choice ‘hulled’ tahini is my preference for the recipes I have shared.

More Tahini recipes on Homegrown Kitchen:

Banana & Sesame Loaf with Tahini Buttercream

This banana loaf combination is inspired by a favourite childhood snack: banana slices dipped into tahini. The icing is quite literally the “icing on the cake” here, adding something a little different with the decadence that is buttercream. To account for the sweet icing I have kept the sugar in the loaf quite minimal. If you are not using icing, and like your banana loaf on the sweeter side, then increase the sugar quantity to ½ (100g) cup.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes


  • 3 nicely ripe bananas, about 500g
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • cup 70g sugar
  • ½ cup (125ml) light olive oil, or 125g melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • cups 220g flour (can use a mix of plain white, wholemeal, spelt or gluten-free flours)*
  • 4 tbsp toasted sesame seeds plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • Pinch of salt

Tahini Buttercream

  • 75 g butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp tahini - I prefer lighter hulled tahini
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup (120g) icing sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C). Grease and line a loaf tin (or use a 20cm round cake tin).
  • In a mixing bowl, mash the bananas until smooth. Add the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla and beat together until combined.
  • Measure the remaining dry ingredients into another bowl and use a whisk to combine and remove any lumps. Add this to the banana batter and use a spatula to fold together until just combined. Don’t over mix, give this batter a similar treatment as you would muffin batter.
  • Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 50 - 55 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Check after 40 minutes and if the top of the loaf is nicely coloured cover with foil for the remaining cooking time.
  • Once baked, cool in the tin for 10 minutes then transfer to a rack. If planning to ice the cake, set it aside to cool completely.
  • To make the tahini buttercream, place the butter and tahini into a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or use an electric handheld beater). Beat together on a medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt, and continue mixing for another minute.
  • Sift the icing sugar into a bowl to remove any lumps (important step). Then with the mixer on medium speed add one heaped tablespoon of the icing sugar at a time until smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  • Use a sharp knife to trim the top of the cake to make it slightly less domed (the offcuts are the cook's treat). Spoon the buttercream onto the cooled loaf, using a butter knife or offset spatula to spread evenly out to the sides. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.
  • Leftover cake will last for 2-3 days in a sealed container, best kept at room temperature.


*A note on flours - as I outline in the ingredient list different flours can be used here, noting that it is always best to use the weight rather than volumes when subbing flours, particularly gluten-free flours as they can vary in volume weight compared with standard wheat flour. To make this loaf gluten-free I used 80g sorghum, 80g buckwheat flour and 60g tapioca flour (starch).

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  1. Sara Leach says:

    Thank you for this delicious recipe Nicola (Banana and Sesame Loaf). After 4 days of rain and flooding out here at the Glen I decided to make this cake before we possibly lost power again. After such a disruptive time it has been so nice to focus on baking and make the frosting too, then eat a few slices. It has perked me up no end. I weighed the flour like you suggested and used a mixture of buckwheat, rice and tapioca. Beautiful cake. Thank you : ) I hope your property has survived the rains. Best wishes, Sara.

    1. Hi Sara, oh goodness yes it has been a wild time. I have heard that The Glen has been hit hard and cut off. I am so glad you could find some respite in baking, and good choice too. This is such a delicious loaf, with the icing bringing some much-needed decadence.
      We have been fortunate where we are, although the brook rose to the highest we have ever seen it, it didn’t reach the garden and our house is elevated. Very happy to see the sun out today, long may it last!
      All the best

  2. This is SO good. I’m loving all the new ways to use tahini. I found it a bit sweet even without the icing so would swap sugar for rice malt syrup next time—but I am a outlier and I did use VERY ripe bananas I found in the depths of the freezer when I cleared it out!

    1. Great to hear. Definitely adjust the sweetness to suit your own taste. I like to use rice malt syrup when I am after a mellow sweetness and it would work very well in this recipe. Happy baking 🙂

  3. Hi Nicola, I’d like to make this – it sounds yummy! What brand of Tahini do you use? I have an organic one that is hulled but it tastes quite bitter.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Lavinia, thanks for checking. I tend to buy tahini from a bulk food store (organic store or Bin Inn) as I find it is fresher tasting than pre-packaged jars. I also keep it in the fridge as it will become bitter as it ages. Make sure to mix it well before use as the oil will rise to the surface.
      Hope that helps. Nicola

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