Mocha Benne Loaf


An ancestor of modern sesame seeds, benne seeds were once a large part of the Southern diet. Lightly toasted white sesame seeds can be substituted.

Mocha Benne Loaf
Serves: 1 (8×4-inch) loaf
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup benne seeds
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup cold brew concentrate
  • ¼ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8×4-inch cast-iron loaf pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  2. For topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, benne seeds, espresso powder, and salt. Stir in melted butter until mixture is crumbly. Press mixture with your fingertips to form clumps as desired.
  3. For cake: In a large bowl, whisk together granulated sugar, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk in flour, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt until combined. Whisk in sour cream and cold brew concentrate until combined. Transfer half of batter (about 1½ cups) to a small bowl.
  4. Whisk cocoa powder and melted chocolate into remaining batter in large bowl. Spread chocolate batter into prepared pan. Spread plain batter onto chocolate batter. Sprinkle topping onto plain batter.
  5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar just before serving, if desired.