🐯 Tiger Bars: Black Sesame Swirl Pumpkin Cake 🎃.

UPDATE! OMGosh you guys and gals! This recipe has been nominated by @thefeedfeed and @simplyorganicfoods as a finalist for their 2015 Fall Contest! It would mean SO much to me if you could vote for me!!!!! Please go to https://feedfeed.info/contest/simply-organic-voting and vote for the Black Sesame Swirl Pumpkin Cake. 🙂 Muchas gracias and enjoy the recipe! ❤ xoxo

A healthy Halloween dessert that tastes and looks awesome? Is this a Trick or a Treat? 👻

Presenting this delicious Pumpkin Cake, swirled with black sesame butter.

Black Sesame Pumpkin Halloween Bars

If you never tried black sesame butter before, you should! It’s like tahini (which is made from raw white sesame seeds) but made from hulled black sesame seeds. It’s common in Chinese desserts, and you can find black tahini at any Asian grocery store. While it isn’t an expensive item, I think black sesame butter just feels and tastes so luxurious.

Around Halloween time, pumpkin and dark chocolate is a popular dessert combo to get that “black and orange” look, but it’s more like “dark brown” and orange. I think the black sesame + pumpkin fits the Halloween look better, and the flavors of black sesame + pumpkin goes so well together! When the two are swirled together, it gives the cake a cool look, like it’s in a tiger costume. 🐯

Black Sesame Pumpkin Halloween Bars Princeton Reunions

This Pumpkin Swirl Cake is an impressive Halloween dessert, but it’s also super easy to make. And as you can tell from the pics, the texture is on point. In fact, I was really tempted to call these “Pumpkin-ies” because they remind my of a pumpkin cake cross a chewy brownie, but then no one would understand me. 😉

But I seriously LOVE the texture of this cake and was so pleasantly surprised when it turned out this good, given that I didn’t add any oil / butter to the batter. It has a nice and light crumb, but when you bite into it, it’s melt-in-your-mouth pumpkiny fudge goodness. 🙂 It’s difficult to describe… You’ll just have to try them yourself! 🎃

Black Sesame Pumpkin Halloween Bars Princeton Reunions

The pumpkin gives this cake its awesome light yet fudge texture, allowing me to reduce the fat to basically nothing and adding a boost of Vitamin A.

Halloween Bars

Speaking of vitamins, you might notice that this cake is bright orange! It comes from the pumpkin, yes, but also from turmeric! No food dye necessary. 😉 If you don’t know, turmeric is a powerful spice with lots of anti-inflammatory properties. I for one have been using turmeric for years, and I’ve grown to love its taste. However, many people who are new to this spice might find it too strong, so you can definitely scale back on the turmeric or skip it altogether.

The cake will still be tasty and healthy because it is 100% whole grain, sugar-free, and pretty much fat-free. So, to add that decadence, I swirled in black sesame butter on top. I seriously LOVE biting into this cake because the black sesame butter gives it a nice “crust.” YUUMMMM!!!

Black Sesame Pumpkin Halloween Bars Princeton Reunions

I get so spirited when looking at this cake, and I don’t know if it’s the upcoming holiday season, or if it’s the Princeton pride beaming out of me.

Just look at it! Isn’t it perfect for Halloween and/or Reunions? 🐯

Halloween Bars

Before I leave you with the recipe, I wanted to give you a sneak peek of the Red Lava Pumpkin Bars (in the background). I’ll share how I got that awesome red color without any food dye soon, so stay tuned!

Black Sesame Pumpkin Halloween Bars Princeton Reunions

 Tiger Cake: Black Sesame Swirl Pumpkin Cake
1 8×8 square pan, 9 or 16 squares (I cut it into 16 smallish pieces)

60g (1.33 cups) oat flour
120g (3/4 cup) whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
.5 tsp turmeric (optional: if you want that extra orangey color)
+any spices you like, see notes*

1 cage-free egg
3/4 cup pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
30-50 drops of pure liquid stevia to taste (or granulated stevia or 14 1cup of maple syrup / sugar)

2 tbsp black sesame butter for swirling**


  • Honestly, I didn’t add any cinnamon or pumpkin spice to this because I love the flavors of black sesame and pumpkin on its own. Also, I really wanted to keep that bright orange color and spices like cinnamon would make it dark. That being said, feel free to add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon or any fall spices you’d like! 🙂

  • Also, if you don’t have black sesame butter on hand, you can still make the black sesame swirl! Normally, I’d use black sesame butter, but in this case, I didn’t have any on hand. So I just took some black sesame seeds and grind it in a blender, then mixed 30 g black sesame seed flour with 10 g coconut milk + 2 tbsp almond milk until a paste was formed!

First prep your baking pan. I first greased my pan well with coconut oil and then lined it with parchment paper to ensure that it wouldn’t stick.

Then, preheat your oven to 350*F.

Mix dry ingredients with a whisk. In another bowl, add the egg and whisk until uniform. Add in the pumpkin puree, almond milk, vanilla, stevia/sweetener. Mix until combined. Then add the wet to the dry ingredients and gently fold. Be careful not to overmix! Pour into the prepared pan.

Then plop on your black sesame butter and swirl it with a chopstick.
pumpkin cake pumpkin cake

Bake at 350*F for 30 minutes! And you get this glorious cake.

Black Sesame Pumpkin Halloween Bars

And check out the stats! This is with the black sesame butter swirl.
1/16 with black sesame: 76kcal; 3f; 10c; 3p

You can also try the cake alone without the swirl:
1/16 without black sesame: 51 kcal; 1f; 9c; 2p (2g fiber, 0g sugar)

I love this cake so much, so I hope you do too. Give these a try for Halloween 2015, bring them to a Halloween Party, and let me know how it goes! Share your creations with me on Instagram @vivanttang. You can trick everyone into loving this actually-healthy treat. 😉



2 thoughts on “🐯 Tiger Bars: Black Sesame Swirl Pumpkin Cake 🎃.”

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