West African Benne Cakes

I don’t know about you, but I often need a sweet treat after an action-packed dance class with Djoniba.  This recipe for Benne Cakes comes from West Africa, where the benne seed (known here in the U.S. as the sesame seed), originated.  Though called a cake, this treat is more like a cookie.  Benne seeds contain a small amount of protein and are commonly thought to be good luck, so make a wish and sample a benne cake from your own kitchen!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Oil  to grease a cookie sheet
  • 1 cup finely packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup toasted sesame seeds

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 Degrees.
  2. Lightly oil a cookie sheet.
  3. Combine the brown sugar and butter, beating until they are creamy.
  4. Stir in the egg, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.
  5. Add flour, baking powder, salt and sesame seeds.
  6. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet two inches apart.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are browned.
  8. Eat and enjoy!


*Retrieved and adapted from  http://www.africaguide.com and http://recipes.wikia.com

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