RECIPE: Marbled Sesame Cupcakes

  • 3 min read
RECIPE: Marbled Sesame Cupcakes


If you are looking for a unique baking project, these marbled sesame cupcakes are just for you. With sophisticated black and white marbling from the cake batter to buttercream frosting, a classic bake sale treat has never looked more modern. Moreover, the blackneri goma and white tahini inside are great substitutes for those with nut allergies without compromising on that roasted nutty flavor. 

Neri goma, Japanese sesame paste, is ground from lightly roasted unhulled seeds, giving it a less bitter but nuttier flavor than its Middle Eastern counterpart, tahini. When made with black sesame seeds, neri goma becomes earthier, lending a new complexity to even the most simple of desserts. 

Tip: When frosting the cupcakes, make sure to save any leftover neri goma honey for a delightful spread on your morning toast the next day! 

Neri goma is sold as a single item in our Michi no Eki Market or within the Baking: “Amai” Care Package, from which this recipe is featured!


Servings: 12 standard cupcakes

Ingredients for the cupcake batter (to be made twice)

  • Use only one per batter:
  • 60g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 80g all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 80ml milk

Ingredients for the frosting

  • 400g powdered sugar
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp black sesame
  • 2 tbsp honey



  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Fill a cupcake pan with liners. 
  2. Cream the white sesame paste, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides, then add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined. 
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into the liquid batter and fold in gently. Afterwards, mix in the milk. Set aside.
  4. Repeat the batter process with the neri goma (black sesame paste).
  5. To fill and marble the cupcakes, alternate filling the liners with the cake batters in about by the tablespoon (roughly 4, or about two-thirds full). Swirl the batters together with a skewer or chopstick. 
  6. Gently tap the bottom of the cupcake pan on the kitchen counter in order to remove air bubbles and even out the batter.
  7. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cupcakes should rise slightly with golden tops. 
  8. Let cool completely before frosting. 

To frost the cupcakes

  1. Beat the powdered sugar and butter in a large bowl until whipped and pale, approximately 5-8 minutes. 
  2. Separately, combine the black sesame and honey. 
  3. Fill a piping bag with your desired piping tip (pictured frosting is piped with a Wilton 1M tip). Streak the inside of the bag two or three times with the sesame honey mixture before adding the frosting into the bag. 
  4. Pipe the cupcakes evenly with the streaked frosting. If desired, you might use the edge of a dessert spoon to try “painting” the edges of the frosting with any remaining black paste for additional sesame flavor and contrast. 
  5. Keep stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

Recipe available in our Baking: "Amai" Care Package


Yaz Gentry

About the recipe creator and photographer: Yaz Gentry is a freelance recipe developer and food-lover based in Tokyo, Japan. Half-Japanese and half-American, she enjoys fusing together seasonal ingredients and dishes from both cultures as a reflection of her mixed heritage. You can follow her culinary adventures at and @meshibliss on Instagram.

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