Carob Molasses Cake (Sfouf b' Debs)


With all due respect to baklava, we've found a new favorite Lebanese dessert. This rich, moist cake is sweetened with carob molasses and has a hit of anise. We may or may not have fought over it in the Test Kitchen.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Additional Time:
1 hr 40 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 50 mins
16 pieces


  • 1 tablespoon tahini

  • 1 ¼ cups water

  • 2 tablespoons aniseed

  • 2 cups white whole-wheat flour

  • 1 cup canola oil

  • 1 cup carob molasses (see Tip) or molasses

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with tahini. Set aside.

  2. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add aniseed and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain 1 cup of the aniseed water. (Discard the seeds and any remaining water.)

  3. Put flour in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and stir to combine. Add the aniseed water, molasses, baking powder and salt and mix until smooth. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  4. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour before cutting into 16 pieces.


To make ahead: Store airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Tip: Carob Molasses: Dark and viscous like regular molasses, carob molasses has coffee and cocoa undertones. Use it up: Mix with an equal amount of tahini for a PB&J-like dip; swap for regular molasses.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

243 Calories
15g Fat
27g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 16
Serving Size 1 piece
Calories 243
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 15g
Added Sugars 15g 30%
Protein 2g 5%
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Vitamin A 1IU 0%
Folate 2mcg 0%
Sodium 136mg 6%
Calcium 95mg 7%
Iron 3mg 18%
Magnesium 53mg 13%
Potassium 322mg 7%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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