Halaweh Cake with Caramel Sauce

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes: approximately 9 squares

Halaweh is a dense, sweet, nutty confection popular throughout what was once the Ottoman Empire. It is generally sweetened with sugar or honey. Its texture can vary – semolina-based halaweh is gelatinous and translucent, while sesame-based halaweh is drier and more crumbly. In the Middle East, it is made with sesame and honey and has many variations, flavored with pistachio or chocolate, for example. 

For the cake
115g caster sugar
115g
unsalted butter
1 tsp rosewater
2 eggs
115g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
160g plain halaweh
60g walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
For the caramel sauce
80g caster sugar
30g butter
50ml heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
 
Grease and line a 20×20cm cake tin.
 
Cream the butter, sugar and rosewater until pale and creamy, using an electric mixer. Add
one egg and beat until just combined; repeat with the remaining egg scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Gradually beat in the flour and baking powder, until well combined, then fold in the halaweh, and the walnuts, if desired.
 
Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
 
For the caramel sauce, place the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it dissolves into a smooth, dark caramel. Add the butter and continue stirring until the butter dissolves. Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream, stirring constantly, until the cream is evenly incorporated.
 
Slice the cake and serve topped with warm caramel sauce.