Sunday, 20 July 2014

Orange semolina cake

This recipe is adapted from a traditional Greek Revani cake recipe; I have halved the amount of syrup to stop the cake being too sweet and sticky.  For me, there’s a tipping point with syrup – I love baklava for example, but not when you bite into it and syrup pours out.  I realise it is unlike me to call for restraint, but it had to happen one day!  I added some finely grated zest to the batter to make sure the orange flavour wasn’t lost.

Mr CC and I are in the process of moving.  That perhaps makes it sound more organised than it is – basically, we’ve sold our place and we’re looking for a place to move to (did anyone say ‘stress’?).  I’m trying to wind down my larder cupboards...currently so well stocked that the Russian army could drop in unannounced and all enjoy several courses.  That was a favourite phrase of my mother’s; I’m not sure why it was always the Russian army rather than any other country – perhaps she felt it conveyed scale?

Anyway, as Confucius never said: the task of clearing larder cupboards begins with the first bag of semolina.   Hence this week’s bake of semolina cake.  Unusually for me, it’s a dairy free bake.

The semolina gives the cake a different texture to classic sponge; perhaps a little more bite, but in a pleasing rather than gritty way.  As with all syrup cakes, this is best made a day in advance and left to absorb.


For the cake:
175g caster sugar
4 eggs
325g semolina
200g plain flour
225ml olive oil – I used the light one suitable for baking
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
250ml water
Grated zest of one orange

For the syrup:
250ml water
225g caster sugar
Large pieces of orange peel from 1 orange


Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Line a 23cm round springform pan with baking paper.

Beat together the sugar and eggs until thick and creamy.

Add the semolina, flour, olive oil, vanilla, baking powder, water and zest and beat until well combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out cleanly. 

Leave to cool completely in the tin.

Now make the syrup: place the water, sugar and peel in a pan and bring to the boil without stirring.

Leave to boil gently for 8-10 minutes until it reduces and turns syrupy.

Pour through a sieve into a jug or bowl.

Pour/brush over the cool cake and leave to absorb.  I like to leave the cake in the tin for this stage as any leakage is trapped and absorbed into the cake (if you’re using a loose bottomed or springform tin wrap the outside of the tin with foil so that, if there is any leakage, it’s not all over your work top).

Serve with thick cream.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Stuart Vettese said...

What a great combination - orange and semolina. Sometimes what is left over in the larder gives me inspiration too!

Librarian Lavender said...

This cake looks so delicious, I can't wait to try the recipe!

Gloria Baker said...

look amazing!! I love semolina on bakes!!!

Katie said...

Good luck with the move I know what you mean about stress, I've been house hunting for over a year!

The cake looks delicious and a great soft looking crumb.
I love your mothers saying about feeding the Russian Army - brilliant!

Izzy said...

I enjoy the texture of semolina cake, and this one looks so smooth and beautiful! I agree about the syrup situation, too much can be so sickly but its great in the right amount.

snowy said...

Best of luck with the move.This is just what I need to use up a bag of semolina - it looks great.

Maggie said...

Good luck with the house move. My Nan used to use that expression too - what a coincidence. Great use for that forgotten packet of semolina.

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

I love the inspiration that comes from having to use up ingredients. And this cake looks a great way to use up that semolina! Wonderful saying from your mum! Perfectly quirky!

Cakelaw said...

What a lovely looking cake - and orange cakes are aleays so bright and uplifting.

Sally Sellwood said...

Looks gorgeous - I have a real thing for semolina (even in school dinner form). One of my fellow cake clubbers made a revani cake a couple of months ago, using lemon - it was sweet and sticky but utterly delicious. I love th eidea of making it with orange too.

Anne Szadorska said...

Oooh I am loving the sound of this! I had a lemon version a while back in a pub and it was amazing, definitely bookmarking and putting oranges on the shopping list!

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Never baked with semolina, will give this a try. Love your site. Good luck on the move.