OK, so my big priority when making any kind of semolina cake is to ensure that the cake itself is not too dry, and for the syrup to not overpower the cake itself, otherwise it just tastes like sugar syrupy lemon with hard little bits of semolina and I am not too into serving that to my guests or eating it myself! So, what I love about this cake. (1) The cake itself is moist, and has lots of sweet citrus flavour, so that even eating it on its own is actually really tasty. (2) I also love the syrup, when you boil lemon in with syrup, it can make your syrup bitter. So the trick is, don’t add the lemon juice or the lemon zest until the very end. Then you end up with a syrup that has this beautifully fresh lemon flavour without the bitterness. (3) You don’t have to wait very long after you pull the cake out of the oven. You simply wait 5 minutes for it to cool, remove it from the pan, prick it all over with a wooden skewer and then pour the warm syrup over top. (4) Finally, this cake tastes better the day after it is made. The syrup is less sharp and has had time to penetrate into the cake. Making it a joy to eat – you get a beautiful and soft balance of stronger citrus flavours at the top coupled with a more buttery and softer texture at the bottom. OK, any questions, please just leave a comment or a message on my Instagram account: @afroditeskitchen. Interestingly enough, all the photos below are taken with my i-phone — I think they turned out OK! Also, I am in the process of renovating my website – is there anything that you would love to see in the updated website? Would you like to be able to buy ingredients? Would you like a tip section? Would you like to see videos? Thank you!
Time: 1 & 1/2 hours
Serves: 16 easily
1 cup unsalted butter (225grams)
1 cup caster sugar
6 eggs, separated (place the egg yolks in a small bowl, and the egg whites in a large bowl as you will be whisking the egg whites)
1 & 1/2 cups almond flour (finely ground almonds)
3/4 cups & 2 tablespoons finely ground semolina
zest of 3 oranges
juice of 2 & 1/2 oranges and 1 mandarin (juice of 3 oranges if you don’t have a mandarin is OK too)
2/3 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
zest of 2 large lemons
juice of 1 & 1/2 large lemons
1. Grease and line the the bottom of a round, spring-form 9 to 9 & 1/2 inch pan. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
2. Beat the butter and caster sugar together in a mixer on medium-high speed. Add the egg yolks in, one at a time, ensuring the each yolk is mixed in well before adding the next egg yolk.
3. Add the almond flour, semolina, zest and orange/mandarin juice into the mixture, mixing well together. When adding the orange/mandarin juice, add the juice last, and add it in until the mixture becomes soft, but not really pour-able. See the picture in my saved Instagram story. You should end up using all if not nearly all of the orange/mandarin juice, but there may be a tiny bit left behind. (You will be adding in the egg whites which is why the batter will loosen up a bit more and why you need to ensure that the batter isn’t too runny at this stage.)
4. In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and then fold them into the mixture. Transfer the mixing bowl batter into a large bowl and then mix the egg whites into that. When you fold egg whites into the batter, you add one large scoop first and quickly fold it in to loosen the batter and make it a bit less thick. Then continue adding large scoops of egg whites into the batter, using a spatula to cut them in this time rather than quickly folding them in (google how to do this, or check out my saved Instagram story on this cake).
5. Turn the batter into your pan, and bake in a preheated oven for 50 minutes to an hour, until golden brown and firm to the touch. (I took mine out at 50 minutes, but had to cover the top with tinfoil at the 40 minute mark so that the top wouldn’t burn.)
6. Once the cake has been in the oven for about 30 minutes, put the granulated sugar, cinnamon stick and water into a saucepan and heat slowly until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 4 minutes, the mixture will reduce. Remove the liquid from the heat and add in the lemon rind and lemon juice and stir.
7. When the cake is cooked, let it stand in the pan for 5 minutes then carefully remove the cake from the pan and place the cake a wire cooling rack over top of something that will need to catch the syrup. Prick the top of the cake many times with a fine wooden skewer. Remove the cinnamon stick from the warm lemon syrup (if you need to reheat the lemon syrup, do so gently and until it is just warm as you don’t want it to be bitter). Spoon the hot syrup and lemon rind over the warm cake, let it cool and enjoy!