Lemon-semolina Cake

This month, I was planning to give you a recipe for a healthy, low-fat nut loaf. But…. I brought a Lemon-semolina
cake to Temple open day, and several people asked me to write its recipe in this Bulletin. I did
explain that I try to give relatively ‘healthy’ recipes, and this cake contained butter and many eggs…. but to no
avail. Who am I to disagree with three senior ladies of the community….
Nu…. here is a health-food-free and totally geshmak semolina cake. (I think it needs a certain amount of eggs
and butter to taste right. I don’t know whether substituting with sunflower spread, egg substitute, and fructose
would still give a recognisable cake, but you are welcome to try. If cholesterol is important, consider replacing
half the egg yolks with egg substitute or skim milk.)
Similar cakes exist all around the Middle East – Basbousa bil Levan, Revani, Cypriot Shammali, Sephardic
Tishpishti – there’s even a Burmese version with bananas and coconut milk. Many recipes use a lot more
butter and syrup, and mix wheat flour with the semolina, but I particularly like this version which uses only
fine semolina and ground almonds. Also this one does not require beating egg whites separately and folding
them in – everything goes in sequence into the same bowl, with a hand-held Kenwood mixer.

100 gm softened butter (pref. unsalted)
3/4 cup castor sugar
Finely grated rind of 1 large or 2 small lemons
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup fine semolina (not ‘instant’ semolina: just
plain fine semolina, from the bulk bin or
organic shop. Finer than breadcrumbs,
coarser than wheat flour.)
1 cup big juicy organic raisins (like Lexia)
1 cup almond meal (I used supermarket ground
almonds, or you could process organic
almonds to fine-breadcrumb stage)
plus: 1/2 cup flaked or slivered almonds
180 gm thick organic yoghurt.
For the syrup:
1 cup castor sugar
250 ml lemon juice
1/2 cup honey


  •  Preheat oven 180 deg. C.
  •  Oil 20 cm cake tin and line bottom with paper.
  •  Soften butter; beat with sugar and rind, until mix is light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time; beat well after each egg.
  • Mix together semolina, almond meal and baking powder, and fold into butter mix.
  • Then lightly fold in raisins, most of almonds, and yoghurt.
  • Pour mix into pan, sprinkle remaining almond bits on top, and bake about 45 min, or until lightly browned on top and a skewer in the middle comes out clean.  Don’t press the top to check – it may crack and fall in.
  • Melt syrup ingredients together and cook on low heat until it begins to thicken.
  • Allow cake to cool to hand-warm. Turn out of tin onto a plate. Pierce holes all over the top with a skewer and pour syrup evenly over cake.

Tsegait zich in moyl. Enjoy!

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