Monday, March 20, 2017

Semolina, Pistachio and Rose Water Cake

I grew up in a house where a jar or two of semolina were always laying around in the cupboard waiting to be used in some of our favorite recipes as kids.

My mother would always buy 2 kinds of semolina: fine and coarse. Each had a different use. Mom would use the fine one to make a vegan semolina and saffron or turmeric cake, while the coarse one was reserved to a sweet and syrupy semolina cake dotted with almonds. I will share both recipes with you the soonest.

Semolina is the star ingredient of the famous Easter cookies we make every year during the holiday. I'll be making a big batch soon and let me tell you that I can't wait to make these delicious crumbly cookies.

Taking inspiration in all of these recipes and some more, I made a cake that screams the Eastern Mediterranean to me with its delicate fresh and floral flavors. The cake is moist, packed with flavors and what's really neat is that it only takes a bowl and a hand whisk to make!

For the cake you need:
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 80 g soft butter
  • 50 g yogurt (plain, no added sugar or fruits)
  • 100 g sugar
  • 50 g pistachio paste
  • 50 g ground pistachio
  • 175 g semolina
  • 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 2 tbsp rose water
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 250 ml of simple syrup (recipe follows)
In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar, add the yogurt and mix well. Add the eggs one by one and mix until well combined. Incorporate the pistachio paste, ground pistachio, salt, semolina, baking powder and baking soda and whisk again.  Finally add the rose and orange water.

Pour the batter into a greased pan covered with parchment paper. I used a 16 cm round pan, and baked the cake in a preheated oven (175 C / 345 to 350 F) for about 40 to 45 min. Check after 35 min with a skewer, it should come out clean. If you use a bigger pan, reduce the baking time.

While you bake the cake prepare the syrup:
  • 130 g sugar
  • 130 g water
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp rose water and 1 tsp of orange blossom water
Combine sugar and water and simmer on a gentle heat. Once the sugar has dissolved and you start seeing bubbles on the surface, add the lemon, leave it for a couple of minutes then turn off the heat.
Add the rose and orange water and mix.

Once the cake is baked, leave it to cool for 5 minutes, remove it from the pan and then pour the syrup all over.

To serve, decorate the cake as you see fit. I have a big box of hairy floss so I decided to add some on the top to decorate my cake; it's also quite the delicious addition.

The cake pairs well with vanilla or mastiha ice cream, Greek yogurt, and honey. However, the cake is quite delicious on its own and does not necessarily need any additions.


  1. That's an awesome combination! We always had semolina lying around too, maybe that's why I am such a big fan of it in baking. Loved hearing a little about your childhood!

    1. Thank you so much! Yeah, same here in Madrid, I always have some, to make a cake or mammuniyeh :)