Friday, 25 February 2011

Sticky Semolina Cake

This Middle-Eastern inspired cake is from Nigella Lawson's Feast. This cake tastes divine and like many other cake recipes from Nigella, this is also incredibly easy to make; everything is done in a food processor. I love the gritty texture of the cake provided by the semolina in place of flour. I actually used corn meal to make the cake gluten-free. I can eat gluten, but my friend Michelle can't. I'd like to see what's gonna happen though if she had gluten... I am a nice but weird friend.

The reason why this cake is so moist is because the cake was drenched with fragrant sugar syrup after baking. I would suggest making the syrup in advance though so that it has time to chill in the fridge.

The fragrant syrup is flavoured with rosewater and orange-flower water. Rosewater is not for everyone. I adore the scent of rosewater and its soft, sweet flavour. Use it sparingly, no more than a teaspoon here. If you add too much of it, it will over power the taste and feels like eating toiletry products (not nice) or your grandmother's potpourri bowl (also not very nice). However, if you can't stand it, just miss it out completely.

Sticky Semolina Cake
Recipe by Nigella Lawson
Makes 36

For the syrup
400 g caster sugar
250 ml water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon rosewater
1 teaspoon orange-flower water

For the cake
300 g semolina
150 g caster sugar
125 g butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
100 g Greek yoghurt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
36 whole blanched almonds

To make the syrup, dissolve the sugar in the water over a low heat then add the lemon juice. Turn up the heat and boil the syrup fiercely for 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, add the rosewater and the orange-flower water, then pour the syrup into a jug to cool. Put the syrup in the fridge to chill down further.

Preheat the oven to 180 C and butter a 23 cm square baking tin. Put all the cake ingredients, except the whole almonds in a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth batter. Tip into the cake tin and spread evenly. Dot the top with almonds in 6 rows of 6, placed equally apart. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, by which time the cake will have risen and become golden. Test with a cake tester to check it;s not doughy underneath.

Pour the cold syrup over the hot cake and leave to cool completely in the tin, Cut into 36 little squares, or however you like.


  1. love this cake Michael... and your photo's are excellent... I love the little blanched almonds on top... your workmates are bloody lucky!

  2. wow I wish I could reach out and grab a few of them! Look marvelous!

  3. Did you save a piece for me? Your photos make this look even more appetizing. You have talent for picking awesome recipes.

  4. This looks great! I remember the recipe from her book. Semolina sounds nice and fancy.

  5. Love the look, texture, yum! have a super weekend.

  6. wow love rose water what a great cake and nice to see your pic Michael :-)


  7. I love the look of this cake, Michael! I can only imagine how delicious it tastes. The sweet syrup sounds amazing!!

  8. Your photo has made a wonderful cake even more appealing. I'd love to have a slice with my coffee. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  9. this looks so great! in every way possible, i want to try this cake!

  10. I love how theres almonds on each slice!! Look soooo cool!!

  11. I just love baking with semolina so I know I will be trying out this cake very very very soon.

  12. These look incredibly good! I love the syrup - makes them extra special!

  13. Michael
    what an outstanding job you did with Nigella's sticky cake, the syrup did help keep it so moist and flavorful! How nice of you to make it gluten free for your friend

  14. Beautiful take on Nigella's beautiful cake, love the little almonds & the orange flower water. Very tasty little number indeedy :)

  15. Great job, Michael! And your photos are a delight. The rosewater and orange water are such great additions; I'd love to make this for my next tea!

  16. Looks delicious! I will definitely try this recipe. I've made this before, many, many times and it never comes out right - ever. So I'm excited to try this one out!

  17. Wow, your sticky semolina cake looks and sound finger-licking delicious! I'm hosting the Culinary Smackdown Battle for March--the theme is Cookies. Would you like to join in for the fun? It doesn' have to be a new post on your blog. You can pick your favorite cookie from your previous post too. All you have to do is link up your cookie creation. I have some great prizes waiting. Hope to see your entry soon!


  18. I want some! Looks so delicious Michael :)

  19. This looks so good! I love that it's made in the food processor!! And it looks SO moist!

  20. It looks delicious. Did u only use cornmeal or mixed.

    1. Hi Sevi. Thank you. I love this cake and thinking of baking it again soon. I use all cornmeal/semolina.