Cypriot Citrus Cake

My daughter and her father are really enjoying their on-line cookery course. Every month they get a new recipe from around the world and get to try it out. Part of the fun is just spending the time purposefully together, first the shopping for new ingredients and then the cooking, before presneting the finished dishes to an appreciative audience. Last week they made an Indian curry with a  semolina side and panacotta desert.

Ofcourse it also means that we end up with some store cupboard items that don’t have an obvious use and this week it was semolina. What on earth could I find to do with 400g of semolina?

Semolina is a wheat product that in the UK is used to make quite an old fashioned milk pudding, not a million miles away from polenta used in Italy.  In Cyprus, semolina is used to bake cakes and one of the on-line recipes jumped out. Ingredients

  • 200 g fine semolina
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g self–raising flour
  • 100 g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • pinch of vanilla sugar
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • blanched almonds, to decorate (optional)


  • 400 g caster sugar
  • 200 ml water
  • pinch of vanilla sugar
  • ½ small lemon, juiced

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 10 cm x 23 cm loaf tin.

Make the cake batter, using an electric mixer on medium speed to beat all ingredients, except the eggs and almonds, for 2 minutes. Add eggs, increase speed to high and beat for 5 minutes. Spoon batter into prepared tin. Use a knife to lightly mark small serving portions (squares) on top of batter, then top each portion with an almond, if you like.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.

When cake is nearly cooked, make the syrup. Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat. When cake is cooked, pour a little hot syrup over hot cake, allowing it to absorb. Continue with all of syrup, allowing it to absorb after each addition. Serve.

An alternative version, using oranges and polenta/semolina interchangeably is included on Recipe Rifle

Orange polenta cake

250g butter
250g sugar
4 eggs
140g polenta OR  semolina
200g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
zest and juice 2 oranges

100g sugar
100ml orange juice

1 Zest and squeeze your oranges. Roughly chop the zest. Measure off 100ml of the juice and set aside for the glaze.

2 Set the oven to 140C for fan ovens and 160C normal ovens. Grease your cake tin and – if you feel like it, line with baking parchment.

3 Cream together the butter and sugar.

4 Add each of the four eggs, one at a time.

5 Add your dry ingredients and mix. Then add the zest and your half-quantity orange juice and mix. Pour it all into cake tin and bake in the oven for 1hr 10mins.

6 Take cake out of oven and leave to cool. When it’s sort of tepid, sling together the remaining juice and sugar and bring to the boil – then simmer for 5 minutes. Once this has cooled down to lukewarm, prick all over your cake with a fork or a skewer and pour over, preferable on a draining board to catch the run-off.


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