It’s been an absolute age since I last featured a cake on the blog and I was planning to have this recipe up much sooner, but I wasn’t completely happy with my first attempt. And although there were still some issues with my second attempt I figured even though I’m planning to make this cake a third time to try an iron out the problems I’m not going to wait around any longer!
The very fact that I’m planning to make this three times in as many weeks goes to show how much I like the flavours in this cake. I’ve never used semolina before and while I don’t enjoy the grainy/grittiness of polenta cakes I’m happy to report that the texture is completely different in this bake. I also like the fact that there is no flour in this recipe, instead the base is made up from ground almonds and semolina.
In terms of texture I’d say this was a slightly dense cake, but I’m not sure if this is how it should be, which is why I want to make it again. The recipe makes no allowance for fan ovens so the first time I made this cake I followed the timings and temperature to the letter, but it was slightly burnt on the top of the cake. For my second attempt I reduced the timings from 180°C to 170°C, but it didn’t bake through so I had to cook it longer than the required 35 minutes which seemed to result in a denser cake.
I don’t think this will ever be one of those light and airy fluffy cakes, but it’s still a great cake and a really good alternative to the usual lemon drizzle and Victoria sponge. I especially like the tangy cream cheese frosting that goes with this cake as it complements the flavours and textures, and in my opinion makes it more moist.
I love the flavour of orange so I tweaked the frosting slightly by adding some marmalade, orange zest and orange juice to intensify the flavour. In addition to tweaking the orange flavours I was all set to turn this cake into a lime, almond and semolina cake, but as you can only get fresh lime juice I didn’t know if the flavour would be too sharp so that idea has been shelved until I can get this recipe right.
- 150g semolina
- 75g ground almonds
- 200g soft butter
- 200g caster sugar
- 50ml orange juice
- Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
- 2 medium eggs
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 3tbsp marmalade
Cream cheese frosting
- 175g cream cheese
- 25g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g icing sugar
- Heat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin with butter and line the base with baking parchment.
- Combine the semolina, ground almonds and baking powder in a bowl, mix and set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the marmalade, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Add the semolina and almond mixture, along with the orange zest, and fold in gently. Add the orange juice to give a soft dropping consistency.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and gently smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until the cake is golden brown. Leave in the tin to cool for five minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together. Sift in the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Use a palette knife to spread the frosting on the cake. Chill before serving to allow the frosting to set.