Make this delicious, moist and tender semolina lime syrup cake that’s perfect for afternoon tea, and enjoy the citrus,tangy flavours of freshly squeezed limes and lemons made into a warm syrup and drizzled lavishly over the whole cake.
I’m going through a butter cake craze! Yay! I hate to say it, but I really do love butter, for better or for worse. I’ve been poring through my recipe book collection this past week for all sorts of buttery goodies to bake…like everyday! I decided on this semolina lime syrup cake. Here, the citrus flavours of freshly squeezed limes and lemons are made into a warm syrup and drizzled lavishly over the whole cake.
I thought the citrus twist would be very appetising, and indeed, it did not disappoint! What hits you when you first bite into it are the contrasting flavours of the sweet-sour glaze-like syrup – it really made me sit up and pay attention. It hits you like a delicious tangy jolt, awakening your tastebuds, then mellowing out as it blends into the milder buttery flavours of semolina and almonds.
I’ve never actually used semolina flour in my bakes, aside from making home-made pizza dough, but its texture when blended with that of lavish amounts of ground almonds in this cake really was a lovely surprise. If at first I was a little ambivalent as to whether I liked it, by my second and third servings, I was left without a doubt that I would bake this cake again and again.
So, how do I best describe this cake’s texture? It’s almost like biting into finely grated, moist coconut filling, like those you find in traditional Chinese coconut tarts sold in bakeries and confectionery shops here in Singapore. The traditional semolina cake is often served during special and festive occasions such as Deepavali, Hari Raya and Christmas. I actually found this recipe, not in a local cookbook but in a Western one, quite simply titled ‘The Essential Baking Cookbook’ (pictured in the background of the photographs in this post).
Semolina Lime Syrup Cake
- 150 g butter softened at room temperature
- 160 g caster sugar
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 2 tsp finely grated lime rind
- 1 1/2 cup finely ground semolina
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup milk
For the Lime Syrup
- 1/4 cup lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1/4 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
- 125 g caster sugar
- Preheat oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F). Lightly grease a deep 23-cm (9-inch) fluted ring tin, dust it lightly with flour and shake off any excess. Place oven rack in the lower third of the oven such that when the tin is placed on the rack, the upper rim of the tin is the centre of the oven.
- In an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar at medium speed (between speed 3 and speed 4 on my Kitchen Aid mixer) until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly before adding the next. Beat in the lime rind. Transfer butter mixture to a large mixing bowl.
- Combine the semolina, ground almonds and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and stir to mix thoroughly.
- Using a spatula or metal spoon, fold the semolina mixture in (3) alternately with the milk, into the butter mixture in (2). Stir until just combined and almost smooth.
- Spoon into the tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre of the cake. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.
For the Lime Syrup
- Combine the juices, rind and sugar in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat, without reaching a boil, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Brush the warm syrup over the top and sides of the cake while the cake is still warm, then leave to cool.