Citrus Semolina Olive Oil Cake
I went to brunch with a friend and she said I had to taste a piece of this lovely citrusy rustic cake. One bite and I knew I had to try to recreate it. I thought it might be a semolina olive oil cake infused with citrus (It was an Italian Restaurant, Saraghina in Bed Stuy Brooklyn). I researched some recipes and came up with this recipe that I adapted from Epicurious. They made it in a 9″ springform pan ( I thought I had one but didn’t) so I decided to use a loaf pan. Their recipe also had candied orange slices on top which I decided not to do but instead rely on the juice and zest of the citrus to provide the citrus flavor. The cake is very moist and sweet, while the cake is hot you poke small holes with a thin skewer all over the cake and pour the warm syrup all over it, let it soak in and then pour some more. I am including the recipe with the original proportion of sugar in the cake but next time I make it I am going to reduce the sugar by half because the syrup really sweetens the cake. The pan is oiled with olive oil and the cake develops a lovely almost crisp exterior on the bottom and sides of the cake.
Citrus Semolina Olive Oil Cake
Makes 1 9 inch loaf or round cake
2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup orange or tangerine juice ( freshly squeezed)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of small orange or tangerine and zest of a lemon
Place all ingredients in saucepan, bring to a boil on high heat, reduce to medium high and boil for 8-10 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved.
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for pan
1/2 cup sugar divided (1/4 c will go in batter and 1/4 c in egg whites)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina flour (cornmeal can be subbed if you don’t have semolina)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 large eggs separated
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp kosher salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush baking pan with olive oil, I recommend brushing pan with olive oil and line the bottom with parchment paper brush the parchment with oil as well. Whisk dry ingredients and set aside. Beat egg whites until frothy and add the 1/4 c sugar a tbs at a time until soft peaks form. Using electric mixer beat olive oil and 1/4 c sugar, add the egg yolks one at a time beating well with each addition. Add yogurt, zest, vanilla beat only until combined and add the dry ingredients beating just until combined. Fold in the egg whites and pour into prepared pan, smooth the top and bake 45-50 minutes until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, Remove from oven and while cake is still hot poke holes using toothpick or skewer all over the cake. Slowly drizzle 1/4 cup of the syrup on the cake and when it is absorbed another 1/4 cup of syrup is drizzled over the cake. Let it cool in the pan, to remove run knife or offset spatula around the edges to release and invert onto serving pan. I cut some parchment that fit into the bottom of the pan, that helped with the release.