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.
Oh. My. God. This is so up my alley. I love, love, love this cake. I love the photo, and how it sounds. I’m going to be thinking about this until I go to sleep now. I am absolutely going to have to make this. I’m going to a potluck wine tasting party in another week or so, and this may be my dish to bring. Love!
Thanks Susan, it’s a wonderful cake. I love the citrus flavor and just love olive oil and semolina. At the restaurant they put thinly sliced almonds on top, I didn’t have any or I would have.
I have semolina flour to make pasta with, but I’ve never used it for a cake. Does it make it more tender? Or what?
No it won’t make it more tender, it actually gives it more body so it holds up to the syrup that is poured on the cake. It’s funny when the cake comes out of the oven the crumbs is fine but after you add the syrup it takes on a different look. It’s really delicious.
The cake looks great. I had no idea of Semolina flour in cake recipe. Good one!
I love semolina in bread and even sweet baked goods, it gives an undeniably rustic quality that is so good. Thank you so much,
I just love the look of this. I’m going to try it and replace the all-purpose flour with GF… The texture looks perfect 🙂
Oh Please let me know how it turns out with GF flour. It’s a great cake so simple and really delicious. Thank you so much.
I made it with spelt flour which isn’t GF but is wheat-free obviously. It was divine – a really great texture as I though and the spelt lends a slightly nutty flavour too which isn’t overpowering…
Thank you so much for letting me know how it went, I am making this cake for a dinner party and I am going to try spelt flour instead of AP, gluten free doesn’t matter to me I just love the taste of spelt. Thank you again.
That looks amazing! I think you’re right on reducing sugar, I think the bread should sing for itself. That said, I am sure it was super delicious!
You are so right. When I make it again I am going to use 1/4 cup when making the batter and add 2 Tbs when whipping the egg whites. I think it will make a difference. The original recipe must have been really sweet as they add 1 1/2 cups syrup to pour over the cake. I used very little in comparison. Thanks so much.
Oh what a great post – I love the look and sound of this cake – way way up my alley! The problem with food-blogging is all the food – much too tempting!
I know, it’s just me and the pugs here and I can’t possibly make every recipe I would like to, I wish I could it is way too tempting!! Thanks so much.
This looks delicious! My son will love it! Thank you! 🙂
Thanks so much Crystal, if you do make it I hope you and your son like it.
Sounds absolutely scrumptious. A definite addition to my baking list. Thank you!!
Thanks so much Jeanette, it’s my first ever semolina olive oil cake, I really like it.
Look delicious, I’d like a piece with my tea right now 🙂
Thanks so much Melissa, yes a slice with tea would be delicious!
I adore syrup-soaked cakes, Suzanne, and it looks like you created a marvelous one! Also love the addition of olive oil. I made a lemon olive oil cake for the first time last year and appreciate its taste and texture. I look forward to baking a loaf of yours!
Oh me too, thanks so much. I would love your feedback if you make it. Thank you!!
Your cake inspires me to use olive oil more freely in baking because your cake looks do moist!
Choc Chip Uru
I really like using oil in cake whether olive or vegetable oil, it produces a finer crumb and very moist cake. Thanks so much.
As soon as I can find decent lemons I’m going for this! I love olive oil cakes. Many thanks for this recipe!
That looks so good. The picture is just perfect. (I still can’t believe what you take your photos with!). I agree on the reduction of sugar.
Thank you so much, the cake is great and thank you for saying my photo is good, I am getting a real camera but until then it’s the ole iphone which does ok. You are so right, the sugar has to be adjusted.
Suzanne, you definitely need to put together a cook book. This is a top rate cake. The ambiance of the citrus is amazing. I love all the olive oil. The entire cake is perfect and looks scrumptiously moist. I wish I had a slice right now 🙂
You are so sweet Judy, I am so flattered, Thank you so much. The cake is really delicious, very very moist and if you are a citrus lover, like I am it’s perfect. Thank you again.
Ok, Suzanne this is hands down one of the yummiest looking cakes I’ve seen. I have heard of these olive oil cakes, but yet to try one. I love how incredibly moist it looks and I really LOVE that you infused the citrus flavor instead of using the candied orange slices…such a better idea! I’m a bigger fan of fruit flavors than chunks of fruit in cake. Chunks gross me out! What a clever lady you are and it’s just too beautiful for words!
Thanks so much Brandi, yes it is a very moist cake, I bake cakes frequently that use oil rather than butter but have never made an olive oil cake before this, I also have never used semolina. It is a wonderful combination, the cake is rustic and refined at the same time. I thought adding the candied orange would be overkill it is really good with just the citrus soak. Thank you again.
This looks delicious! I have always wanted to try a semolina and olive oil cake – love eating them at restaurants, but never made them at home – thank you for the inspiration!
Thank you, before last week I had never had one and really loved it. I knew I had to find a recipe, this one is good, still needs some tweaking. I actually liked using the loaf pan instead of the round springform and next time less sugar.
I have never heard of semolina olive oil cake. Thank you for introducing it to me. It’s looks awesome (so moisty). It’s a must try for me! 🙂
Thank you so much Francesca, it really is delicious and very moist. I hope you like it if you give it a try,
I adore the healthy combo of semolina and olive oil…the cake looks rustic and wholesome.
Thanks so much Angie, it really is a wonderful cake. I love simple unadorned cakes like this, you can dress them up or simply enjoy it on its own. Thank you again.
Here in greece we use semolina a lot when making cakes and it gives a very distinctive taste in them. I love your cake and I am sure the lemon gave it a very aromatic taste. You can find a similar recipe in my site too called Orange Flavored Ravani. Just to get ideas!
I will definitely check that out, I have only used semolina in savory dishes until I made this cake. Thank you so much, I will look at your recipe right away.
I saw the cake on your blog, it’s beautiful but I cannot figure out how to comment, I also loved the lemon syrup soaked cake. They are both beautiful and looks so delicious.
Easy. Moist. Lemony. These are words that describe this cake, but they in no way do it justice. Amazing? A little better. Below is this deliciously amazing guest post recipe from Winnie Abramson at Healthy Green Kitchen .
Such a great idea!!
I’m so happy to have discovered your blog today. Earlier this year, my husband and I were visiting friends and they took us out to an Italian restaurant that served a similar cake. Now I can recreate it at home.
Hi Karen; This was my first time (to my knowledge) tasting a semilina cake and I just loved it. If you do make it I hope you enjoy, Thank you so much.
Thank you, I know I will.
Oh, dear, I feel like this is dangerous, yet it sounds rather healthy with the ingredients! This is my cup of tea (and would be good with a cup of tea, too!) CC
Thanks Christina, yes the olive oil and semolina make this cake a bit virtuous but even if it isn’t it is definitely something to be enjoyed and is perfect with a cup of tea. Thanks so much.
Ooh, Suzanne, I must make this ASAP! Looks absolutely marvelous!!! many thanks!
Thanks so much Emily, its a wonderful cake I am making another one soon.
i hope to make it this weekend!!
Thank you Emily, if you do make it let me know what you think. Thank you so much!