Citrus Semolina Olive Oil Cake

By • January 31, 2013 • 12 Comments

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Author Notes: I had a slice of cake when having brunch at a wonderful restaurant in Bed Stuy (Brooklyn) and I immediately decided i had to re-create it. It was moist and had a wonderful rustic quality, not overly sweet and a citrus flavor that was not overpowering. I thought that the cake was probably made with semolina and olive oil so searched for recipes that seemed like they could be similar to this delicious cake. I found one on Epicurious and made it making several changes to the original recipe. I made it in a loaf pan rather than a round spring form and the first cake I found too sweet so I decreased the sugar, I also didn't garnish with candied orange slices and completely changed the soaking syrup using the juice from a tangerine and lemon along with the zest. The resulting cake is moist, and absolutely delicious. The bottoms and sides of the cake develop an almost crisp crust that when soaked in the syrup is so wonderful. This cake is very simple to make it comes together quickly with relatively few steps.sdebrango

Makes 1 loaf cake

Syrup

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup orange or tangerine juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • zest of a small orange or tangerine and lemon
  1. Place all ingredients in saucepan, bring to a boil on high heat, reduce to med/high and boil for 10-15 minutes or until syrup reduces by approximately 1/2. Set aside.

Cake

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup +2 tbs sugar divided (1/4 cup goes in cake batter and the 2 tbs in the egg whites)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs separated at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush loaf pan pan with olive oil. Whisk both flours,baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup sugar and olive oil in a large bowl for 1 minute. Beat in yolks, then flour mixture. Beat in yogurt, zest, and vanilla only until combined. Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 2 tbs sugar until firm peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter just to blend in 2 additions. Transfer to prepared pan; smooth top. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Pierce hot cake all over with a toothpick or skewer. Slowly drizzle 1/4 cup warm syrup all over. When syrup is absorbed, slowly pour 1/4 cup more syrup over. Reserve remaining syrup for serving. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack. Run a thin knife around edge of pan to release cake.
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10 months ago EmilyC

I just ran across this recipe in searching for dessert ideas that will go with a Middle Eastern-inspired meal. It looks fabulous! Saving it to hopefully try very soon!

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10 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

It's a wonderful cake Emily. I hope you give it a try. Goes really well with a Middle Eastern inspired meal

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10 months ago EmilyC

Is it better made the day of serving, or a day ahead?

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10 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

It's good either way, I made and served the same day but after a day the citrus syrup has really had a chance to sink in and it's wonderful.

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10 months ago EmilyC

Gracias!

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10 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I am just so please you are thinking about making it please let me know what you think.

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10 months ago EmilyC

Suzanne -- I made this today and it's seriously one of the best desserts I've made or eaten in a long time. I've tried many variations on citrus-olive oil-yogurt cakes, and this one is my favorite. I added 3/4 tsp ground cardamom to the cake batter and used orange zest versus lemon but otherwise followed your recipe to the letter. Outstanding!

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10 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much Emily, so happy and thrilled that it turned out well for you. I have made it several times sometimes mixing citrus sometimes using just orange and either way it's really delicious. Thank you very much!

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about 1 year ago Regine

Interesting. Just saw this. I was curious to check your recipes a bit more after I saw u won the frosting contest. Your recipe is similar to one I posted this week. It is called Revani and it is a Middle Eastern semolina based cake soaked with a simple sugar syrup. I must try yours now.

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about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks Regine, yes Revani is basically the same or very similar, I love this cake, it's so moist and citrusy,

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almost 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much Barbara, it is a really delicious cake.

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almost 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wow, Suzanne, this sounds delicious.