Lemon Semolina Cake

When life gives you lemons, you better get grating that rind for lemon cake. 

I’ve been asked to make a lemon drizzle cake for a birthday in March, so I thought I should get practicing. Cake making rehearsals got off to a great start with this one. I think this might be a winning recipe.
I think the trick to a lemon drizzle cake is to make it large but relatively thin. Thick enough to be a cake, while thin enough for the drizzle to seep all the way through, and large because… just large! 


And, semolina! When I mentioned a lemon semolina cake, Selina screwed her face right up saying it reminded her of being force fed it for school dinners. I’m not sure semolina/polenta is only a bonus to lemon bakes, but I made little almond, polenta and lemon syrup cakes before and they were delicious too! The texture is much lighter when you substitute some of the plain flour for the semolina.
There seem to be a number of forums about for substituting semolina, polenta and cornmeal. Some are American so I can’t work out if there are variations in names there anyway. Maybe you can work it out.
This is another one of Ruby Tandoh’s from Crumb
125g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar 
2 large eggs
zest and juice of 2 large or 3 smaller lemons – my citrus juicer is just like this
100g semolina 
60g plain flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt 
For the syrup
60g caster sugar 
lemon juice (you’ll be using the remainder of what you squeeze for the cake)
20g icing sugar
20cm loose-bottomed or spring for cake tin – Most times I ignore this and bung the cake mix in whatever seems the right size, but I regret not following this now. My only spring form tin is 23cm, so I used my regular 20cm tin. If it wasn’t a drizzle cake, you’d be fine. Once the surface of your cake has been liberally drizzled it becomes mission impossible to turn out without loosing the whole top surface.
Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease the tin. This cake takes next to no time to put together, so if you’ve got a bit of a slow oven you might want to put it on before you weigh everything out. 
Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy then add the eggs, lemon zest, semolina and a tablespoon of the lemon juice. Reserve the remaining juice for the syrup to be made later. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Spoon into the prepared tin, smooth the top and bake for 25 minutes (or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean). 
While the cake is in the oven, combine the remaining lemon juice and the 60g caster sugar in a pan over a low heat. Allow it to bubble up until it has the consistency of syrup, then take it off the heat. 
As soon as the cake is out of the oven, pierce deeply through the top with a fork or skewer. Be careful if using a fork that you don’t flick up the surface of the cake. Leave to cool slightly then remove from the tin and move to a cooling rack. If you aren’t using a loose-bottomed or spring form tin, you’ll probably want to leave the cake to cool for longer.  
“A liberal dusting of icing sugar is a glorious (but admittedly unnecessary) finishing touch.” Ruby Tandoh. 


Harleigh Reid
Harleigh Reid

I write about food and eat a lot.

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