Yazd honey cakes


As I have a sweet tooth, I was pleased to find that in Iran, as well as in Syria, Turkey and North Africa, I could indulge in sweetmeats infused with honey and flower water. Here I add orange for a contrasting tang. These cakes are good eaten with yogurt or luxury vanilla ice cream.


  • 225 g fine semolina
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 100 ml sunflower oil, plus extra for oiling
  • finely grated rind and juice of 1 orange
  • 50 g self-raising flour
  • ½ level teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ level teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the syrup

  • 100 g golden caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 5 tablespoons orange flower water
  • 150 ml water


Heat the oven to 170°C/Gas 3. Put the semolina and icing sugar into a bowl. Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan and pour it into the bowl. Stir well and then mix in the orange rind and juice. Sift the flour with the baking powder and ground cinnamon onto the mixture and stir in.

Take up pieces of dough, about the size of a ping-pong ball, and form into short, fat sausage shapes, about 5 cm long. Place slightly apart on a large oiled baking sheet. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40-50 minutes until golden and firm to a light touch.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the sugar, honey, orange flower water and water into a saucepan over a low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and boil rapidly for 4-5 minutes, then set aside to cool.

When the cakes are ready, lift them off the baking sheet with a spatula and place in a large shallow dish in which they fit snugly. Spoon the syrup over them and leave for several hours, basting with the extra syrup in the pan occasionally. To serve, carefully pile the cakes on a pretty plate, scraping up any remaining syrup and spooning it over. Serve warm or cold.