Semolina Cake


Preparation info

  • Makes:

    10–12 pieces

    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Real Greek

The Real Greek

By Tonia Buxton

Published 2016

  • About

As with all good Greek desserts, there is a syrup to steep this semolina cake in. And for flavour I like to use mastic, which is a tree resin taken from trees grown only on the island of Hios – and is an acquired flavour used in ice cream. You can substitute it with vanilla extract, orange blossom water or rosewater.


For the syrup

  • 400 g caster sugar
  • 3 large pieces of cussia bark or cinnamon quills
  • 7 cloves
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Large glug of brandy


  • Make the syrup: Place the sugar, cinnamon and cloves in a pan with the lemon juice and 400 ml cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a steady simmer for 15–20 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan 150°C) / Gas 4. Lightly grease a 23cm round or square, loose-bottomed cake tin or as Greeks would use, a shallow, square ovenproof glass dish.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy then blend in the olive oil and orange zest and juice before folding in the semolina. Crush the mastic with a pinch of sugar in a pestle and mortar (the sugar prevents the mastic from becoming too sticky). Stir in to the mixture with the baking powder.
  • Transfer to the prepared tin and arrange the almonds on the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden, well-risen and springy to the touch.
  • Set the hot cake tin onto a shallow plate and ladle the cold syrup over the top. Let the cake soak up the syrup for 30 minutes or so before removing from the tin. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.