This is a classic Istanbul palace pudding, sweet and soft, with hints of vanilla. You can also add mastic, traditionally brought from the island of Chios, for the scent of Mediterranean pine woods.
milk225ml scant ½pint
First make the syrup. Bring the sugar and water to the boil, stirring until the sugar melts. Stir for another five minutes while letting the oven heat up to 180°C. Set the syrup aside to cool.
Pour the sugar into a mixing bowl. Break in the eggs and whisk to a froth. Continue beating as you add the olive oil, then the milk, semolina, flour, baking powder and vanilla. Finally stir in the poppy seeds.
Grease an 8-inch cake tin and pour in the mixture. Put it in the oven for 45 minutes, until the top browns.
Remove the cake from the oven, pour the syrup evenly over the surface, and set aside to absorb the syrup while it cools.