Semolina Cake with Rose Water and Pistachios

Semolina Cake with Rose Water and Pistachios

  • Author: Azlin Bloor
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 12 1x


Semolina Cake with Rose Water and Pistachios, drenched in rose syrup and filled with rose buttercream.



  • 220g (7 4/5oz) fine semolina (semolina flour)
  • 120g (4 1/5oz) ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • seeds of 12 green cardamoms, ground
  • 240g (8 2/5oz) salted butter
  • 240g (8 2/5oz) caster or granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp rose water

Rose Syrup

  • 125ml (1/2 cup) water
  • 200g (1 cup) white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp rose water

Buttercream Icing Filling

  • 60g (2 oz) salted butter
  • 150g (5 1/3oz) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 tsp rose water


  • 100g (3 1/2 oz) pistachios, ground
  • a handful dried rose petals or buds


  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C Fan/350˚F.
  2. You will need a 20cm (8″) round cake tin. Grease and line it as required. Mine doesn’t need lining, just greasing. Set aside.
  3. Place the semolina, ground almonds, baking powder and ground cardamom seeds in a large bowl, mix and set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar for 1 whole minute until pale and light in texture. If your mixer has lots of speeds and you are using the highest, you can reduce that down to 30 seconds.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, along with a tablespoon of the semolina mix with each egg. Beat at high speed for a good 30 seconds between each addition. Adding flour with your egg, or in this instance, semolina and almonds, will stop the eggs from curdling. I do this for all my cakes. If your batter does curdle, it doesn’t matter, your cake will still be fine, if just marginally different in texture.
  6. After the last egg has been beaten in, add the rose water, beat for 10 seconds, then add the rest of the semolina/almond mix and beat gently until it’s all fully mixed in.
  7. Pour your cake batter into your prepared tin and bake for 1 hour. If your oven runs hot, check it at the 55 min mark.

Rose Syrup

  1. While the cake is baking, let’s make our rose syrup. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Lower the heat right down and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Then turn the heat off and leave it on the hot hob. We’ll add the rose water later, as we don’t want the essential oils from the water evaporating with the steam of the hot syrup.

Buttercream Icing

  1. Beat the butter for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the icing sugar and beat until you get a smooth mix.
  3. Beat in the rose water, you’ll only need about 10 seconds for this. Cover with cling film and set aside until needed.
  4. When the cake is done (insert a cake tester), take it out.
  5. Add the rose water to the sugar syrup and stir well, to mix it all in.
  6. Very slowly, while the cake is still very hot, pour the syrup all over the cake, a little at a time to allow the syrup to be absorbed. The cake will have a slight dome shape, so pay extra attention to soaking the middle, maybe a tablespoon at a time.
  7. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for about an hour. Take it out at the end of the hour and if you are filling it with icing, wait for 2 more hours to allow it to come to room temperature.
  8. The side and top crusts of the cake will be very soft. Leave the top alone, but you can just brush off the side with your fingers.

To Ice

  1. Using a serrated knife, cut your cake in half. Place the top half aside, with the cut side down. If you place it with the top down, that soft crust I mentioned earlier? Most of it will come off, leaving you with a partially bald cake. Not a disaster, as you can just cover it with a whole lot of pistachios and rose petals!
  2. Using an offset spatula (one where the blade is at an angle), spread the rose buttercream all over. If you go right up to the edge, the icing will push through slightly when the top is placed back in place. The look is completely up to you.
  3. Scatter the pistachios generously all over, and follow with some dried rose petals.


Total time does not include waiting for the cake to cool down, if you are icing it. The calories content can be reduced by omitting the buttercream

  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Medium/Intermediate
  • Cuisine: International

Keywords: cake