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I adore semolina cakes because of their grainy and lighter texture. This Semolina and Lemon Curd cake is a pretty simple cake recipe, no icing involved, we pour some lemon and rosemary scented syrup over the cake after baking, which adds all the extra flavour and sweetness you need. You could be sitting down and eating this cake 2 hours from the time you start getting the ingredients ready! Sound good to you?
The flour is replaced with a combination of fine semolina and almonds, which takes on the fat and sugar much better than flour, resulting in a less greasy and lighter feel and also tastes less sweet.
I’d been wanting to make another semolina cake since the last one (above) a few months ago. That proved to be a big hit, getting picked up by a few sites, HuffPo and The Guardian, to name 2 of the big ones. So, why mess with perfection, right? So I followed the same recipe, as far as the base itself is concerned, that is the semolina, the almonds, the butter and sugar.
However, while the other one was predominantly rose flavoured, I wanted to do something with lemon curd, as it is a favourite baking ingredient; I’ve used it in cakes as well as cupcakes, like these ones:
But, I wanted more than a lemon aroma and flavour in it, and on the day that I was tinkering with the recipe, I was making lamb. And you know what herb lamb loves, don’t you? Yep, rosemary! Why not, I thought, its pine-y aroma would go beautifully with lemon, if I don’t use too much of it, that is!
I toyed with the idea of filling the cake with a mascarpone and lemon curd filling, but that would mean that the cake would have to be kept in the fridge to preserve the mascarpone. So, if not filling, the best way to ensure extra moisture and flavour is to drench! And that’s how the rosemary came into play – a lemon and rosemary scented syrup. The rosemary is very subtle, just in the background, happily supporting the lemon flavour. Total yum – I had 2 slices on that first day, one while I was setting up the shoot!
The cake is beautiful eaten warm, and just as delicious at room temperature. It will keep for 3 days very happily, kept in an airtight container.
How to stop cake batter from curdling when adding eggs?
This is a question I get asked a lot in my Cake Decorating classes as well as pages here on LinsFood. The solution is very simple: add a tablespoon of your flour (or in the case of today’s cake, semolina and almonds) with every addition of egg and beat, beat, beat, until you are happy that the egg is fully mixed in. 30-60 seconds will do, depending on the speed of your mixer.
When I use my tabletop mixer, which is this Kenwood Chef Titanium, I do it for just 30 seconds because it’s super fast. But handheld beaters and a regular bowl are easier to wash up, so I only use the big Kenwood when I’m making larger cakes or a few at a time.
If your cake batter does curdle, it doesn’t matter. The texture will be just slightly different but the taste will be perfectly delicious. You will only notice the texture difference if you are looking for it!
How to tell when your cake is done?
Insert a cake tester (long, thin, metal skewer) or a wooden skewer in the thickest part of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Another thing to note is the sides of your cakes. If the sides are coming away from the tin, the cake should normally be done. Sometimes, if a cake has a lot of liquid (like our eggless cakes), this is not always the best test, only the skewer test will do.
Lemon Curd in Our Cake
Use the best quality you can find, if going the shop bought route. If you fancy making your own, here’s our recipe. Incidentally, I am currently fine tuning an eggless lemon curd recipe, to convert today’s semolina cake into an eggless one, for my girls, as well, as requests from readers since the cake was published.
Fine Semolina for Baking
One of my friends in France made the other rose semolina cake, but unfortunately, it didn’t turn out well. We discovered that her semolina is the wet kind, as is her ground almond mix.
So be careful, you want fine, dry semolina, also known as semolina flour in some places. Likewise the ground almonds. This is how your semolina should look like:
Methinks that is all we need to chat about with this recipe. Let’s move on to how to bake it, shall we? Perfect for Easter, Mother’s Day, or really, any day!
Let’s get our aprons on!
And if you fancy more cake recipes, just head on over to the Cakes and Cupcakes page for beauties like:
If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!
And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood
Semolina and Lemon Curd Cake with Rosemary and Lemon Syrup
- 220 g fine semolina (semolina flour)
- 120 g ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 240 g salted butter
- 240 g caster or granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 80 g Lemon Curd
Rosemary and Lemon Syrup
- 125 ml water
- 100 g white sugar
- 1 lemon – rind and juice
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 2 Tbsp limoncello optional
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C Fan/350˚F.
- You will need a 20cm (8") round cake tin. Grease and line it as required. Mine doesn't need lining, just greasing. Set aside.
- Place the semolina, ground almonds and baking powder in a large bowl, mix and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fold in the lemon curd, then the semolina and almond mix. Fold in or beat on the lowest setting.
- 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.
- Take it out of the oven and pour half the syrup all over. Leave to cool slightly before taking out of the tin, and serving. Folks with a sweet tooth, can add their more syrup to the individual slices.
- Use a vegetable peeler and peel long strips off the lemon, then slice these strips thinly.
- Place the lemon strips, water and sugar in a saucepan on low heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Take it off the heat and add the lemon juice and rosemary sprigs. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then strain and stir in the limoncello if using. Keep the syrup aside until needed. You can hang on to the lemon peel and rosemary for garnish.
18 thoughts on “Semolina and Lemon Curd Cake with Rosemary and Lemon Syrup”
This looks so delicious! I was reading your recipe for egg-free lemon curd, and I’m wondering if there is an egg-free version of this cake? Usually I replace eggs with fruit puree when making cakes and muffins – do you think that would work here? I usually do 1/4 cup applesauce or other fruit puree for 1 egg. Any other suggestions to veganize this recipe? I can replace the butter with vegan butter sticks which work great for baking.
Thank you Jessica, it’s a shame I just never got around to creating an eggless version of this, I got too distracted with all the eggless cheesecakes that kept getting requested!
My egg substitute of choice is buttermilk, which is easily made at home with non dairy milk. And it’s the same amounts: 1/4 cup per egg.
I think you can definitely give it a try by replacing the eggs with your usual purée, but you’ll have to replace half that almond flour with cornstarch (cornflour in the UK). But maybe about 4 Tbsp of it.
I can’t guarantee it’s going to work, as semolina doesn’t absorb liquid like regular flour does. You could look around for a vegan semolina cake and substitute part of the ingredients with the lemon curd?
Sorry I can’t be more help. But I’ll definitely be pencilling this one in the schedule.
I am speechless at the cake’s flavour and the pictures! Definitely making this, thank you, Azlin. Maybe on the same day as your kedgeree!
Haha, thank you. Let me know how it goes.
I am so in love with this cake. The recipe, the flavours and all the pictures are just amazing! What can I use to replace the almonds?
If you don’t want to use any nuts, just replace the amount with the same weight in fine semolina or all purpose flour. Thanks Mimi.
This is a fabulous recipe, Azlin. I’ve sent you an email about working with us, and featuring it and the other semolina cake in our summer edition.
Marvellous, thank you. Have replied.
OMG, this sounds incredible! And I just love the pictures, especially the one with you pouring the syrup on!
Thanks, I love this cake, it sounds heavenly. Bookmarked to try.
Thank you, Cindy, let me know how it goes.
I love that picture with you pouring the syrup on the cake – it’s beautiful! I love the detail, right down to your nail polish and rings! Oh, and I LOVE the cake. Look forward to trying out the recipe.
Haha, thank you, Renee. Let me know how it goes!
I was just on your Madeira Cake page, looking for ideas for my teen daughter’s birthday. I definitely like this one. She’s not a fan of icing, so this will be perfect. Thank you, Azlin. Can I make it a bigger size to feed more?
Hi Mandy, I’m really pleased to hear that. You can definitely convert the recipe to make a bigger cake. Take a look at the Madeira Cake page for the “formula”: https://linsfood.com/madeira-cake/
Essentially, to turn it into a 9″ cake, you multiply the ingredients by 1.25. Let me know if you need help with that.
Wow, what’s not to love about this recipe? I saw this on Pinterest and am glad I cam to check it out. I love that it doesn’t take long to serve it. I think I’ll make this for Easter Sunday tea tim. Thanks Chef!
Glad to hear it, and thank you. Let me know how it goes.