Cakes, Pies & Tarts, Dessert

Semolina Cake soaked in Orange Blossom Syrup

Nicoletta May 31, 2017

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Semolina Cake soaked in Orange Blossom Syrup, a delicious super moist semolina cake infused with orange juice and orange blossom water with a little crunch from the topping of coconut and slivered almonds. This month’s challenge “Around the World in 12 Plates” took us to Israel!

Song of the day: Never Have Time by The Royal Foundry.

Semolina Cake soaked in Orange Blossom Syrup

This fun monthly challenge “Around the World in 12 Plates” that we joined with a bunch of fellow food bloggers from Food Bloggers of Canada, took us to a beautiful Country, Israel. We have never been there but Loreto and I we enjoy all the Middle Eastern food, both sweet and savory, so, when it came to deciding who, between us, was going to make something for the challenge, I stood up and said I wanted to bake a cake that was on my to-do list for some time.



I am sure Loreto would have come up with an incredible savoury Israeli dish, but when he heard about this Semolina Cake, he also agreed that this month the challenge was all mine. After all, last month’s challenge took us to Egypt, a neighbouring Country, where Loreto created a wonderful vegetarian meal. This cake seems to be popular also in Egypt, where it’s called “Basbousa” (just a kiss) and in all the Middle East, changing names and ingredients on the way. What they all have in common is that they are soaked in a sugar syrup. The syrup is essential and it is what makes this cake unforgettable.

I have seen many recipes on-line, some with eggs, mostly without, some with almond flour and semolina, some with semolina and all-purpose, many with yoghurt and a citrus component, some include nuts or dates, almost all of them have a touch of coconut, either in the batter or as a topping. I adapted a recipe found on The Mediterranean Dish that was closer to the idea of cake I wanted to bake.

I love to play with different flours in my baking, so when I saw the opportunity to make a cake where I could use semolina flour and cornmeal, I jumped in happiness. I chose to soak my Semolina Cake in orange juice and orange blossom water, and the combination is outstanding. You may want to make the syrup first because it needs time to cool down before being poured on the baked cake. I tried not to reduce mine too much but left it a little runny, and I did not add it all at once but kept some to pour just before serving a slice of cake.

Semolina Cake soaked in Orange Blossom SyrupSemolina Cake soaked in Orange Blossom SyrupSemolina Cake soaked in Orange Blossom Syrup

We fell in love with the flavours and texture of this Semolina Cake soaked in Orange Blossom Syrup. The aroma of the orange combined with the scent of cornmeal and semolina was heavenly. Somewhat nutty and rich had both Loreto and me craving a piece of this incredibly moist cake right away. But this time, patience is a virtue, the cake needs to sit and mingle with the syrup and became that soft moist pillow of goodness.

Semolina Cake soaked in Orange Blossom SyrupSemolina Cake soaked in Orange Blossom Syrup

The shaved almonds and grated coconut just take this cake over the top. Texture upon texture, smooth, moist crumbly cake meets crunch and crispiness of the topping. The syrup has just melted into the cake and you can see this wonderful sheen coming through.

Semolina Cake soaked in Orange Blossom Syrup

The first bites and we feel the moistness of this cake. The orange blossom syrup is nice and subtle, and I don’t know about you but anything citrus always lightens my mood. It just seems to wrap itself around you and lifts you up. The wonderful flavour of corn comes through from the cornmeal and, with the semolina, remains the star of the show. The crust of the cake offers a nice caramelization and crunch which adds to the overall texture of the cake. The almonds and coconut keep the taste buds alive and their flavours are like backup singers to a band.

I really enjoyed making this Semolina Cake Soaked in Orange Blossom Syrup. If you love culture and have a passion for Middle Eastern Cuisine, then I highly recommend you try this one. It will be a hit and you will see it vanish before your eyes in no time. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have from our kitchen here at Sugarlovespices.


Song of the day: Never Have Time by The Royal Foundry.

Semolina Cake soaked in Orange Blossom Syrup

Semolina Cake soaked in Orange Blossom Syrup

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Sweets
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern


Semolina Cake soaked in Orange Blossom Syrup, a delicious super moist semolina cake infused with orange juice and orange blossom water with a little crunch from the topping of coconut and slivered almonds.



  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Greek or regular yogurt, plain
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1 1/2 cup fine semolina
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder


  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup shaved almonds


  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 orange, juice and zest
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
  2. Place the butter in a ramekin and melt in the microwave. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine together the sugar, yogurt and coconut cream.
  4. Add in the milk, semolina, cornmeal, and baking powder.
  5. Finally stir in the melted butter, and let the mixture sit briefly so that the butter is absorbed.
  6. Transfer the semolina mixture into a lightly greased 9″ round cake pan or baking dish.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes. If necessary, broil 1-2 minutes, checking the cake constantly, so that the top of the cake gains color.
  8. When ready, remove from oven.
  9. While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup.


  1. Place the water, orange juice and zest in a small saucepan on the stove top.
  2. Heat till the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Turn heat to low and let cook for about 10 minutes (the mixture should reduce about 1/3).
  4. Remove from heat and add the orange blossom water.
  5. Let cool completely.
  6. As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, pour 3/4 of the cool syrup on top and let it absorb into the cake. For best result, let it sit for 1 hour before serving.
  7. When ready to serve, pour the rest of the juice on top of the cake and add the coconut and shaved almonds.
  8. Slice and enjoy!


You can substitute the coconut cream with the yogurt, for a total of 1 cup.

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Make sure you check out the other amazing recipes from fellow bloggers participating in this exciting challenge that is “Around the World in 12 Plates”:

Khachapuri Recipe: A Georgian Egg and Cheese Bread

Uri Scheft’s Challah


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  • Avatar
    Reply Milena | Craft Beering May 31, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Outstanding! I love the flavor profile you have going on with this cake Nicoletta. Also the textures created by semolina and the slivered almonds of the topping. Pinning!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta May 31, 2017 at 8:23 am

      Thank you Milena! Such a great cake, we’re going to make it again, it was a beautiful surprise!

  • Avatar
    Reply Natalie Browne May 31, 2017 at 10:19 am

    I love, love, love this cake. It’s sounds so lovely with the coconut, almond and orange. This is the second recipe I’ve read today that uses orange blossom water. I think that must be a sign that I need to get my hands on some and bake a cake 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 1, 2017 at 7:28 am

      Thank you Natalie, it was such a great cake, we all loved the flavors and most of all the texture! Hope you make it and let me know how you like it!

  • Avatar
    Reply Dawn - Girl Heart Food May 31, 2017 at 11:32 am

    I love citrus in just about anything and I’m a big fan of cornmeal too so this cake looks totally scrumptious to me! Love that you soaked the caked in the syrup – definitely adds another element of flavour and the almonds on top are the perfect touch 🙂 Pinned!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 1, 2017 at 7:29 am

      Dawn, thank you so much! This cake has such a great flavor, and that cornmeal is the right touch. Plus, the toppings, bring it to a whole new level. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Karen June 1, 2017 at 9:36 am

    This is my kind of cake and perfect for the warm summer that lies ahead.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 1, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Thank you Karen, I agree, it is a perfect dessert for summer…

  • Avatar
    Reply adina June 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    What a great challenge! I made a cornmeal cake soaked with orange syrup once and it was soooo good, Romanian style though. I would love to try this version as well.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 1, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      It is an exciting challenge every month, Adina! I’m glad you did a similar cake, so you know how good it is! Thank you for stopping by!

  • Avatar
    Reply Justine @ June 1, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Oh wow! Cornmeal, coconut, oranage blossom water and orange juice?! I can only imagine how incredible this is! I didn’t know much about Semolina Cake before reading this post, so I appreciate the history. 🙂 Beautiful job, Nicoletta!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 1, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      It is, Justine, we all loved it. Thank you so much for your lovely comment!

  • Avatar
    Reply Bernice June 2, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Mmm! When I saw that you did a cake for the challenge I knew you would be the baker Nicoletta! I love the idea of this beautiful cake and I’m not only drooling over it but also those gorgeous props. Well done!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 3, 2017 at 7:03 am

      Thank you, Bernice! I loved making, staging, and eating this cake 🙂 !

  • Avatar
    Reply Maitri Gandhi November 21, 2017 at 12:53 am

    Hello, sounds so so good! Would there be anything I can replace the coconut cream with though?

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta November 21, 2017 at 7:27 am

      Hello! It is such a good cake, hope you make it and let us know! You can try using all Greek yogurt, bringing it to 1 cup, or maybe also whipping cream would work (in this case 1/2 cup Greek yogurt + 1/2 cup whipping cream).

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