The Simple Ingredients – Lemon (Zesty Lemon Semolina Cake)

As mentioned in my previous post, I had decided to make something sweet using Lemon 🙂 . There are so many desserts using lemon that I feel deserve a mention in this post. All these I wanted to try out and I will tell you why they did not end up here (at least for the time being).

There was a lemon tart/pie I wanted to bake using almond flour and butter as the crust and pour in lovely lemon curd inspired from The Kitchn’s easy homemade  recipe. However I had my doubts on how crumbly the tart/pie would turn out. I am still not confident making normal pie or tart pasty, so felt that this one had to be dropped – Just like my husband keeps telling me to learn something new, get comfortable with the basics first and then explore the bigger alternatives. So yes I need to learn the basic pie crust recipe with a basic and simple pie filling before I head down the road towards almond flour and its texture and how lemon curd will need to be set in it.

Next I toyed with something cold and lemony like an ice cream or a sorbet. More like a lemon mousse . I love the soft, cold and creamy texture of a mousse but again getting the correct creamy texture right with heavy cream was too much for the time being. Besides I am not sure about adding egg yolks in mousse without adding vanilla extract – I do not like the eggy smell in dessert . Further I am not sure how just by adding  lemon juice and cream and whipping the eggs the smell disappears?  I am trying to find answers to these questions but in the meanwhile if someone reading this is aware of it, then please do educate me.

And finally there was the whole baking fruits like peaches or pears or apples , pouring over lemon juice and serving with some cheese. I really like raw fruit just like that. Cut fruit mixed with yogurt and honey I like. Raw fruit cut and served with cheese and crackers I like. However baking fruit or cooking it always gets too mushy for me at home. Something about controlling the temperature. I love using all kinds of berries in muffins since the juice gets infused in the dough while baking. Same thing while making homemade Compote or jams since I am trying to make it all mushy, so until this is to be done then it is good. However baking a whole piece of fruit and at the same time stopping it from getting mushy was not happening right now.

So the inspiration for this sweet treat is as follows. I am always fascinated by Mediterranean and Turkish treats :  The generous portions of almonds, pistachios, honey and milk turns the most boring recipes into such mouth-watering treats. Add to that intense flavors from spices like cardamom and saffron, or the extracts from rose and lemon and you have a fabulous concoction of flavors that you never knew could co-exist right there in your mouth. Once in a while chocolate and its desserts do not get the same attention that they do normally get all the time. And this is one of those instances 🙂


Hence introducing my version of a zesty lemon semolina cake. The idea and ingredient list originates from this article here at The Guardian. However my proportions are a lot different. The cake was one of the most moist ones I have ever baked. A great tea time goto with your tea or coffee.

Ingredients for Zesty Lemon Semolina Cake: Makes the size of the below loaf cake

1 cup Semolina*

1/4 cup all-purpose flour*

100 grams raw sugar

120 grams unsalted butter

1 tablespoon greek yogurt

2 free range eggs

Lemon Zest of 1 whole lemon

Juice of 1.5 lemons

1 tablespoon honey

Almond flakes

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry roast the semolina in a non stick pan for a few minutes until it browns partially – Keep stirring the semolina in the pan else it will burn. Mix in all the dry ingredients. Cream the raw sugar and butter. Add in 1 egg at a time and then the greek yogurt. Also add in the vanilla extract and juice of half a lemon. Whip up until evenly mixed. Mix in the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. At this point also add in the lemon zest and beat the batter with a spatula until everything is evenly mixed. Pour into a loaf tin and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degree centigrade for about 40-45 min until a toothpick comes out clean. The batter may look a bit runny than your normal cake batter but it is okay since it does bake fine and the cake comes out soft and moist.


While the cake is baking, mix the remaining lemon juice, honey and almond flakes in a bowl. Once the cake is baked make small holes with a tooth pick – Then pour over the honey, lemon and almond flakes mix. Spread the sticky almond flakes with a spatula evenly over the cake top. The semolina will absorb all the lemon juice and honey .Once cooled ,cut the cake in slices and serve with tea or coffee. You can also try to serve using whipped cream perhaps ? Or even dip the slices in lemon curd . I loved the slices cut just like that and eaten whole 🙂

* I have measurements in Cup since the measuring cup I was using had them calibrated in Cups. From what I have found out, 1 cup = 125 grams appr. from here . Read the “Other, Non-liquid Ingredients” and “All purpose flour”.



Some wonderful recipes and ideas I found while doing research on what kind of lemon treat to explore:

1) Seems like there is a Greek version of the lemon cake I made above ,though a bit too sweet for my liking especially the sweet syrup. Read here

2) Perhaps I could use this mini lemon tart recipe to start with to practice my tart baking skills.

3) Of course from the ever reliable “The Kitchn” site has the 20 or 15 something lists from sandwiches to salads to desserts to everything food. This lovely post has  a tempting and delicious list for “20 Lemon Dessert Recipes“.

4) Serious Eats has a list of “23 Lemon Desserts We love”  here. I definitely love them and will be bookmarking it for future reference.


In the next 2 posts of “The Simple Ingredients” , the simple ingredient is going to be Basil – One of those beautiful, green, strong, intense, flavorful (and I am running out of adjectives) herbs that I love 🙂


5 thoughts on “The Simple Ingredients – Lemon (Zesty Lemon Semolina Cake)

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