I used to be of the opinion that for a cake to be, well, a cake, it had to have frosting, loads of sugar, and several layers. Then I grew up.
I don’t know if it was just an appreciation for a less complicated recipe after finding myself a busy mother to several energetic children, or finding beauty in simplicity and minimalism, but one thing is for sure: Rustic, frosting-free single layer cakes are as wonderful to me as any elaborate cake I’ve ever had.
This semolina cake is one such simple cake. It has a buttery flavor and dense texture and it gets it’s sweetness from a good soaking in a simple syrup made of honey, grapefruit juice, and rose oil (or rose water).
A few notes: Do use grass-fed butter for this cake if flavor matters to you – grass-fed is darker yellow and much richer than conventional butter and really makes this cake. If you don’t have or can’t find rose oil, rose water will work just fine in it’s place. Lastly, make sure that you don’t over-bake this cake. Take it out of the oven as soon as a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. It can dry out easily and taking it out of the oven just as soon as it’s cooked through will ensure a moist, soft cake.
- 2 cups Semolina
- 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ⅔ cup Raw Cane Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1¼ cups Buttermilk
- ¾ cup (6 ounces) Grass-fed Butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- zest of 1 lemon
- ⅔ cup Honey
- ¾ cup Grapefruit Juice (freshly squeezed, if possible)
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 1 drop Rose Oil (food grade), or 1 tablespoon Rose Water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8" round baking pan with parchment paper and grease the sides.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the semolina, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
- Add the eggs and buttermilk to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
- Add the melted butter lemon zest, and vanilla to the batter and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Take care not to overbake as this cake can dry out quickly.
- While the cake is baking, make the syrup.
- Place the honey, grapefruit juice, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until reduced by ⅓.
- Remove from heat and stir in the rose oil or rose water.
- When the cake is finished baking, remove from the oven and slowly pour the syrup over the top o the cake until all of the syrup soaks in. Let cool.
- Serve at room temperature with a dollop of honey-sweetened Greek yogurt.