PERFECT SEMOLINA SPONGE CAKE
This recipe makes a light and fluffy cake with a slight crunch of semolina. It’s the perfect base for any layered cream cake or it can be served on its own with whipped cream and fruit. Caution, neighbours will drop by if they smell it!
6 eggs, separated at room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar (90 ml)
1/4 cup + 2Tbsp fine semolina (90 ml)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (2.5 ml)
1/2 tsp. ground anise (2.5 ml)
1/4 cup all purpose flour (50 ml)
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil (50 ml)
1/4 cup Greek honey (50 ml)
1/4 cup water (50 ml)
1 tbsp. Metaxa brandy, optional
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves, for syrup
2 Tbsp. lemon juice (25 ml)
1/3 cup ground pistachios for garnish (80 ml)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Butter and flour a 13 x 9-inch rectangular pan.
In a large stainless steel bowl, whip egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar on high until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla and anise.
In another clean, dry bowl with whip attachment, beat egg whites until soft peaks hold, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Fold whites and yolks together gently. Then fold in semolina and flour quickly but gently. Lastly fold in olive oil until well blended. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake until tester comes out dry from middle of cake and centre is golden, about 25 to 35 minutes. Remove cake from oven and cool in pan for at least 30 minutes, or until knife will cut through without sticking before cutting and adding syrup.
Make syrup while cake is baking. Combine honey, water, cinnamon stick, 4 cloves and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low heat and simmer just to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool while cake is cooking.
Cut cake 12 squares or diamond pieces while still in pan. Pour cooled syrup onto warm cake. Sprinkle with ground pistachios and let stand for at least 15 minutes before removing slices from pan. Use cake lifter to remove pieces of cake from pan.
Serve with whipped cream, toasted pistachios and orange slices