Semolina Cake (or Muffins) with Lemon Syrup

Makes a small cake or 12 muffins.



  • 200g fine semolina
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
  • pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 100g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing (or use a vegan alternative)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • ¼ teaspoon apple cider vinegar OR lemon juice (optional)
  • 3 eggs (vegan alternative is 3 flax eggs, i.e. 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed/linseed plus 3 tablespoons water)
  • blanched almonds, to decorate (optional)


  • ½ cup (125 mL) water
  • ⅓ cup (70g) caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater OR aniseed essence


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (or 165°C fan-forced).
  2. If using flax "eggs", soak 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed in same amount of water for at least 15 minutes.
  3. To make the cake, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat all ingredients, except the eggs and almonds, for 2 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, increase speed to high and beat for 5 minutes.
  5. Spoon batter into a greased tin or muffin trays.
  6. Use a knife to lightly mark small serving portions on top of batter (if using a cake or brownie tin), then top each portion or muffin with an almond, if you like.
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.
  8. When cake is nearly cooked, make the syrup. Place water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes, then stir in lemon juice, with either rosewater or aniseed essence.
  9. When cake or muffins have been baked, pour a little hot syrup over hot cake, allowing it to absorb. Continue with all of syrup, allowing it to absorb after each addition.

Cake based on: Kalo prama at SBS Food

Syrup based on: Basbousa at SBS Food