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Recipe: Semolina Orange Cake

This cake is moist, moreish and perfect as a dessert or a tea time snack. Or, you can just have it for breakfast if you don't have anything else edible in your fridge and pantry (it happens). Have your cake and eat it too.

The addition of orange and lemon makes it equally suitable for the Christmas season as it does for summer. And it's also pretty easy to make. In fact, you can juggle this recipe at the same time as making dinner.

Oh, and it's egg and dairy free! If you're trying to avoid refined sugars just substitute with coconut or date sugar (although the cake won't be as sweet), maple syrup or honey if that's your buzz.



  • 1 cup fine semolina

  • 1 cup almond meal (or use regular white flour if you prefer)

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 150 g fine brown sugar

  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil

  • 125 g (½ cup) coconut cream or coconut yoghurt

  • 185 ml (¾ cup) unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy alternative)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp orange blossom water/ orange essence

  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon (or just 2 oranges)

  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder

  • ¼ tsp baking soda


  • Juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon

  • 60 g (⅓ cup) fine brown sugar

  • a splash (or two) of whisky (optional)



  1. Add the dry ingredients—semolina, almond flour, salt and sugar— into a bowl and whisk to combine all the ingredients.

  2. Next add all the liquids— milk, oil, coconut cream, vanilla, orange essence—and zest. Whisk until all blended and there are no lumps. Let ingredients sit for half an hour to soak—this makes the semolina less gritty.

  3. Preheat oven to 180˚C. Grease a 20cm round cake tin and line with baking paper on the bottom and the sides of the tin.

  4. After batter has soaked add the baking powder and baking soda, and whisk until everything is blended.

  5. Pour batter into the tin. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cake is firm. Insert a skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean, you're done. Let cake cool for a bit on a rack.

  6. To make the syrup, mix the brown sugar and the orange juice into a saucepan. You can throw in some thin slices of orange for decoration if you fancy. Place on low heat until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has a thicker syrupy consistency. Add the whisky to the syrup and mix in for a few seconds before turning off the heat.

  7. Remove the cake from the tin (gently flip it upside down if you don't have a loose bottomed tin, and turn it back the right way up). Place it on a dish or cooling rack (with some baking paper underneath to catch the excess syrup).

  8. Drizzle the syrup evenly over the cake. I like to use a cake brush to make sure it gets everywhere. Then decorate with orange slices and let it cool.

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