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I have tasted several versions of Semolina cakes when I lived and traveled in the Middle East. I always wanted to find a nice recipe to emulate the nice memories I have of those wonderful times. This Semolina Marmalade Cake made me think about the friends I left behind and the nice moments we spent together. You learn a lot about the Middle East and its culture by going to people’s houses and experience their environment. I learned to see beyond misconceptions and cliches that many times do not correspond to reality.

This recipe was adapted from Chef Ottolengui. I highly recommend his books, the last one “Jerusalem” is a gem. He always explains a bit of  the background of each dish which is also nice.

I didn’t have superfine sugar so I used demerara and made it superfine by pulsing for about 10 seconds on my food processor. I also didn’t have the required 21 x 11 cm/8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches loaf pans. So I used my 28 cm x 13 cm/11 x 5 in loaf pans. My loafs were longer and lower than the intended original loafs. You can choose what is best for you. I was very happy with my loafs.

Semolina Marmalade Cake

  • 180 ml/3/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 240 ml/1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 160g/1/2 cup orange marmalade (fine-cut or without peel)
  • 4 large eggs
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 70 g/1/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 70 g/3/4 cup shredded dried coconut
  • 90 g/3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 180 g/1 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp semolina
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Natural Greek yogurt, flavored with 1 or 2 drops of orange blossom water (to serve)
  • 2 loaf pans 21 cm x 11 cm/8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches or 28 cm x 13 cm/ 11 x 5 inches like mine.


Soaking syrup:

  • 200 g/1 cup superfine sugar
  • 140 ml/1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Grease the two loaf pans with butter and line with parchment paper. Wet batter : In a mixer beat together the oil, orange juice, orange marmalade, eggs and orange zest until the marmalade is dissolved.
  2. Dry ingredients: In a separate bowl mix together the sugar, dried coconut, all purpose flour, semolina, ground almonds and baking powder. Add to the wet batter and mix until well combined. The final batter should be runny.
  3. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans and bake for 45 to 60 minutes. You’ll know it is ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and when the top gets an orange brown colour. It took me over an hour due to the altitude.
  4. Just before the cakes are ready, prepare the syrup. Add the sugar, water and orange blossom water to a pan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, start brushing them with the help of a pastry brush. Allow the syrup to soak in for a minute or two between brushings. Soak them thoroughly and equally until all the syrup is used. When they cool down a bit remove them from the pan and leave them to cool down completely.
  5. Serve with the Greek yogurt mixed with a few drops of orange blossoms water.

The cakes were soft and moist, with a nice orange flavour and a hint of coconut and almonds. Perfect for tea or an original dessert on game night. In my case it was served while playing rummy 🙂

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Welcome! Through my photography and my travels, you will discover the people I have encountered and the places that will stay with me forever. In this crazy new reality we seem to be living, it is even more important to be grateful for all the people who have crossed our path and touched us in same way. As for all the old and new stones, they can live in our imaginary for now, waiting, when the time is right again ...

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