So I woke this morning with a throat pain and not feeling that great. I needed something, didn’t know what exactly but knew it had to be sweet to make me feel a bit better. I thought of different spices and scents. The Middle East came to mind and I suddenly remembered a cake I had tasted a few years ago when I went to Lebanon. It is funny how your memory works. Things are often stored for a long time in some remote storage unit in your brain, almost forgotten and suddenly there it is again! Tripoli, the charming house of a Christian Lebanese lady where we stayed for a few days, the wonderful breakfasts in the garden and …Sfouf! I remember the spices and the almond taste and being pleasantly surprised as it was not as sweet as the usual arab sweets and desserts. And here is the garden, such nice memories…
Going through my library, there is was! The Sfouf cake! This wonderful lebanese cake is made with semolina flour and flavored with turmeric and anise seeds. The fragrant turmeric is the “culprit” for its yellow, warm colour. As topping you can choose almonds, pine nuts or sesame seeds. To try make it more interesting, I used pine nuts instead of almonds. I loved everything, the moistness, the fragrant spices, the nutty flavour…
Sfouf cake with turmeric & anise
Adapted from a recipe by Ramzi Choueiry
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 cups finely ground semolina flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1tbsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp anise seeds
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 cups milk (I used low fat lactose free milk)
- 2 tbsp tahini or butter to line the baking pan
- 2/5 cup pine nuts
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC. Line a 12 in/30cm round baking pan with the 2 tbsp of tahini or use butter instead.
- In a big bowl add the all purpose flour, semolina flour, baking powder, turmeric, anise seeds and mix well.
- Cut the butter into small pieces and spread it over. With your fingers combine well until you get a crumbly consistency.
- In a small bowl dissolve the sugar in the milk and pour it on the dry ingredients. Mix it until you have a creamy, smooth batter.
- Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for about 30 minutes. It will be ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool down. Cut into squares and serve. The cake will be moist and fluffy. Enjoy!
I thought about what could be a nice pairing for this weekend breakfast, decided to prepare Ayran, a very popular yogurt drink in Turkey. It is refreshing, light and so easy to make. Loved it with the Sfouf cake .
Adapted from a recipe by Ozcan Ozan
- 250 g/8.8 oz plain yogurt
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 1 1/2 cups cold water
- salt to taste (I used 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt)
In an electrical blender, pour all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Make it frothy.