Special Guest Post: Gold Rush – Semolina Yoghurt Cake with Caramelised Yoghurt Cream

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TRB is all about trying new things. New recipes, new types of cuisine and, of course, new desserts! In this post, she turns to one of her “foodie” friends, Adam Cohn, for some good advice on the sweet power of Semolina. Soon after receiving the recipe, TRB actually made this cake and it is every bit as good as Adam describes. Perhaps, this should fall under the “tried and true” — as in “truly good” — category. Enjoy!

Gold Rush: Semolina Yoghurt Cake with Caramelised Yoghurt Cream

A Special Guest Post from Adam Cohn

I’m going to start a campaign for the “Dog Days of Summer,” the scorching weeks from mid-July to mid-August, to be renamed the “Golden Days of Summer.”

And, why not? The Dog Golden Days call to mind the beginnings of bursting ears of yellow corn, buckets of glistening gold Coronas, and stretches of golden, sandy beaches. The buildings in New York City even seem to emit a soft, golden glow at sunset that just isn’t the same at other times of the year. 

These days also stir up my Italian roots. I have longings for golden polenta: cooked, cooled, cut into triangles and thrown on the grill. Serve them up with a garlic-gorgonzola dipping sauce and it becomes a life-altering experience. We’re not here to talk about that, though. We’re here to discuss dessert. 

Specifically, our focus is on Italian Semolina. Versatile in every way, semolina is the golden, coarse, purified wheat middlings of durum wheat. It’s the grain that has launched a thousand savory dishes and sits at the core of every carboholic’s fantasy: cereals, pastas, couscous, breads…and the list goes on and on. 

At least once twice every summer, I dare to turn on the oven in my 4th floor, cramped New York City sauna apartment to make a dessert called Semolina and Yoghurt Cake with Caramelised Yoghurt Cream. Originally hailing from Australian cookbook, Café café by Kirsten McKay, this recipe produces a gorgeous, golden disk of crumby, lemon-flecked, orange-scented semolina cake, drenched and held together by a sticky, glistening, lemon-flavored simple syrup. Each bite clings to your fork, lips, fingers… (You will be eating it with your fingers. It’s that good). As if that’s not convincing enough, top it with a dollop of the whipped yogurt and “melted” brown sugar, and you’ll be running to crank up your oven for this recipe, again and again. 

So, go ahead. Fall victim to the summer gold rush. Trust me, you’ll never look back.

Semolina and Yoghurt Cake with Caramelized Yoghurt Cream
(From Café café by Kirsten McKay and adapted with U.S. measurements)

1 cup fine semolina
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup yoghurt (apricot is recommended, but peach also works)
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. orange flower water (optional)
grated zest of 1 lemon

2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Caramelised Yoghurt Cream:
1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream
1/2 cup thick, Greek-style yoghurt
Brown sugar, to cover

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Beat the butter, granulated sugar, orange flower water and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well. 

3. Sift together the semolina, baking powder and baking soda thoroughly. Fold into the butter mixture alternately with the yoghurt. 

4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake is cooked when tested with a toothpick. 

5. Meanwhile, to prepare the syrup, dissolve the sugar in the water over medium heat. Add the lemon juice and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes, then cool by placing the pan in cold water. 

6. When the cake is cooled, spoon the cooled syrup over the hot cake. 

7. Prepare the caramelised yoghurt cream: Whip the cream until it is stiff and holds firm peaks. Gently fold in the yoghurt. Spoon the mixture into a dish (or dishes) and cover with a thick layer of brown sugar. Set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours – the longer, the better. 

(Photos courtesy of Adam Cohn)

Did you try this recipe? Post a comment below.

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