September 12, 2010

Positive thoughts and Italian semolina cake

Thank you everybody to bear with me this week. It has been a hard week, full of ugly emails and phone calls, visits to the lawyer and uncertainty and I feel I threw all this on you guys. But I’ve had enough with stress and bad thought for this week! Today I just want positive thoughts and something sweet and delicious to share with Wally and with all you!

I went through one of the fundamental books of the Italian cuisine: Pellegrino Artusi’s "La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene" and after a couple of pages in the dessert section I already knew what I wanted: Semolina Cake. I love semolina in every form: as cous cous, as flour to make gnocchi alla romana and in desserts.

Anything with semolina says “childhood” and “kids” to me…what can be more sweet and comforting than that. So here it is, my favorite semolina cake with all my love.

Semolina cake

1 liter (33 fl oz or 4.2 cups) whole milk
130 g (4.6 oz) fine semolina
130 g (4.7 oz or 2/3 cup) sugar
100 g (3.5 oz) blanched almonds (whole)
20 g (1 and ½ tbsp) unsalted butter
4 eggs
grated zest of 1 lemon
5 ml (1 tsp) pure almond extract (I actually used vanilla extract)
1 pinch of salt
Confectioners’ sugar to sprinkle on top

Grind the almonds together with the sugar until very fine and set aside.

Bring the milk to a boil with a pinch of salt and the lemon zest, then slowly add the semolina, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Cook the semolina for about 8 minutes, on low heat, stirring constantly.

Add the almond-sugar mixture and cook for 1 more minute. Finally, add the butter and stir until well mixed. Take off the heat, mix in the almond extract and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350° F and lightly grease a 10” springform pan.

When the semolina mixture is lukewarm add the eggs, previously beaten. Mix well until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Distribute the semolina mixture in the pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden on top.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack. When cold unmold the cake and cut it into slices or squares.

Optional: sift confectioners’ sugar on top only when ready to serve, or it will make the cake soggy.

Refrigerate any remaining portions.

Have a sweet day!

Source: Pellegrino Artusi “La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene” 1891–Italy


  1. Happy positive thoughts day :) This cake would most certainly make me happy...

  2. Sara...this cake looks really good...was going to bake until I figured out that I only have semolina but of the grana duro type..:( not the fine one. I bought it a couple of days ago to make (basbousa) it is an egyptian cake made with semolina.
    anyway...will try it soon.:))

  3. Beautiful, delicious sounding cake! Sometimes venting along with good food is helpful for a healthy soul :o)

  4. I love semolina cakes, this looks so heavenly!

  5. ...che buona.....una delizia......

  6. Hope things are getting better, that sounds rough! But your cake is delightful, I've never had semonlina in cake. You know I will have gained 20 lbs. by the time I'm done trying all your yummy recipes!

  7. Wow! This cake looks so delicious! I hope things continue to improve for you as you work your way through all this. Yummy desserts definitely help along the way. :D

  8. It is a lovely and comforting cake. I am new to your blog and just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed my visit. I love the food and recipes you feature here. I'll be back often. I'm sorry for your troubles. I hope they are short lived. Blessings...Maryyha

  9. This cake looks scrumptious! I certainly believe in the power of positive thoughts, and I hope your worries end soon. Thank you for sharing such a delightful recipe!

  10. Hope this week gets easier for you!

  11. Oh Sara, this does look like comfort food. Amazing how many people have used those two words in posts this week. Is it a full moon? Still keeping the housing situation in my thoughts and prayers.

    FYI, even when you write Italian it sounds so romantic and beautiful. I loved Italy.

  12. Absolute perfection! Hope this week is better!

  13. @Magic of Spice: happy positive thoughts day to you too :)
    @Nesrine: I actually made this cake with grano duro type once and it came out great too! you should try and let me know how it comes out!
    @Susi@Maria@Stefy: thanks! it was indeed really good!
    @Gina: my secret is to make all these goodies and give some of them away ....I do gain weight but not 20lb :)
    @Koci:I really think this week things will get better :)
    @Mary:I feel so honored you stopped by. I am huge fan of your blog! You give me lots of inspiration!
    @bistrogerard@Jennifurla: I sure believe in the power of positive thoughts...even more after I made this cake...things are already better :)
    @Christiane: thanks for your great thoughts! it is true that many people are using these two words these days...maybe it's the change of season, or maybe just that we are human and we love fancy and delicious recipes but at the end of the day when something happens we go back to the most simple dishes....oh and you should see how cute it sounds when I say "Italian" with my Italian accent jk!

  14. This looks amazing! I can't imagine negative thoughts creeping in when you're faced with a slice of this cake :) Hope this week brings better things to you!

  15. That looks so good I have to put this on my list of things to bake over the next weekend. Sorry about your house troubles, hope it all settles down soon and you can move in.

  16. that cake is completely beautiful. wow.

  17. Positive thoughts are important. Thanks for the reminder. Once of those that I needed that. Cake looks divine!!!!

  18. Beautiful cake- comfort food at its finest. How can you not think positive thoughts with a fork full of this? Hope there are sunnier times ahead for you!

  19. This looks delicious.. nothing like a good piece of comforting cake after a long and stressful week! Sorry you've had a bad week.. hope the rest is splendid!

  20. I haven't made anything with semolina, yet. It looks so good, almost custard like!

    Sara: I'm sending positive thoughts and vibes your way. I hope you're feeling better and that the rest of your week is looking up!

  21. Thanks you guys for all your positive thoughts! They do help a lot!

  22. I love this cake... will definitely try it soon :)


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