Rosewater and Orange Blossom Semolina Cake
This is the most fragrant and moist cake. Its exotic flower waters form syrup that is poured over this cake while it is still warm.
1½ cups water
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons rosewater (not rose oil)
1 tablespoon orange blossom water (not orange oil)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cardamom pod
1½ cups semolina flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup coconut oil
¼ cup coconut, grated and unsweetened
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sesame tahini paste, to coat the baking dish
20 blanched almonds
Prepare the syrup in a medium saucepan on medium by heating the sugar, water, rosewater, orange blossom water, lemon juice, and cardamom pod. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, discard the cardamom pod, and cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl mix together the semolina flour, baking powder, sugar, yogurt, melted butter, oil, and shredded coconut. Add 3 tablespoons of the prepared syrup. Mix and let sit for 30 minutes. Blanch the almonds by boiling 2 cups of water and adding the almonds. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes until the peels start to separate. Immediately rinse in cold water and remove the peels under running water.
Use sesame tahini to coat a 9” x 13” baking dish. Pour in the batter and press the semolina cake mixture into the pan. Score the top of the mixture to make 20 sections. Place one blanched almond in the center of each square. Bake the semolina cake at 350ºF. (180ºC.) for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven. While the cake is still warm, poke a toothpick all around the top of the cake and very gently pour the warm syrup over it. Allow the cake to sit for at least 2 hours to make sure the cake absorbs as much of the syrup as possible before serving.
Butter, lemon juice, and yogurt are of water. Coconut meat is earth of water and coconut oil is fire of water. The semolina flour and the baking powder are air of earth. The sesame tahini is of fire, the sugar and almonds are of air, the rosewater and cardamom are water of air, and the orange flower water is water of fire.