Soft, luscious and bursting with orange flavour, this Greek Orange Semolina Cake is an absolute treat. Finish it with Greek yoghurt and a delicious orange syrup for a luxurious tea time cake.

Closeup of a slice of Greek Orange Semolina Cake with more slices surrounding it

I just adore this Greek Orange Semolina Cake, with its sunny citrus flavour (please tell me I’m not the only person who describes citrus as ‘sunny’) and luxuriously soft and moist texture, this cake is a must try.

I’ve made this semolina cake a number of times now and it turns out beautifully every time. The orange flavour, from orange juice, zest and a sweet orange syrup is undeniable and absolutely addictive.

If you prefer cakes on the lighter-texture side, you’ll love this one, alongwith my Fluffy Vanilla Cake and Lemon Vanilla Butter Cake

Top down view of a slice of semolina cake laying on it's side

What is semolina flour and what is semolina made from?

Semolina flour is a flour ground from durum wheat, as opposed to the ‘soft’ wheat used to make regular milled flours like plain and all-purpose.

Semolina flour can be ‘course’ or ‘fine’ – you will need fine semolina for this recipe.

Is semolina flour gluten free?

No. Semolina flour is still made from a type of wheat and contains gluten.

Why use semolina flour in a cake?

Semolina flour is more course than regular white milled wheat flours, and in this Greek Orange Semolina Cake it results in a chewier texture and also gives a slight nutty flavour.

Is there a substitute for semolina flour in baking?

You can swap the semolina flour for standard plain or all-purpose flour in most cases but it will alter the texture and flavour slightly.

Top down view of a cake covered with yoghurt on a round rack.

How to make semolina cake

I use a stand mixer but you could do it with a handheld beater or by hand if you have the upper arm strength I don’t for creaming butter and sugar.

  1. Start by creaming together butter and sugar until lightened and fluffy.
  2. Next, add the eggs one at a time and beating well after each one. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly too.
  3. In one bowl mix the dry ingredients and in the other mix the orange juice, zest and vanilla. Now add these to the mixture in 5 additions, alternating between each – dry, wet, dry, wet, dry.

Don’t be worried if the batter looks split at any point – that’s perfectly fine and will not affect the final cake. There are a few things at play here being eggs and sugar reacting and then the acid and oils in the juice and zest.

  1. Spread the thick batter out into a prepared 8 inch spring form tin and bake for 40-45 minutes.

For the orange syrup

  1. This sweet orange syrup is a simple case of adding orange juice and sugar to a saucepan. Let the sugar dissolve over low heat
  2. Then, let it come to a simmer for a minute or two until it reduces by half.

Substitutions

  • Orange: Swap out the orange for lemon instead or a combination of both for a delicious citrus cake
  • Plain flour: You can swap out the semolina flour for plain flour, however it will have a slightly different flavour and texture.
  • You could also swap the plain flour for almond meal (flour) to give it an almond flavour and denser texture.
  • Orange syrup: swap the orange syrup for a little honey instead.
  • Lemon Semolina Cake: with thanks to reader Dianne for her feedback, this cake can also be turned into a Lemon Semolina Cake by simply substituting the orange for lemon. For that matter, try any citrus and it will work out lovely.

Tips for best results

  • Make sure to let the syrup cool before adding it to the cake or it may just make it soggy (but even the soggy bits taste glorious)
  • If the syrup is too thick (this may happen if you cooked it a little too long) no problem. Just add a little water and mix it through. You may need to do this over heat to incorporate it properly.
  • Use a fork to poke holes in the cake – this will allow the syrup to seep down here and there all over the cake.
  • If the cake has a little dip in the middle, make sure not to let the syrup pool there for too long. Use a pastry brush or even just a spoon to spread it over the whole top of the cake.
  • Don’t swap the yoghurt for buttercream – you may be tempted if you aren’t a fan of yoghurt but you’d be better off serving it without. The yoghurt adds a gorgeous tanginess that balances the sweetness of the cake and syrup.

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Pouring orange syrup over a slice of cake on a white plate

Pinky promise, you will love this Greek Orange Semolina Cake recipe. It’s easy to make and with just yoghurt for topping it’s also fairly quick in cake land

This cake is perfect for both afternoon tea and dessert. It’s rich and luscious, a slight soft denseness if that’s a thing. Hard to describe but supremely easy to eat, you need to try this asap.

Other recipes you might like

Mini Flourless Ginger Orange Cake
Flourless lemon cake
Baklava Frangipane Tart
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Orange Syrup

 

Closeup of a slice of Greek Orange Semolina Cake with more slices surrounding it

Greek Orange Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup

4.72 from 14 votes
Soft, luscious and bursting with orange flavour, this Greek Orange Semolina Cake is an absolute treat. Finish it with Greek yoghurt and a delicious orange syrup for a luxurious tea time cake.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 160 g fine semolina flour (1 cup / 5.6oz)
  • 130 g plain (all-purp) flour (1 cup / 4.5oz)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100 ml orange juice
  • Zest 2 medium oranges, finely grated
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 226 g unsalted butter, softened (2 stick / 1 cup)
  • 250 g white granulated sugar (1 1/4 cups / 8.8oz)
  • 3 large eggs, room temp

For the syrup

  • 100 ml orange juice
  • 100 g white granulated sugar (1/2 cup / 3.5oz)

For the topping

  • 3/4 cup natural Greek yoghurt
  • Handful of crushed pistachios

Equipment

Instructions
 

FOR THE ORANGE SEMOLINA CAKE

  • Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease and line an 8 inch spring form tin with baking paper.
  • Place the semolina flour, plain flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Combine the orange juice, zest and vanilla and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as required.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each to combine and scrape down the bowl after each addition.
  • On the lowest speed or with a spatula, gently fold in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 the juice mixture and repeat until all added and only just combined.
  • Tip the thick batter into your prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out with just a couple of crumbs. After about 5 minutes remove from the tin and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

FOR THE ORANGE SYRUP

  • Pour the orange juice and sugar into small saucepan over low heat and mix gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a low simmer until reduced by half.

TO FINISH

  • Once the cake and syrup have cooled, prick the top of the cake with fork here and there. Pour over about half of the syrup (reserve the rest for serving). If the syrup pools in the centre use a pastry brush or spoon to spread it out.
  • Spread the yoghurt over the top and sprinkle over the pistachios. Serve with remaining syrup.

Notes

  1. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  2. If the batter looks split at any point, don't worry - it will bake up fine.

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Close up of a slice of cake topped with yoghurt and pistachios

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