A heavenly tea-time recipe for Semolina Orange Cake, topped with a rosemary, honey and orange syrup
For the cake:
2 whole oranges
140g (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) butter, softened
300g (1¼) cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
90g (3/4 cup) ground almonds
150g (3/4 cup) semolina
130g (3/4 cup) all-purpose cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
400ml fresh orange juice (juice of 4 large oranges)
60ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup castor sugar
60ml (1/4 cup) honey
zest of 1 orange
2 stems rosemary
3 bay leaves
Place the 2 whole oranges in a large saucepan and fill with enough water to cover. Bring up to the boil, then drain and fill with fresh water.
Repeat this process twice more to remove the bitterness from the oranges. On the last repeat, boil for about 45 minutes until the oranges are completely soft.
Drain and set aside to cool completely. Remove the hard ends, slice and discard any pips are hard membrane. Place the flesh of 1½ oranges in a processor and blitz until smooth. (discard the remaining half)
Preheat the oven to 180º C. Grease and line a 23cm loose-bottom cake tin.
Cream the butter, castor sugar and vanilla until pale. Add the eggs one at a time beating well between each addition.
Sift all the dry ingredients together. Add the sifted flour to the creamed butter and whisk together. Lastly, add the orange puree and beat until the batter is smooth.
Transfer the batter to the baking tin, smooth over the top and bake for about 65 minutes or until cooked through.
To make the soaking syrup, place all the ingredients in a saucepan and boil on a high heat for about 12-15 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, measure the syrup out. You should aim to have about 350ml. Top up with hot water if need be. Set aside to cool.
Slowly ladle the cooled syrup over the hot cake waiting, for it to absorb before adding the next ladle.
Cool in the tin and serve at room temperature with softly whipped cream.