Monday, 13 April 2015

Tasting Jerusalem #7 – Desserts and Baking

Semolina, Coconut and Marmalade Cake

Dee – May 2013’s focus on Desserts and Baking offered a wide choice of treats to make, but I was particularly drawn to the Semolina, Coconut and Marmalade cake on Page 264.
I’d had success in the past with baking semolina cakes, a previous version from a Lebanese recipe which was flavoured with aniseed and garnished with lemon peel is still a firm favourite both with me and people who taste it.  I also had some Seville Orange Marmalade which Jay made in January and which I wanted to try as an ingredient in a cake to see how it tasted.
The recipe was simple to follow and I scaled down the quantities to make a single cake without any problems. 
Although I was a little nervous about the loose consistency of the batter, I left it as it was.  I didn’t take a note of how long it took to bake but from memory I tested it at the minimum specified time of 45 minutes but even though the skewer came out clean and hot, I gave it an extra couple of minutes just to make sure.  Once I took the cake out of the oven and let it cool down enough to remove from the baking tin, I was very happy with how it looked. 
While the cake was still hot, I brushed the syrup on in several layers, the orange blossom water giving off a strong aroma as it soaked into the cake.
I let it cool down completely before serving it in slices accompanied by a spoonful of thick yoghurt, as recommended in the recipe.
The cake had a pleasingly light spongy texture, and I’d used fine semolina rather than coarse, as I didn’t want the cake to be crunchy.  The marmalade and coconut were both easily identifiable in the taste, and neither overpowered the other.  The syrup added a little moistness and a just a tiny amount of sweetness.  The yoghurt was an ideal accompaniment as it added a cold creaminess without too much sugar, which I think would have upset the overall balance of flavours.
I was very pleased with how this cake turned out and would happily make it again.  Looking at my list of featured ingredients to come, the next few will be used in savoury dishes, but I will certainly be making more desserts and sweet baked goods when an opportunity next presents itself.

“Tasting Jerusalem is a virtual cooking community exploring the vibrant flavors and cuisine of the Middle East through the lens of Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi published by Ebury Press. You can follow along and cook with us by subscribing to  following the hashtag #TastingJrslm on Twitter and Instagram, liking our Facebook Page or joining our Google+ Community and finally checking out all of our groups’ dishes on Pinterest
(Please note: I have listed the UK publisher and have linked to the UK Amazon site.  The US details are provided on the web site)

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