Coconut Semolina Cake

Coconut Semolina Cake

It’s time for the third and final installment of the mid-east feast! I would normally be most excited about the dessert stage of this event, but since I don’t really like coconut, I was a little nervous about this recipe. I almost left the coconut out, but decided that wouldn’t be very authentic. Plus, Mike likes coconut, so I figured at least he would eat the cake if I didn’t like it.

Compared to the last recipe, this cake was pretty simple to make. I did have to buy a few random ingredients, and ended up leaving out the rose or orange blossom water because I didn’t know what it was. Turns out it didn’t matter because the end result was good! The cake is very dense and has a unique texture, and even the coconut flakes weren’t too bad. This was a lot of fun to try for something completely different than cake I am used to, and I’d love to make it again for company. Somehow its uniqueness makes it seem “fancy”. 🙂 Let me know if you try this one – I’d love to hear what you think!

Coconut Semolina Cake

Coconut Semolina Cake

Yield: Serves 10 to 12


2 batches Scented Sugar Syrup (recipe below)
1 tablespoon tahini, to grease the baking pan
2 cups (305 g) fine semolina flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup (115 g) sugar
1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) milk
1 cup (75 g) desiccated, unsweetened coconut (*I could only find sweetened)
3 tablespoons blanched almonds

Scented Sugar Syrup (*Don't forget to double this recipe)
1 cup (225 g) sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon rose water or orange blossom water


Prepare the Scented Sugar Syrup. Add the sugar, water and lemon juice to a medium, thick-bottomed saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat, giving the pan an occasional swirl and skimming off any foam on the surface. Turn heat down slightly and boil 2 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally. Turn off heat and stir in the rose water or orange blossom water; cool to room temperature.

For the cake: Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush the tahini on the inside of a 10-inch (25 cm) round baking pan.

Whisk together the semolina, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the butter and then the milk until combined, and then fold in the coconut. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread it out evenly; let it sit for 10 minutes.

Score the batter into 1-inch (2.5 cm) square or diamond shapes with a sharp knife, periodically dipping the knife in hot water and drying it off before continuing to score the batter; place 1 almond in the center of each diamond. (*I just sprinkled some almonds over the whole thing to keep it simple)

Bake until the sides and top are golden brown, about 30 minutes. (If the sides are brown but the top isn’t, you can broil the cake for a couple minutes to brown the top.) Once out of the oven, cut the cake along the lines you scored. Slowly pour the cooled syrup onto the hot cake. Let the cake sit at room temperature 2 hours to absorb the syrup before serving.

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