A traditional semolina cake infused with the aromatic flavors of mastic and lemon. The rose flavored syrup perfumes this cake and the fact that it can be made a couple of days ahead of time makes this dessert perfect for entertaining.
For the Wet Ingredients:
- 2 cups Greek yogurt
- 1 cup of water
- ¾ cup oil
- 1 and ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Dry Ingredients:
- 2 and ½ cups coarse semolina flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Zest of 1 lemon 1/2 teaspoon ground mastic gum
- 8-16 blanched almonds or ground pistachios
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted for greasing pan
For the Syrup:
- 2 and ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups of water
- Juice of half of a lemon
- 2 teaspoons rose water (substitute vanilla extract or orange blossom water)
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180 °C.
- Prepare the Cake Batter:
- Grease a 10-inch round baking pan (or a 9 by 13-inch pan) with melted butter.
- Combine all of the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together and add them to the wet ingredients. Whisk together until incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, cover with a kitchen towel and set aside for 1 hour so that the semolina grains soften and absorb the liquid.
- Make the Syrup by combining the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Stir together and bring to a boil and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the rose water. Set aside to cool.
- Scour the cake into pieces and place a blanched almond in the center of each piece.
- Bake in the center rack of the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and cut the slices all the way through.
- Pour all of the syrup over the cake and set aside at room temperature to allow the cake to absorb it. Wrap the cake pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours.
- This step will ensure that the syrup is properly dispersed throughout the cake.
- Transfer the cake slices to a serving plate and serve with some ice cream or whipped cream. Lightly sweetened mascarpone cream will also go great with this dessert. Warm up a cup of tea and Enjoy!