Greetings from America! Washington, D.C. to be specific. I’m back in town visiting family and friends, and it feels fantastic. As you’ve noticed, this dear blog has been a bit quiet as I’ve caught up with loved ones and generally endured the long trip from Australia. Rest assured, however, that since landing I have been busily studying (stalking?) my mom, dad and granddad’s special recipes to share with you. It’s been fun, and they’ve been very patient as I’ve shoved my lens into their various pots and pans. Tomorrow I’m headed on a girls trip to NYC and we will, predictably, eat our way through town. Be sure to keep up with me on Instagram for all the updates.
I flew solo this time, as the Australian Man is back in Melbourne attending to a new business he’s just bought (go him!). He’s a whiz in the kitchen, but given his new-business-owner crazy schedule, I figured it would be nice to stock the fridge and freezer with food and treats to save him time while I was gone. This coconut, marmalade and semolina cake, from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem was among them.
You could make this recipe it exactly as it appears in Jerusalem and be an exceedingly happy customer. I made only a few small changes, namely in how I served it. As written, the cake is meant to be soaked in syrup. I only used half of the syrup right out of the oven, then mixed the rest with plain yogurt. I topped each slice with a bit of the sweet yogurt and extra desiccated coconut, which resulted in a slightly drier cake with a tart-sweet topping. By all means, use all the syrup, but I quite liked this small variation.
This cake is sturdy enough to hold up in the freezer, if you prefer to make it in advance, or perhaps eat half and save the rest for a rainy day. Wrap it well in cling wrap, making sure it’s airtight. Then place it in a freezer bag for extra protection and label it with the date it was made. Defrost it in the freezer overnight, or place on the counter for a few hours until you’re ready to serve it.
- 80ml light olive oil
- 250ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 160g orange marmalade
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- Zest of 1 orange
- 70g raw sugar
- 70g dessicated coconut
- 90g plain (all purpose) flour
- 180g semolina (fine or coarse, depending on your desired texture)
- 2 tbsp ground almonds
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 200g sugar
- 140ml water
- 1 tsp orange blossom water (or a drop more, for a stronger flavor)
- Plain yogurt
- Reserved syrup (above)
- Desiccated coconut
- Preheat oven to 180C / 350F.
- In a large bowl, whisk the oil, orange juice, marmalade, eggs and orange rind until the marmalade is smooth and well incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, coconut, flour, semolina, almonds and baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined into a runny batter.
- Grease a standard loaf tin and line with baking paper. Pour the batter into the tin, and bake for 45 minutes or until golden and springy to the touch.
- Just before the cake is done, bring the sugar, water and orange blossom water to the boil in a small saucepan. Let boil 1 minute, then remove from the heat.
- Remove the cake from the oven and immediately brush it with half of the syrup, letting the syrup soak into the holes.
- Mix a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt with syrup, to sweeten. Pour onto each slice of cake and sprinkle with extra coconut.
Adapted very slightly from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Jerusalem.