A few days ago, I felt the need to bake something sweet. Not too sweet. But sweet nonetheless. I didn’t want cookies, brownies, muffins… All that was left was cake. But not any type of cake. I wanted one in whose simplicity I could find beauty. And so it happened that I came across Nita Mehta’s book Lebanese Cooking.
First, let me say that I really like this book. It has a bunch of awesome looking recipes (yes, plenty of pictures are included) and many of them are really easy and quick to make. Such as the “Spinach& Chickpeas” recipe which I also tried and which is not only fabulous, but also ridiculously simple to make. Of course, that’s for another post. Let’s go back to the cake.
I looked at the desserts in the book and was surprised by the Lebanese Cake recipe. It looked beautiful and didn’t seem sugarish. Further, according to the instructions, it wouldn’t take any efforts to make. “Just what I was looking for,” I thought.
And indeed. It was just what I had craved. This low-maintenance cake baked to perfection, staying moist, and, thanks to the semolina flour, had a taste slightly similar to cornbread, but with a more cake-like texture. Very light and satisfying.
Oh, and if you want to have it really divine – just grab a warm slice with raspberry jam. Believe me, it is absolutely delicious this way.
(adapted from Nita Mehta’s Lebanese Cooking)
(for an 8.5-inch cake pan or 8 generous servings)
2 cups semolina flour
2/3 all-purpose flour + a bit more for the baking dish
2/3 tsp turmeric
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/3 milk
2/3 cup oil + some for greasing
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ -2 tbsp pinenuts
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease your pan. Spread the extra bit of flour all over. This will prevent sticking.
2. In one bowl mix the flours (semolina and all-purpose) with turmeric and the baking powder.
3. In another bowl, stir the sugar and milk until the former is completely dissolved.
4. Add the oil and the contents of the first bowl to the sugar and milk. Combine well – the easier way is with a mixer.
5. Pour the batter into the cake pan and sprinkle the pinenuts on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes. (Test with a wooden toothpick to check if the cake is ready: if it comes out clean, it is.)
6. Let it cool for 5 minutes and sprinkle with powdered sugar.