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Mini syrup drenched lemon, olive oil and semolina cakes

Syrupy Lemon, Olive Oil & Semolina Cakes

Author Domestic Gothess



  • finely grated zest of 3 large lemons
  • 150 ml (scant 2/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil (or sunflower oil)
  • 175 g (3/4 cup + 2tbsp) caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 175 ml (2/3 cup + 1tbsp) milk
  • 200 g (1 + 1/4 cups) fine semolina
  • 75 g (1/2 cup + 2tbsp) plain flour
  • 3 level tsp baking powder


  • juice of 3 large lemons
  • 200 g (1 cup) sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 whole lemon , very thinly sliced (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease about 10 mini brioche moulds or mini loaf tins and dust with flour. Or grease a 20cm square cake tin and line with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, olive oil, caster sugar and eggs until smooth. Mix in the milk and semolina then sift together the flour and baking powder and whisk in until smooth. Divide the mixture between the tins, filling them two-thirds full.
  3. Bake for about 25 minutes for small cakes, or 50 minutes for one large one, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  4. While the cakes are baking make the syrup. Put the lemon juice in a measuring jug and add enough water to make it up to 300ml (1 + 1/4 cups). Pour the liquid into a saucepan and add the sugar and honey, heat gently until the sugar has dissolved then add the lemon slices if using and bring up to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the lemon has softened. If you aren't using the lemon then just simmer the liquid for 5 minutes then remove from the heat.
  5. When the cakes are baked, place them in their tins on a wire rack; pour a generous amount of the syrup over each cake - I used about 3tbsp per cake; they can take quite a lot. Leave in their tins until they have absorbed the syrup then carefully turn out and place on the wire rack to cool. The small cakes have a tendency to 'dome' quite a lot, so if you want then to sit flat you can trim off the dome. Decorate with the lemon slices before serving.

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/mar/02/baklava-lemon-semolina-cake-recipes