Lemon and Semolina Syrup Cakes

These cakes are super lemony and are moistened with a soaking syrup

Tart, zest and slightly crumbly … some of the adjectives to describe these delicious lemon and semolina syrup cakes. I am not unfamiliar to semolina, we use it a lot in Indian desserts. I have never before used it in a cake, however. So when I came across this lemon and semolina syrup cake, I knew it was something I had to try.

It also reminds me somewhat of my Whole Orange and Polenta cake, though the texture of this one is a lot more crumbly whereas the orange and polenta cake is more syrupy and moist.

The cake has a tart, lemony syrup soaked through it which adds some moisture. I wanted to balance out all the zinginess from the lemon with a sweeter flavour profile, and decided a simple icing sugar glaze would be great.

The original instructions, from which I adapted this recipe called for baking the cake in muffin tins lined with baking paper, but I decided to deviate from this and bake them in little brioche tins instead. The fluted design really looks very special and the crevasses look beautiful with the glaze dripping down them. If you do not have brioche tins, of course, a regular muffin tin will work fine. As you want to preserve the shape of the brioche tin, it is important to prepare your tins well to avoid the cake from sticking to the tin after baked.

This recipe was adapted from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh.


  • Will this recipe work with other citrus? In theory, swapping out lemons for oranges should work fine. Oranges do not have the same tartness as lemons though, so I think that the overall cake may be too sweet. I have not tested this cake with other citrus.
  • Is the lemon syrup essential? The cake does lack a bit of moisture, in my opinion and needs the syrup to give the cake a wonderful and moist mouthfeel.
  • What if I do not have brioche tins? The original recipe states to use regular muffin tins, lined with baking paper to prevent the cake from sticking. If you bake the cake in the muffin tins, then poke the cakes and pour the syrup over them tops only, leaving the cakes lined with the baking paper. This will make 16 mini cakes.
  • Is the lemon glaze essential? No, this is entirely optional, but I think looks really lovely. You may not need it if you are baking these in traditional muffin tins.
  • How do you make the candied lemons for the decorations? Refer to my blog post here to learn how to make the candied lemon slices.

If you make this recipe, please share it with me by tagging me on Instagram @adventureswithsugar or on Facebook at Adventures with Sugar.


  • 250g salted butter, plus extra for brushing
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 40ml lemon juice
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 140g semolina
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • flour to dust the tins


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease six, 12cm brioche moulds. Brush the moulds with melted butter, then sift flour into the moulds, coating the moulds and then tapping out the excess.
  2. Add the butter, caster sugar and lemon zest into a bowl and cream with a beater for about five minutes, until the butter and sugar is light and fluffy.
  3. Next, add in the eggs one at a time. Wait for one egg to be fully incorporated before adding in the next one.
  4. Add in the almonds, semolina, baking powder and salt and fold together.
  5. Lastly add in the lemon juice and mix until everything is combined, but not more than necessary.
  6. Place the batter in the brioche tins and bake for 25 – 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  7. Let the cakes stand in the brioche tins for 10 minutes, before flipping them out onto a wire rack, coating with syrup and and letting them cool completely.


  • 100g caster sugar
  • 120ml lemon juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks


  1. Whilst the cakes are baking, make the syrup.
  2. Place the lemon juice, caster sugar and cinnamon sticks in a pot and bring to a boil over medium to low heat.
  3. Stir to dissolve the sugar and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. When the cakes are out of their tins, flip the cakes so that the wide part of the cake is face up, and brush some of the syrup on the base. Then flip them around, poke a few holes on the top and pour the rest of the syrup over the tops and let them soak into the cake.


  • 250g icing sugar
  • 20ml lemon juice
  • 40ml water


  1. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the lemon juice a tablespoon at a time, and mix until the icing is just thin enough to drip down the sides of the cake.
  2. There is a tendency, when making the glaze, to make it thinner than you actually want it, so test the consistency on the side of the bowl. The icing should not run down too quickly when you drizzle it on the side of the bowl.
  3. If the icing is too stiff, add a bit more lemon juice, about a tablespoon at a time.

Recipe by adventureswithsugar.com

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply