It must be the middle of September because I want to cook. I want to use the oven again now that it’s cool enough. Last night I made ‘real’ dinner. Chicken breasts with dijon sauce, rice, green beans, and – for desert – Semolina cake.
Have you ever had semolina cake? Apparently in France you can buy mixes to make it but I had never had it until I made it about 18 months ago – inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook Around My French Table. I love that cookbook!
I wish I could claim credit for the picture but it’s from Martha Stewart – as is the recipe.
The cake isn’t really cakey, it’s more like a flan or baked custard. It’s delicious and easy to make. The recipe calls for raisins but you could use any dried fruit that you like. You could also use fresh fruit – maybe poach it first. The picture shows it served with Creme Anglaise but I serve it plain. I read a review of the recipe that said the cake is even better the next day. I have no idea if that’s true; there have never been any leftovers so I haven’t been able to test it.
Caramel – Topped Semolina Cake
Yield Serves 8
For the Cake
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup farina or Cream of Wheat
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plump, moist golden raisins or other dried fruits cut into small pieces
For the Caramel
Scant 1/2 cup sugar
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack set in the center.
Make the cake:
Place milk and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; immediately reduce heat and stir in farina. Cook according to package directions, stirring and adjusting heat as necessary, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla; let stand until cooled slightly, about 15 minutes.
Make the caramel:
Place an 8-inch round cake pan in oven to preheat. Place sugar, 1/4 cup water, and lemon juice in a small skillet or saucepan over high heat. Stir until sugar is moist and bring to a boil. As sugar begins to caramelize, carefully swirl pan to heat sugar evenly. Cook until sugar begins to turn dark amber in color, about 5 minutes. Remove cake pan from oven and pour caramel into pan, tilting pan to evenly coat; set aside.
Stir eggs and raisins into farina mixture and pour into prepared cake pan. Transfer to oven and bake until firm, puffed up, and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes.
Invert a rimmed serving plate over cake pan and, working carefully (caramel will be very hot), turn pan over onto plate and lift it off; caramel will run down the sides of the cake. Let cake cool to room temperature before serving.