Spring Lemon Cake

It’s spring! This calls for lemons and shades of pink, blue and pale green. This calls for light jackets, walking around in ballet shoes, and open windows.

This recipe comes from The Guardian’s post about middle eastern desserts, but it seems like the perfect English cake to me. This is an ideal tea-time cake for the afternoon, with a cup of black tea (Russian-style, with lemon slices).┬áIt was so easy I can’t wait to make it again. Do not scrimp on the syrup. The amount may seem excessive, but the semolina will absorb everything, making this cake enviably moist. Everyone will wonder what you’ve done when really, all you’ve done is pour on more sugar.

I like taking food photos near my window (as above) looking down 13 scary stories to the bottom of Mytischi. The beautiful light makes everything seem so much happier.

Lemon Semolina Cake (adapted from Dan Lepard at The Guardian)


  • 3 lemons
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs (I was short an egg, but it caused no problems)
  • 175ml milk
  • 200g semolina
  • 75g flour
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 500ml honey syrup (recipe below)
  • chopped almonds or pistachios, to decorate the top


  • 200g white or brown sugar
  • 200ml water, 100ml lemon juice
  • 1-2tbsp honey

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a 20cm-square glass baking dish.

Finely zest the lemons (you can use the juice for the honey syrup) and place in a bowl with the oil, sugar and eggs, and beat until smooth. Stir in the milk and semolina, add the flour and baking powder, and whisk until smooth. The Guardian cautions that it may seem thin, but it really will thicken and puff up during baking.

Pour it into the dish and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. While your cake is baking, make the syrup: put all your ingredients (sugar, water, lemon juice and honey) into a pot, turn it on to boil, then turn off the heat.

When your cake comes out of the oven, let it cool slightly and then cut it into small pieces. Pour all the syrup over until it’s soaked. Scatter over the chopped nuts and enjoy!