Recipe of the week: Syrian turmeric cake
Turmeric cake, or sfouf, may sound unusual – and it is – but this exotic flour-free cake will be the talk of any dinner party, say Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi, The spicy aromatic flavours combined with the almonds make a delicious moist cake that lasts for a good few days. If you want a gluten-free option, simply replace the semolina with fine polenta. This cake is our version of Itab’s mum’s turmeric pancakes, and it’s an easy but impressive option if you are cooking for a large number of people
250g ground almonds 175g fine semolina 1½ tsp baking powder 2 tsp turmeric 1 tsp aniseed, crushed 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp nigella seeds 300g butter, at room temperature 200g sugar 3 eggs, at room temperature icing sugar, to garnish handful of broken pistachios, to garnish For the sugar syrup: 80g sugar juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a round 23cm springform tin with baking paper.
Mix the ground almonds, semolina, baking powder, turmeric, aniseed, cinnamon and nigella seeds together in a large bowl.
Beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture is pale and fluffy. A food processor works perfectly well for this. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating well. If it starts to curdle or looks too runny, simply add a spoonful of the dry ingredients.
Fold the dry ingredients into the creamed butter, sugar and egg, then pour the mixture into the springform tin and level the surface with a spatula. Bake for around 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake is in the oven, make the sugar syrup. Put the sugar, lemon juice and 80ml water in a pan and simmer until the sugar dissolves. The longer you simmer it, the thicker the syrup will become. Ten minutes should be about right.
Take the cake out of the oven and insert a skewer around the edges, then, while still warm, pour the syrup all over so that it seeps into the cake itself.
Leave to cool, then remove from the tin. Sprinkle the cake with the icing sugar and pistachios, and serve.