Recipe of the week: Syr­ian turmeric cake

The Week Middle East - - Leisure -

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

Serves 6-8

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.

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