These blood orange and semolina cakes are a perfect celebration of the citrus season. Super moist, light, and soft sponge, topped with slice of juicy blood orange drenched in sweet and sticky syrup. Each individual cake is super fragrant, zesty and full of citrus flavour!
What is the best baking tin to use for this recipe
When it comes to baking tin, you have two options. One, is to use a large, 12- hole muffin tin, which is 125ml/ ½ cup in capacity. If you have one of those, it will be perfect for this recipe. The batter will produce exactly 12 cakes, and you should not have any leftover.
Other option is to use a traditional 12- hole muffin pan, with 80ml/ ⅓ cup capacity. If you are using one of these, you will have some extra batter left at the end. This recipe will produce about 15 cakes in total (bonus!), so bear that in mind.
As we are not using any muffin liners or paper cases here, whichever tin you choose, make sure to grease it well with some butter, oil or non-stick spray.
The secret to moist and airy cakes
This bake requires a very small amount of flour, and its beautiful texture comes from the mix of semolina and ground almonds. Semolina has slightly nutty and sweet flavour with coarse texture similar to cornmeal. It creates beautiful, super light and moist bakes and it is ideal for soaking up that sweet syrup.
What also helps these blood orange and semolina cakes stay extra moist for longer, is the use of extra virgin olive oil and full-fat Greek yogurt. Unlike butter, these two ingredients do not contain any water, so it won't evaporate resulting in drying out the cakes.
Ideally, you will need an electric or freestanding mixer for the first part of the recipe only, but it is also possible to do it all by hand, with a whisk and a spatula. To make these cakes, you will start by whipping eggs and sugar together, until they are pale, fluffy and doubled in volume.
After that, all what is left is simply add the remaining batter ingredients and gently fold them in with spatula. You want to do it gently and slowly, to avoid breaking the air bubbles created when whipping the eggs and sugar. It's the secret to super light and airy texture!
Divide the batter between each case and place slice of blood orange on top of each cake. Sprinkle the orange slices with some extra sugar, it will help bring their juices out while they bake.
Bake the cakes for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
How to store these mini cakes
Any leftovers of these blood orange and semolina cakes should be stored in the airtight container at room temperature. They will keep for up to 2 days, but may become a bit dry with time.
These cakes are also suitable for freezing. Once they're baked, allow them to cool completely. Do not drizzle the cakes with syrup. Simply wrap each cake in clingfilm, then place them in the freezer-friendly container for up to three months.
Thaw them overnight at room temperature, and drizzle with syrup before serving.
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Blood Orange and Semolina Cakes
- 12- hole muffin tin (80ml / ⅓ cup or 125ml/ ½ cup capacity)
- electric or freestanding mixer
- 2 Tbsp butter or oil for greasing the tin or non-stick spray
- 3 large eggs
- 140 g caster sugar plus extra 2 Tbsp for topping
- 280 g Greek yogurt full fat
- 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp blood orange zest
- 160 g semolina
- 35 g plain flour sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder sifted
- 40 g ground almonds
- 2 large blood oranges sliced thinly
- 2 Tbsp icing/ powdered sugar optional
For the syrup:
- 125 ml blood orange juice
- 60 ml water
- 75 g caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180C (170C fan). Grease the 12- hole muffin tin and set it aside.
- In a bowl of an electric or freestanding mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar until light, pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes (alternatively, whisk by hand). Add full-fat Greek yogurt, extra virgin olive oil, vanilla, blood orange zest, semolina, sifted flour, baking powder and ground almonds and using spatula, gently fold until all ingredients are combined.
- Spoon the mixture into prepared muffin tin and bake (about 3 Tbsp of batter for smaller baking tin and 4 Tbsp per cake for larger tin). If you are using large muffin tin (125 ml in capacity), you should get exactly 12 cakes. My baking tin was smaller, 80ml in capacity, and I've had some extra batter left (enough for extra 3 cakes). Top each cake with a slice of blood orange and sprinkle the top of each cake with some extra sugar.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and toothpick or skewer inserted in the middle of cake comes out clean. Take out from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing and transferring cakes into a cooling rack.
- Meanwhile, prepare the syrup by placing blood orange juice, water and sugar into a small saucepan over a medium heat. Bring the mixture to boil, then cook for about 8-10 minutes until it reduced its volume by half and becomes thick and syrupy. Remove from the heat.
- Spoon the juice on top of each cake, and dust it with some icing sugar (optional). Enjoy!
- My muffin tin was 80ml / ⅓ cup in capacity, and I've had enough batter for about 15 cakes (extra treat for the cook!). If you have large muffin tin which is 125ml / ½ cup in capacity, you should get exactly 12 cakes.
- Fine semolina will be best in this recipe. If you only have coarse semolina, I recommend placing it in the blender and pulsing it few times to grind it into finer texture.
- Use cookie/ ice cream scoop to spoon the batter into the baking tin, this way each cake will be equal and uniform in size. I used scoop which is 3 Tbsp in capacity.
- If your syrup is not thickening, continue to cook it until the texture becomes thick and syrupy.
- Cakes will keep fresh for 2-3 days, and are best to be stored at room temperature in the airtight container.
- To freeze the cakes, wrap them tightly in clingfilm (without drizzling in syrup), then place in the freezer-friendly container. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight at room temperature and drizzle with syrup before serving.
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