You know how there are recipes, that when you are involved in their preparation, instantly transport you back to another place and time? This cake is one of those for me, this and my mum’s orange cake.
Start off by making the syrup- I measure everything in a ‘proper’ measuring cup: 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of water, 2 cinammon sticks, 4 cloves and half a lemon. (Or as an alternative to the cinnamon, cloves and lemon, use 1tbsp of rose water to flavour the syrup) Simmer everything together for about 10 minutes then set aside to cool.
For the cake:
500g semolina (coarse) If you can’t get coarse, fine will do too.
1 cup sugar
3 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 cup flavourless oil
2-3 mastic ‘tears’ ground up with a couple of tsp of sugar (optional, but it gives the cake a lovely fragrance and a definite, chewiness)
Quarter cup of brandy or milk.
Simply mix everything together, oil a rectangular baking trayapprox. 30cm by 25cm, place the mixture in the tray and top with whole almonds (see photo)
Bake at 180 deg.C (160 fan) for about 45-60 minutes until dark golden.
When the syrup has cooled and the cake has cooled for about 15-20 mins, pour the syrup over the cake. It will seem like a lot, but trust me the cake will suck it up no problem.
Cut into narrow, rectangular slices and ENJOY!!
Makes between 16-20 slices, depending on how narrow you cut it. Mine were more like squares. 😉