Candied Orange Semolina Cake

The last month has been an absolute whirlwind. I went from planning and celebrating my 30th birthday – which was amazing, by the way – to hoping on a plane straight to Dubai for a week then Amman for a second week. I was able to spend just enough time in my own kitchen to whip up a not-too-sweet Candied Orange Semolina Cake, before jetting off to Lyon for a work trip filled with meetings (and lots of chocolate croissants). Unfortunately for me, I came down with the flu for the entirety of the trip, so I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the food capitol for all it has to offer. For those who follow Measuring Cups Optional on Instagram, my stories offer a first look at all my food and travel adventures.

I successfully ate my weight in delicious food everywhere I went. In Dubai, there was barely time to sleep between site seeing, indulging in a lavish Turkish Bath, spending afternoons catching rays at the hotel pool. With little effort, I came back a few shades darker. Baking for a few hours in 102F temps has that effect on my pale skin. Mom and I spent an afternoon walking through the gold and spice souks… and the malls are–as imagined– bigger, better and 5 star. Of course, the tourist in us couldn’t resist the desert safari, where I rode an ATV and we went dune bashing in an air-conditioned SUV, stopping just in time to catch the sunset.

Candied Orange Semolina Cake

Amman was more laid back. I finally caught up on some sleep, discovered a handful of hipster restaurants/cafes and took in endless views of the city — and shopped, of course, for all the Arabic-inspired things I wanted to take home. Mom and I treated ourselves to a day at the Dead Sea, where we scheduled simultaneous salt scrubs, mud wraps and massages.  By the end of the trip, I needed a vacation to recover from my vacation. Especially since I knew I’d have hundreds of messages waiting for me in my work inbox. The inbox did not disappoint.

A week later … I was off to the food capitol of the world, Lyon. As much as I wanted to fit in restaurant hoping between work meetings, my body decided to give up on me. I came down with the flu and had to settle for chocolate croissants, baguette sandwiches and the occasional dinner out (when I could actually keep food down).

I’m finally back in my own bed, and in my own kitchen… for a while at least. And now that I’m the road to recovery (I’m still dealing with the remnants of a raspy voice), I’m so looking forward to sharing some new recipes over the next few weeks.

Candied Orange Semolina Cake

Saint Augustine said it best “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”

Until the next adventure …

Candied Orange Semolina Cake

Candied Orange Semolina Cake

Yield: Makes two 9" cakes


    For the Cake
  • 3 cups fine Semolina
  • 3/4 cup Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 cups Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  • For the candied Oranges
  • 2 navel oranges cut to 1/8 inch slices
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • Extra sugar for sprinkling
  • For the Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 1 cup syrup from candied oranges
  • 2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice


    For the Cake
  1. Mix the semolina, the sugar and the butter in a large bowl. Use your hands to corporate the butter with the other ingredients until mixed well.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together the yogurt and the baking soda
  3. Wait a few minutes until the yogurt doubles in size, about 5 minutes
  4. When the yogurt has doubled, pour the yogurt on top of the semolina mix
  5. Use your hands to work the yogurt in the with semolina
  6. Press the batter into 2 greased 9" cake pans
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes until it's a light brown color, but not burnt
  8. Remove the cakes from the oven onto a cooling rack
  9. Pour the syrup over the cake while its hot so it can absorb all the way though.
  10. Cool for 1-2 hours before serving
  11. Top with candied oranges
  12. For the candied Oranges
  13. Wash and dry oranges, then slice into 1/8 inch slices
  14. In a medium skillet, stir together the water and sugar. Continue to stir until the sugar is no longer stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  15. bring to a boil over high heat.
  16. Once the water is boiling, carefully place the orange slices in an even layer and boil for 20 minutes over medium-high heat, making sure to flip the slices throughout the boiling process. You'll notice that the water will turn into a thick syrup.
  17. Remove from the syrup, and place on a cooling rack. Sprinkle both sides with granulated sugar to prevent sticking
  18. Cool the candied oranges for at least 1 hour before using or storing in an airtight container
  19. Repeat until you've candied all the orange slices.
  20. Reserve the syrup for the cake
  21. For the Syrup
  22. In a volume measuring cup (or medium pitcher), mix together 1 cup of the reserved syrup from the candied oranges with 2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice and 1 tablespoon orange blossom water. Combine well.
  23. Once you take the cake out of the oven, pour the syrup over the cake, making sure to cover the entire surface. The semolina cake will absorb the syrup.
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