Semolina Cake with Lemon Curd, Ricotta Cream and Lemon Syrup

If you had two desserts sitting in front of you, one chocolate, one citrus-based, which would you choose?

I am addicted to chocolate more than I have ever been, and yet I would probably go for the citrus dessert almost every time.

I don’t know what it is – I just love the sweet, tartness of lemon curd, of a lemon tart, of lemon cakes and lemon gelato.

Like me, I have many friends who are ‘foodies’. Two even that have applied for MasterChef. One of these talented ladies made this beautiful semolina cake and I was so lucky to have tried it. It was the best citrus cake I’ve ever eaten. Better than my hubby’s orange semolina cake!

It seemed like a complicated recipe. Cake, lemon curd (homemade of course), ricotta cream, syrup. Many components. Scary. But my friend assured me it was easy, and gave me the recipe. When the opportunity came to make it, it really was. I made the lemon curd one day, the cake the next and on the day of serving made the ricotta cream and lemon syrup and then put it all together. I highly recommend assembling it a few hours before serving so that the syrup really has time to soak into the cake.

This beats a chocolate cake any day!

I believe this recipe is from the March 2007 edition of Delicious magazine, but I can’t be sure.

If you’d like to make your own lemon curd, I recommend this recipe from It did take about five minutes of stirring to thicken.

I used 8 medium lemons for this entire recipe.

for the cake:

150g caster sugar
5 eggs, separated
100g fine semolina
50g almond meal
1 tbs each of grated lemon zest, lemon juice and Cointreau

for the ricotta cream:

150g smooth ricotta
150ml whipped thickened cream
75g caster sugar

For the lemon syrup:

1/2 cup caster sugar
Rind of 1 lemon, sliced into thin strips
1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup lemon curd, plus extra to serve

Preheat oven to 180 celcius. Grease and line a 24cm cake tin.

To make the cake, beat the sugar and the yolks in an electric mixer for 3-4 minutes, or until thick and pale. Fold in semolina, almond meal, zest, juice, Cointreau and pinch of salt. If you don’t have the Cointreau, substitute for more juice.

Whisk eggwhites in a mixer until firm peaks form. Gently fold into the yolk mixture. Pour cake batter into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Stand for 2 minutes, then turn out on a rack to cool completely.

For the filling, beat the ricotta, the sugar and the cream till smooth and then refrigerate.

For the syrup, put all the ingredients in a small saucepan, plus half a cup of water. Stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil. Turn it down and simmer without stirring for about 10 minutes, or until syrupy. Cool slightly.

Split the cooled cake in two with a serrated knife. Drizzle 1/3 of the syrup over the base of the cake, before spreading with lemon curd and then ricotta cream. Pop the top cake layer on. Pour the remaining syrup over the top of the cake. Serve with extra curd.


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