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Torta di semolino – semolina cake

Torta di semolino – semolina cake

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Semolina, confusingly called semolino in Italian, is used a lot in Italian cuisine. It’s the coarsely ground flour of durum wheat (triticum durum), one of the oldest types of wheat still in use today. A finer grade of flour, known as semola is used to make dried pasta and some varieties of fresh pasta, usually without egg.

This semolina cake recipe is adapted from one in the 19th century classic cookbook La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene by Pellegrino Artusi. It has a delicate, creamy flavour lent by the process of cooking the semolina in milk, and caramel notes from the cane sugar.

It’s an easy-to-make cake which you could serve in slices for afternoon tea, or with whipped cream or gelato for a tasty dessert.

Ingredients

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  • Torta di semolino

  • 100g of sultanas
  • 4 tbsp of rum
  • 1 tbsp of plain flour
  • 500ml of milk
  • 65g of semolina
  • 10g of unsalted butter
  • 65g of cane sugar
  • 50g of ground almonds
  • 2 eggs
  • icing sugar
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Method

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1
Soak the sultanas in the rum overnight. Drain, dry with paper towels then dust the raisins with the flour
2
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
3
Bring the milk to the boil in a saucepan. Turn down the heat then sprinkle the semolina on top. Stir the semolina in with a balloon whisk and cook for about 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened, whisking all the time to avoid lumps
4
Remove from the heat, add the butter and stir until it has melted. Stir in the sugar and ground almonds. When the mixture is completely combined, leave the to cool for about 10 minutes
5
Meanwhile, grease a 22cm cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper
6
Beat the eggs then stir them into the mixture until fully combined. Add the sultanas, mix well, then transfer to the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes
7
Allow the cake to cool then remove it from the tin and sprinkle with icing sugar. Serve with tea or a fine Italian espresso coffee. Alternatively, serve with a quenelle of gelato as a dessert
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