I find Blood Oranges to be absolutely beautiful fruits. I love their deep, dark red colour and tangy flavour. I also love semolina cakes. Their lightness mixed with their crunchiness. And if you mix all of these elements, this is what you get: beautiful Mini Semolina Blood Orange Cakes with Blood Orange Syrup.
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Blood Oranges have relatively hard to find in Melbourne, so when I saw some in one of my local shop, I knew I had to jump on the opportunity.
I had been wanting to make an Orange Semolina Cake for a while so I thought these Blood Oranges would be perfect for this recipe! And it did turn out absolutely delicious, and I must admit… quite beautiful as well!
Blood Orange Semolina Cakes
I tried a few variation of this cake. The first one I made was a large blood orange upside-down semolina cake. It was all gone within 20 minutes – I knew I was on to something!
So I got back into the kitchen and tried a mini version of that first upside-down cake. They turned out a little bit more dense than the large version so I opted for a 3d and final recipe – this one!
These Mini Blood Orange Semolina Cakes are adapted from a recipe I found in Yotam Ottolenghi ‘Sweet‘ cook book. The original recipe is for a ‘Orange Semolina Syrup Cake’, so I changed the recipe a bit by making mini version of it with Blood Oranges.
I am sure most of you have heard of Yotam Ottolenghi – he is so popular right now! He is mostly famous for his savoury Middle Eastern recipes and his cook books “Jerusalem” and “Plenty“, but he has also published a pastry book filled with yummy Middle Eastern flavoured sweets.
For my recipe, I reduced the amount of sugar that Ottolenghi uses and increased the quantity of Blood Orange juice. If you often read my recipes, you know that I am all for reducing the amount of sugar used in baking.
Cakes really don’t require a ridiculous amount of sugar to be delicious, especially when they are soaked in a sweet syrup. You can read my 3 tips to bake with less sugar if it’s a topic that interests you!
One thing that I love with this recipe is that it doesn’t require Plain Flour. Instead, it uses Fine Semolina and Almond Meal. Semolina is made out of Durum Wheat and brings a really delicious subtle crunchy texture to cakes.
Although usually used mainly for savoury recipes like Fresh Pasta and Pizza, Semolina can really be great to bring texture to a dessert. Almond Meal is one of my favourite ingredient and is the best way I know to ensure a super light and moist cake. The combination of both is just perfect!
The second thing I love with this recipe is how simple it is, but how impressive it looks. Everybody loves a good upside-down cake, right!? I love them too!
Like I explained in my Blackberry Upside-Down Cake recipe, these type of cakes are so great because they not only look great, they are also super quick to make. No need for fancy garnishes and toppings – the caramelised fruits at the bottom of your molds will do the trick!
The same principle applies for these Mini Blood Orange Semolina Cakes. Place a thin slice of Blood Orange at the bottom of your mini cake molds, cover it with the cake batter and simply flip them when baked. The bright red colour of the slightly caramelised Blood Oranges is irresistible!
To make those cakes, I used Flower Shaped Silicone Mini Cake Molds I brought back from Europe. It created a super cute cake shape that is perfect for the Blood Orange Syrup drip effect! Alternatively, you can use Mini Tartlet Molds but when it comes to cakes that will be flipped, I usually prefer to use silicone.
Mini Blood Orange Semolina Cakes
Blood Orange Semolina Cakes
- 120 gr Butter at room temperature
- 50 gr Sugar
- 1 Blood Orange Juice + zest
- 100 gr Ground Almond
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 70 gr Fine Semolina
- 1 tbsp Baking Powder
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1 Blood Oranges – slices
Blood Orange Syrup
- 1 Blood Orange Juice (about 100 ml)
- 1/2 Lemon Juice
- 1 1/2 tbsp Sugar
- Cream the Butter and Sugar until it forms a thick paste. Make sure the butter isn’t melting.
- Add the Blood Orange Zest and Almond Meal. Quickly whisk, then gradually add the beaten Eggs.
- Stir in the Fine Semolina, Baking Powder and pinch of Salt, then pour in the juice of 1 blood orange.
- Thinly slice the second Blood Orange and place the slices at the bottom of your individual molds. Cover with the Cake batter and bake at 180’C for 15 to 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the Blood Orange Syrup. Mix the Blood Orange and Lemon Juice with the sugar in a small pot on medium heat until all dissolved. Let it gently reduce into a thicker consistency, then set aside to cool.
- When the cakes are baked, remove them from the oven and poke them with a skewer. Pour half of the Blood Orange Syrup over them and let them completely cool down before flipping them. Pour the rest of the syrup on them when flipped.