Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup

September 13, 2019

Moist and slight chewy Semolina cake also known as Sugee cake served with delightful citrus and bay leaves syrup.

Orange semolina Cake

Food and Story

As far as I could remember, my mom may have baked semolina cake, once or twice for our Eid celebration.
It was nothing fancy, just a simple straight forward Kek Suji (Sugee Cake) as we called it.
No flavours, no syrup!

Due to high humidity in Malaysia, this Sugee Cake didn't survive long.
Mouldy spots started to appear after few days.

And as kids, we loved to bite into something soft and smooth like traditional butter cake, which totally opposite for Sugee cake or Semolina Cake!

And that happened 4 decades ago, I have not heard of Semolina Cake then, but Sugee Cake (Kek Suji), yes, all the time!

Little did I know then that Sugee / Suji and semolina, referring to the same ingredients.

Kek Suji

What is semolina?

Semolina sounds fancy, isn't it?

Semolina is also known as sugee, suji in (I would say) South East Asia or rawa (in Hindi).

Semolina is the course flour made from durum wheat.

Now I get you thinking.....

What is Durum Wheat?

Durum wheat is the hardest wheat of all.
It has high protein and gluten content than any other wheat.

When milled the endosperm in the durum wheat gives that rich golden yellow colour to semolina.
Semolina is widely used to make spaghetti, couscous and other pasta.

Semolina has that nutty, sweet taste to it.
It has that rich golden colour like polenta.

Both polenta and semolina looks the same, but they are not from the same source.
Semolina from wheat and polenta is from corn.

Semolina is high in gluten content while Polenta is gluten free!

eggless sugee cake

Why use Semolina flour to bake?

Ideally, semolina flour is good for making pasta like spaghetti, fettuccine and couscous. 

Pasta made with semolina flour tend to be stronger and can hold its shapes better.
Unlike pasta made from all purpose flour, they tend to be softer.

Why use Semolina flour in bakes like this Semolina Cake?

Cakes baked using semolina yields a much denser cake, it has a nutty, earthy taste and cakes are slightly chewy with a bite-y texture (grainy).

One cake that came to mind is Basbousa, a traditional Middle Eastern sweet cake.
Basbousa, traditionally made with semolina, flavoured with rose water or orange blossom water.

Two good reasons why I opt to bake using semolina flour: 

First reason :-
I have a packet of semolina flour in my larder, and its about to expire!
So might as well bake this gorgeous Semolina cake with Orange Syrup, which I adapted from BonAppetit webpage.

Second reason:-
I bought this Nordic ware bundt mould during its end of year sales.
A good excuse to put it to good use :).

delicious Eggless semolina cake

How to Make Semolina Cake?

A complete instruction is in the recipe card below.

1) Make bay leaves syrup and set aside. 
Add in orange slices once this bay leaves syrup has cooled down.

Making bay leaves syrup
2) Combine semolina flour, ground cardamom, baking powder, orange zest, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl
Add Sugar, orange zest, cardamom and semolina in a mixing bowl
3) In another bowl, mix milk and yoghurt

stir yoghurt and milk
4) Add dry ingredients to milk-yoghurt mixture

Add dry ingredients to milk mixture
5) Add melted butter.
Mix well until all ingredients comes together.

Add melted butter to semolina batter

6) Pour into the prepared mould.

pour semolina batter  into Nordic classic bundt cake mould 

Tips to have a delicious slice of Semolina Cake

  1. Once bay leaves syrup cooled down, add in sliced oranges. We do not want 'cooked' orange slices.
  2. Semolina cake can be made a day ahead.
  3. Once cooled, poke holes all over with skewer, to let the syrup seeped in.
  4. Serve with extra orange-bay leaves syrup and orange slices.

Bay leaves syrup infused with sliced oranges

Can I substitute plain flour instead?

Yes, you can.
Then it will be just another orange butter cake :P 

Citrus Cakes and Dessert that you may want to try....

semolina cake, sugee cake, suji cake, eggless semolina cake, semolina cake with orange syrup, Basbousa
Yield: 8 servings

Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup

Moist and slight chewy Semolina cake also known as Sugee cake served with delightful citrus and bay leaves syrup.
prep time: 15 Mcook time: 40 Mtotal time: 55 M


Bay Leaves and Lemon syrup
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
Semolina Cake | Sugee Cake
  • 1 1/2 stick (170g)  unsalted butter, melted and cooled (see note *1 below)
  • 1 1/2 cup (285g) semolina flour
  • 1 cup (200g) caster sugar 
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 4 cardamom pods (see note *2 below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (215g) Greek yoghurt
  • 3/4 cup (145ml) full cream milk
  • 3 oranges (see note *3 below)


How to cook Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup

Bay Leaves and Lemon syrup
  1. Combine bay leaves, sugar, salt and water in a small pot. 
  2. Bring the pot to a quick boil then immediately lower the heat to a simmer.
  3. Stir occasionally to dissolve sugar.
  4. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
  6. Remove bay leaves 
  7. Set aside to cool.
  8. Once bay leaves syrup has cooled down, add the thick round orange slices.
  9. Leave it to infuse for at least 30 minutes.
Semolina Cake | Sugee Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (170C no fan).
  2. Using the excess melted butter to grease the bundt mould (see note *4 below)
  3. Mix semolina, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, ground cardamom and salt in a mixing bowl.
  4. Stir with a balloon whisk to ensure that all ingredients are will mixed.
  5. In a bigger mixing bowl, add milk to yoghurt and mix well.
  6. Add semolina mix to the milk and yoghurt mix and add melted cooled down butter.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Gently pour the semolina cake mixture into the bundt.
  9. Bake for at least 40 mins until golden brown and firm to touch.
  10. Let the semolina cake cooled in the pan for at least 10 minutes.
  11. Invert the cake onto a plate.
  12. Using bamboo skewer, poke holes all over the cake.
  13. Gradually drizzle 1/4 cup of bay leaves syrup.
  14. Serve with the remaining syrup with orange slices.


*1 ~ extra butter to grease the pan *2 ~ separate seeds and shells. Using mortar and pestle, grind and sieve *3~ Using a sharp knife, peel off the orange skin, cut into thick round slices (refer to photo above).
*4 ~ for future reference, to avoid cake sticking to the mould, its best to grease or butter and coat with a layer of plain flour all around bundt mould.

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Created using The Recipes Generator

Moist and slight chewy Semolina cake also known as Sugee cake served with delightful citrus and bay leaves syrup.


  1. Hi I noticed that u said no fan oven. How do I bake as my oven is fan force though.I am Helen Chin.


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