Caramel-Topped Semolina Cake {FFwD}

I have to put this out front: I don’t like semolina. It’s fine in pasta, and I grew up eating — and still enjoy — Cream of Wheat. But I have yet to find a bread recipe made with it that I like. And believe me, I’ve tried. And tried.

Not surprisingly, I didn’t vote for this recipe. In fact, I’d have voted for just about any recipe in the book over this one. But the majority spoke, so I would bake.

Two things about this recipe gave me a small glimmer of hope. First, it was made with Cream of Wheat rather than straight semolina flour. That may not sound like much of a difference, but as I said, I like the cereal, so I hoped the finished product might be more akin to it than to the semolina breads I’ve made. In any case, I hadn’t had Cream of  Wheat in a while, and making this recipe prompted me to go out and buy a fresh box.

The other thing about this recipe that encouraged me to try it is that it is a dessert. I’ve rarely met a cake I don’t like, so I was willing to give this one a go. And the promise of caramel didn’t hurt matters, either.

The recipe itself is quite simple. You cook the Cream of Wheat, then add sugar and vanilla. After stirring the sugar and vanilla into the cereal, I was tempted to just give up on the recipe and eat the Cream of Wheat. It was really good, especially while it was still hot.

While the cereal mixture was cooling, I made the caramel sauce, which consisted of sugar, water, and lemon juice. The mixture is boiled and then allowed to keep cooking until it takes on an amber color.

If you make this recipe, be aware that, because it is such a small amount of sugar syrup, it will go from light to amber to burnt really quickly. My caramel had a nice amber color, and it wasn’t until the cake was in the oven and the caramel pan had cooled to the point that I could sample it that I realized my caramel had overcooked and become slightly bitter.

After pouring the caramel into a preheated cake pan, the final step was to mix eggs and golden raisins into the cereal mixture, then put the mixture into the pan on top of the caramel. The cake bakes for about 30 minutes in a 350° oven, until it is puffed up and firm.

I let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turned it out onto a serving plate.

The caramel pooled on top of the cake, and the whole thing smelled really good. I began to think my reservations had been unfounded.

I allowed the cake to cool to room temperature, then sliced it, spooning some caramel onto each slice.

We had the cake for dessert after dinner, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. No one complained about the burnt caramel, although I found it quite bitter. And the cake itself didn’t do much for me, either. It tasted like Cream of Wheat that had been allowed to firm up.

So I guess I’m still batting .000 when it comes to semolina recipes. But I’m not sorry I tried it. And at least I have a fresh box of Cream of Wheat to enjoy as the weather gets colder.

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31 Comments

  1. January 16, 2012 at 8:08 am

    […] next step was to make the caramel. Despite my previous issues with making caramel for semolina cake and pineapple tatin, I have since had better success with caramel, so I felt pretty good about […]

  2. January 15, 2012 at 11:43 am

    […] the semolina cake, this recipe starts with a simple caramel syrup. And like the cake, you have to be really careful […]

  3. December 9, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    […] Of Cabbages and King Cakes […]

  4. Cakelaw said,

    November 13, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Good on you for giving it a go, even though it’s not your thing. Your cake looks great, and glad others enjoyed it.

    • gaaarp said,

      November 13, 2010 at 9:44 pm

      Thanks. It was OK, just not out of this world.

  5. Margaret said,

    November 13, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Well, we’ll just have to see if the cake is good, even tho’ it does have Semolina/Cream of wheat. I’ve never had it in anything but pasta, so will have to make cake just to test it.

    It looks ‘divine’ tho.

    • gaaarp said,

      November 13, 2010 at 11:17 am

      Thanks. I hope you like it more than I did.

  6. Lana said,

    November 13, 2010 at 12:54 am

    I wholeheartedly agree on Adam Sandler’s movies:)
    As for Cream of Wheat, it was the comfort food of my early years, and Mom used it in some wonderful custardy desserts, topped with creme Anglaise and fruit preserves.
    I applaud you for trying the recipe, even though you had your doubts. You are a brave soul:)
    I am going to make this the last week of November – a procrastinator that I am:)

    • gaaarp said,

      November 13, 2010 at 11:16 am

      I’m making Cream of Wheat for a late breakfast. Yum!

  7. Kayte said,

    November 12, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Not a semolina fan either and I have also tried and tried. Hmmm…to make or not to make. I know there is going to come a time when I am not going to make something, just trying to decide if this will be it since none of us like Cream of Wheat in the first place. Might put my energy into something from Bake! instead. Your cake does look nice, however…still trying to decide.

    • gaaarp said,

      November 12, 2010 at 9:08 pm

      Someone else said they used Cream of Rice and liked it pretty well. Maybe you could try that. Looking forward to our Bake! bake tomorrow!

  8. stephirey said,

    November 12, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    How funny, I felt exactly the same way about the cream of wheat after the sugar and vanilla were added…just wanted to eat it up! I liked the cake too, though. Sorry it wasn’t your favorite, but good for you for giving it a go!

    • gaaarp said,

      November 12, 2010 at 8:16 pm

      Hey, it’s Cream of Wheat for breakfast. How bad can that be?

  9. November 12, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    wasn’t this delicious. i could have eaten the whole cake in one sitting!

    • gaaarp said,

      November 12, 2010 at 7:13 pm

      I should have sent you mine! But I’ll keep the rest of the Cream of Wheat.

  10. Becky said,

    November 12, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Your tempting me to go try this recipe right now!

    • gaaarp said,

      November 12, 2010 at 1:25 pm

      I hope you like it!

  11. November 12, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Looks lovely. I’m with you, though… it wasn’t like I expected it to be. Sorry it wasn’t a new favorite! 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      November 12, 2010 at 1:25 pm

      They can’t all be favorites, I guess. Glad I tried it, though.

  12. November 12, 2010 at 11:04 am

    I used rice farina and I think it’s the only thing that saved me.

    • gaaarp said,

      November 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm

      Cream of Wheat. Cream of Rice. I’m not sure it would have made a difference for me, but I’m glad you liked it.

  13. Flourchild said,

    November 12, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Im glad it turned out good for you even if it’s not a fav. I find this dessert to be very very interesting. I can’t way to give it a taste!

    • gaaarp said,

      November 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm

      I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it.

  14. Anne Marie said,

    November 12, 2010 at 7:35 am

    You have the same feelings about semolina as I have about brussel sprouts, no recipe ever makes them taste good.

    • gaaarp said,

      November 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm

      I fell the same way about Adam Sandler movies. There is no such thing as a good one.

  15. Renee said,

    November 12, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Yea, I’m with you on semolina. I saw this recipe and knew I wouldn’t do it. Kudos for giving it a try though.

    • gaaarp said,

      November 12, 2010 at 1:22 pm

      So far, I’ve tried all the FFwD recipes. I’m sure there will eventually be some that I skip, but for the time being, I’m trying them whether I think I’ll like them or not.

  16. Mary said,

    November 11, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    I wasn’t too sure about this either, but I ended up loving it. Maybe it was the rum…

    • gaaarp said,

      November 12, 2010 at 1:21 pm

      That’s why I tried it. You never know when a recipe is going to surprise you. Glad you liked it.

  17. Karen said,

    November 11, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Glad you tried this even after the other attempts with semolina. It looks good even if it wasn’t your favorite. 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      November 12, 2010 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks, Karen. No regrets about trying it. And I’m glad to have a brand new box of Cream of Wheat in the cupboard!


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