- For the cake:
- 1 cup flour
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 1 cup fine Semolina (or Farina)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs separated (reserve whites)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup milk
- pinch of salt
- For the syrup:
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 3-inch strips of orange zest
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- For serving: Powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, or 1/2 cup almonds, blanched, lightly toasted, and chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease bottom and sides a 9 x 13 pan and set aside.
Mix the flour, semolina and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
Using a mixer, cream the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. With the mixer running, add egg yolks one by one. Continue mixing until a light yellow color. Add vanilla extract and lemon zest.
Add the flour mixture 1/3 at a time alternating with the milk.
Clean the beaters well and beat the egg whites in a separate bowl with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Using a spatula, fold the egg whites in to the batter until just blended. Don't mix too much or you will "flatten" your egg whites.
Pour the batter in to the pan, level with a spatula and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until you have a nice golden color.
While the cake is baking, make the syrup:
Add water, sugar, and orange peel to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and cool.
While the cake is still warm, cover it with the syrup. When the cake cools, you can sprinkle with some powdered sugar, cinnamon, and the almonds, if using.