Semolina Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

Posted on by on March 15th, 2012 | 27 Comments »

I know. It has been a while since I have been in the blogosphere. I haven’t posted anything new in 2 months and haven’t caught up on my favorite blogs in even longer than that. I have a good excuse. Really good. Promise.

Before I get into it I wanted to thank all of you who sent such lovely words of condolences on the passing of my Grandmother back in January. It is so heartwarming to get such beautiful comments and messages from friends I have made through this amazing food blog community. 

So where have I been the past 2 months? Well, I’m super excited to be finally able to share this news with you. There has been a lot going on in my little corner of the world. My husband and I are expecting our first little sous chef!! For those mommies out there you may already be understanding why for the past 2 months I haven’t posted a new recipe or visited any food blogs. Morning sickness completely took over my life! Anything to do with food was not happening and so this food blogger hung up her apron and sulked on the couch eating no more than chicken stock and saltines. I am happy to say that it has passed and as I enter my second trimester I am back in the kitchen cooking and baking away. And, lucky for you I have not had any weird pregnancy cravings (yet) and so what I am cooking up is still delicious to all (for now).

Luckily my appetite and hunger to cook came back right before the end of blood orange season. How sad it would have been to miss it! I stocked up on 2 kilos of blood oranges on a recent trip to Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market and they sat in my kitchen for a week before I decided what do make with them.

This cake is inspired by Janna Gur’s citrus semolina cake from her cookbook, The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey. If you don’t have it already, I highly recommend making this book part of your collection. In my variation of Janna’s citrus semolina cake, I left out the coconut, ground almonds and simple syrup and in place used almond flour and blood orange syrup. The blood orange slices were not only beautiful adorning the top of this cake, they added just that bit of something special. The cake is’t overly sweet and the texture is more crumbly than a normal cake, but you can blame that on the semolina flour. Serve with some blood orange syrup on the side and you will be sure to impress any guest.

As I cracked the eggs, mixed the batter and popped it in the oven I couldn’t help but smile thinking that soon enough little hands will be pulling on my apron asking to lick the bowl. The thought is taking me over the moon with happiness and I find myself impatient wanting to meet my little one! But, for now I will just dream about those little fingers that will soon be grabbing mine and that tiny smile that will make my heart melt.


For Topping:
1 blood orange, sliced into thin rounds
1 tablespoon brown sugar

For Cake:
6 eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup sifted flour
3/4 cup almond flour
2 1/2 cups semolina
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup oil
1 1/2 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1/2 cup orange marmalade

For Blood Orange Syrup:
2 cups sugar
1 cups blood orange juice


Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a spring form pan.
Sprinkle brown sugar on the bottom of greased pan and place blood orange slices on top. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl using an electric mixer until they hold stiff peaks.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients; flour, semolina, almond flour and baking powder.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and gradually add the oil, blood orange juice and marmalade.
Slowly add the dry ingredients into the egg yolk mixture until combined.
Gently fold peaked egg whites into the batter.
Pour the batter over the brown sugar and  orange slices.
Bake for 35 minutes or until the cake turns golden and a toothpick comes out dry.
While the cake is baking make the blood orange syrup by combining the blood orange juice and sugar in a sauce pan and bringing to a boil.
Simmer for 20 minutes or until reduced and syrup is thick.
Set syrup aside to cool slightly.
When cake is done, remove from oven and run a knife around the edge.
Pour 1/4 of the syrup on the cake.
Let cake cool for 10 minutes and carefully invert onto a platter.
Pour another 1/4 of the syrup over the orange slices.
Cool cake completely and serve with remaining blood orange syrup on the side.


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  1. Posted on: 3-15-2012

    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandmother. I lost my grandfather last month. I know it’s not easy, but what wonderful news to come back with! Congratulations!!!! I’m glad to hear the morning sickness has subsided. Enjoy the pregnancy. I sure miss mine (obviously not the morning sickness part)! And this recipe and these pictures are fantastic too! I’m suddenly craving blood oranges now. 🙂 Congratulations again!

  2. Posted on: 3-15-2012

    Yaaaayyy!!!! I am so excited that we finally get to share this news with the world!!!! 😀 And this cake was AH-MAZING. I’m still hoarding a bit for breakfast tomorrow. It looks so pretty in the photos!! Man do I love blood oranges.

  3. mom
    Posted on: 3-15-2012

    Just beautiful- looks yummy too. The part about the little hands reminded me of when you were younger and we cooked together. I can picture you standing at the counter on your little step stool so full of wonder (and flour all over you)! It made me cry! I am glad you are back and sharing your thoughts and recipes with everyone. We all missed you.

  4. francine
    Posted on: 3-15-2012

    Beth! Mazal tov to you both! Such nice news. I feel u on the morning sickness. I had the same issue.
    Only Gets better and bigger from here on!

  5. Posted on: 3-15-2012

    Congratulations Beth!!! I’m so happy for you. I had really terrible morning sickness for BOTH of my children starting as early as 6 week to 16-18 weeks I think. Good thing is that when it’s over you forget about it, but when you were in it… oh it was so horrible. There is no 3rd baby for me because I’m literary scared of the morning sickness! I can’t spend the entire day in bathroom anymore with 2 kids. So I really understand your situation. As for the blood orange upsidedown cake, how beautiful! I remember I made salad using your blood orange vinaigrette recipe. You always have delicious recipes using blood oranges!

  6. Posted on: 3-15-2012

    Congratulations! wonderful news indeed. I totally sympathize about the morning sickness, it took over my life! Nothing helped except for falafel and amba. Anyway, happy you are over the worst of it.

  7. Imma
    Posted on: 3-15-2012

    So glad you are feeling better and getting back into the business of cooking and baking. Can’t wait for the sous-chef either! Hope you continue to feel well!

  8. Posted on: 3-15-2012

    Congratulations!! That is so exciting! I am so happy for you and your hubby and am glad that you are finally feeling better! I am sure you are relieved to be back in the kitchen and preparing for your newest addition =)

    This cake is beautiful. That is simply all there is to say.

  9. Posted on: 3-15-2012

    Mazel tov on your wonderful news! As a mother of 2 I can tell you that are embarking on the best journey ever.

    I’m a big fan of Janna Gur and your spin of her citrus semolina cake is lovely! What a stunning cake you created (and such gorgeous photos).

  10. Posted on: 3-16-2012

    Yay!!! Congrats! Such exciting news! And such a gorgeous cake!

  11. Posted on: 3-16-2012

    Omg congratulations my friend 😀 😀 😀
    What a wonderful way to be welcomed back!
    Love this cake 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  12. Posted on: 3-16-2012

    First of all, I’m so glad to see you back! Second of all, congratulations on your soon-to-be “sous chef” 🙂 I’m sure he/she will be as talented as you. Beautiful photos as always!

  13. Posted on: 3-16-2012

    I am so in love with blood oranges right now, they are so pretty. I have three in my fridge just waiting to be used, this cake just may be their fate!

  14. Posted on: 3-17-2012

    Oh, I thought I was the only one who has been missing in action and come sporadically into the blogosphere only occasionally this year! But I have no such good news to bear as yours, of course, so many congratulations to you and hubby! Your first trimester is nearly over and you seem to be back on form – this blood orange cake is simply stunning. We’ve really missed your lovely creations!

  15. Posted on: 3-17-2012

    Such a stunning cake….blood oranges are so gorgeous and work marvelously in this cake!

  16. Posted on: 3-18-2012

    Between the blood oranges and the different flours you used in the cake, this really does look like a winner. Stunning photos too!

  17. Posted on: 3-19-2012

    Your pictures are absolutely stunning! Love the flavors you chose.

  18. Posted on: 3-19-2012

    This is a great news, many congrats to you and your hubby…
    I know about morning sickness my friend, first trimester of my pregnancy was super crazy….
    But trust me after 10-12 week it start getting better….

    B/W this cake looks luscious… Wonderful!!!

  19. Posted on: 3-19-2012

    Congratulations Beth! Such a wonderful news. I hope your morning sickness is behind you now!
    Can’t wait to see what you gonna crave, meanwhile, thanks for sharing this delicious citrus-y cake. Looks great!

  20. Posted on: 3-20-2012

    wow! what an impressive cake! I’ve never seen anything like this!

  21. Posted on: 3-20-2012

    So sorry on the passing of your grandmother. I would say it sounds like a difficult couple of months. Morning sickness can be rough and it’s understandable that the last thing you would want to do is cook and bake. But I have to tell you….this cake is stunning! A great way to celebrate your good news! : )

  22. Posted on: 3-20-2012

    Oh yum! I cannot wait till blood oranges come into season here in Australia. Thanks for stopping by my blog (so glad you did!) and congratulations on the impending arrival of your sous chef!

  23. Posted on: 3-21-2012

    Oh congratulations! That’s wonderful news! This cake is looking fantastic by the way. Love the color and your photos are just perfection. Yum!

  24. Posted on: 3-24-2012

    Beth, so much has happened in your life since I last visited!! Firstly I’m so sorry to hear about your Grandmother, but delighted to hear about your baby. The circle of life…
    Your description of you baking and a little one tugging at your apron brought a tear to my eye, seriously. You must be so happy!
    Welcome back to the kitchen, we’ve missed you and congratulations!!!

  25. Posted on: 3-25-2012

    Oh goodness, congrats! I was JUST thinking about you the other day and that I’d not looked at your blog (nor heard from you) for a bit. And, it all makes so much sense now. What a LOVELY cake recipe — and of course, your news is SO exciting. How wonderful.

  26. Posted on: 4-4-2012

    I love the way upside down cakes look – especially this one. And what a fun idea using semolina. Congratulations by the way! What a scrumptious way to celebrate.

  27. Posted on: 5-2-2012

    We got so excited when we saw blood oranges in Dubai this winter for the first time that we bought 2 crates! This is great use of them. The cake looks super moist too! Delectable!

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