This semolina date and orange cake is so flavourful, you’ll be craving for more! The bittersweet taste of the orange peel and dates is just mouth-watering. Make this perfectly moist semolina cake for an anniversary, birthday, or even Christmas.
Mom’s birthday was coming up. So as always, we decided to bake her a cake. We bake every now and then, and have tried almost every recipe there is out there.
Okay, maybe not every recipe. We were going to bake a date and walnut cake, but wanted to try something different this time.
Remembering that we had some orange peel stored, we figured why not use that instead of the walnuts. Yes, there are versions of cakes that use orange juice or candied oranges. But this cake with orange peel is a lot better!
Also since we’re trying to eat a tad healthier, we used Semolina (Sooji or Rava) instead of Refined Flour (Maida). And really, who doesn’t love cake? And if it’s even 5 percent healthier, that’s all the better!
To reduce the bitterness of the orange peel we boiled it in a sugar syrup for a bit. Et voila, an orange cake that tastes better without even needing candied peel. A really good use of orange skins! The cake has been quality tested by relatives and cousins, and we got orders for more already! Except we don’t take orders anymore. 😉
If you want to try our date and orange semolina cake recipe yourself, go ahead. You’ll love it!
What ingredients do you need for our Date and Orange Semolina Cake?
All you need to make our moist orange peel and semolina cake is Semolina, called Suji or Sooji or Rava in India, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla essence, black dates, orange peel, and water. Glycerine is an optional ingredient.
How to make a Semolina Date and Orange Cake?
For the candied peel: Start by cutting the orange peel into tiny pieces. Add water and sugar in a vessel and stir on high flame for a few minutes. After it becomes thick like a syrup (we call this a mel), add the orange peel and stir for about 3 mins. Allow the oranges to soak in the mel (syrup) and cool.
For the dates: Shred each date into smaller pieces, and discard the seeds, if any. We usually use seedless black dates. Coat each piece in a little bit of semolina so they do not stick to each other.
For the cake batter: Add eggs to a vessel and beat them. We usually do this by hand using a whisk or a fork. You can use a hand mixer if you have one.
Add in the butter, vanilla essence, glycerine and sugar and mix well.
Mix the semolina and baking powder together, then add them to the butter-sugar-egg batter. Mix it well and allow to rest for an hour.
Lastly, fold in the semolina-coated-dates and orange peel to the batter. Line two cake tins with butter paper and fill them. We used one 6-inch tin and one 8-inch tin. But you can use any size.
Allow the cakes to bake in the oven for 60 minutes at 220 degrees Celsius. (We’re using a traditional fanless oven here. If you’re using an oven with a fan, you can bake at 200 C ) Once the timer has gone off, you can check if it’s ready by staking the cake in the center with a toothpick or knife. If it comes out clean, it’s done, but if some batter is stuck you need to leave it in for a little more time, say 10 to 15 minutes. Then check again and if it’s ready, remove it out to cool.
Moist Semolina Date and Orange Cake
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- 250 gms Semolina Also called Rava or Suji or Sooji in India
- 230 gms Butter
- 200 gms Sugar
- 5 Eggs
- 2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 10 ml Vanilla Essence
- 1 teaspoon Glycerine Optional
- 250 gms Dates
Candied Orange Peel
- 100 gms Orange Peel
- 50 gms Sugar
- 100 ml Water
Make the Candied Orange Peel
- Chop the orange peel (orange skin) into fine pieces.
- In a small vessel, add the sugar and water and heat on high flame for 2 mins to form a sugar mel (syrup).
- Next, add the chopped orange peel and mix on low flame for 3 mins.
- Remove from stove, and allow the peel to soak in the sugar mel (syrup) and cool.
Chop the Dates and Coat with Semolina
- Break the seedless dates into small cm or inch sized pieces.
- Coat the date pieces with a bit of the semolina so that they do not stick to each other. Set aside.
Make the Cake Batter
- Beat the eggs to a froth. Then add the vanilla essence, butter, sugar, and glycerine (optional) and mix well.
- Mix the semolina and baking powder. Add this to the batter and mix. Allow to rest for 1 hour.
- Lastly, stir in the broken dates and orange peel.
- Line two cake tins with butter paper. Fill with the cake batter and bake at 220 degrees Celsius in a fanless oven (200 C in a fan oven) for 60 minutes.
- Take a toothpick and poke it through the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it's done. If it comes out with a bit of batter on top, leave it in there for another 10 to 15 minutes. Then test again to confirm it's done.
- Cool and serve! But it tastes great warm too!
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- First, prepare the candied orange peel and the dates and set aside. Then start with the cake batter.
- Use seedless black dates, so that you save the time of actually having to remove the seeds.
- You can use ready candied peel which is less bitter if you do not want to make it at home. But we love the slight bitterness that fresh peel gives.
Nutrition (Per Serving)
Disclaimer: Nutrition Information per serving is estimated by a third party software based on the ingredients used, and is for informational purposes only. It will vary from product to product, based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients. Please consult the package labels of the ingredients you use, or chat with your dietician for specific details.
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What’s perfect about this Semolina Cake recipe?
- Using semolina instead of refined flour (maida) makes this cake a little healthier than others.
- The bitter-sweet taste of the oranges and dates is a satisfying contrast.
- You’re making use of orange peel that you’ve taken straight off the oranges instead of buying candied peel from a store.
Cooking Tips and tricks
- Prepare the orange peel and dates before you begin mixing the batter.
- You can use storebought ready candied peel if you do not want to make it at home. But really, homemade is so much tastier.
- Using seedless black dates instead of deseeding the dates helps reduce preparation time.
Questions about Our Semolina Date and Orange Cake Recipe
What Is Semolina or Rawa?
Semolina is granulated wheat. It is called Suji, Sooji, or Rava in India.
Isn’t The Orange Peel Bitter?
The orange peel does have a slightly bitter taste, but the combination with the sweet dates forms the perfect contrast.
Can I Use Candied Orange Peel Instead Of Fresh Orange Peel?
Yes, you can use candied orange peel. This does not have a bitter taste. But if you have the time, try fresh orange peel. You’ll love it!
Can I Use Dry Dates?
No, for this semolina recipe it is better to use wet black or red dates.
What Did You Mean About Having Stored Orange Peel?
That’s the best question! Whenever we buy oranges, we save some of the peels in the freezer. Just wash the peel lightly so that it doesn’t lose its zest but is clean. Then put it in an airtight container and freeze. Whenever you need to use the peel, take it out of the freezer about an hour before use. This peel lasts for months and is perfect when you need orange peel out of season.
Why Are You Baking At 220 C?
We bake the cake at 220 C in a traditional fanless oven. If you’re using a fan oven, bake at 200 C. Also, I used these temperatures because with the dates and orange peel I used, I wanted a denser cake, but you can reduce the temperature if you want a lighter cake.
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- Honeyballs, the East Indian semolina dessert
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Although Sarah has worked in travel for 15 years and specializes in Africa, she loves music, wine, food, and travel. Armed with her Canon, she’s on a mission to photograph food showcasing her East Indian community’s traditional recipes on the blog. And Abby is forever grateful!