Pistachio Cardamom Semolina Cake

The original recipe was Pistachio Rosewater Semolina Cake, from the NYTimes. I took the rosewater out of the cake, did not make the candied rose petals (but include the directions for below), did not make a rose syrup or rose cream (but directions are still included), and I iced it with a simple whipped cream and confectioners sugar.

  • 150 grams shelled pistachios, plus 2 tablespoons, finely chopped, for serving
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 100 grams almond meal
  • 170 grams fine semolina flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 300 grams unsalted butter 
  • 330 grams granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  •  Finely grated zest of 1 lemon(about 1 teaspoon), plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease a 9-inch/23-centimeter round springform pan and line with parchment paper. Preheat oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Combine pistachios and cardamom in a food processor. Process until the nuts are finely ground, then transfer to a bowl. Add almond meal, semolina, baking powder and salt. Mix together and set aside.
  3. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until fully combined, but take care not to overwork it; you don’t want to incorporate a lot of air into the mixture. With the machine still running, slowly add eggs, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times and making sure that each batch is fully incorporated before adding the next. The mixture will curdle once the eggs are added, but don’t worry; this will not affect the end result.
  4. Remove the bowl from the machine and add the dry ingredients, folding them in by hand and, again, taking care not to overmix. Next fold in lemon zest, lemon juice, rose water and vanilla extract and scrape the batter into the pan. Level with an offset spatula and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean but oily.

(The cake keeps well for up to 5 days in an airtight container. The rose petals should be sprinkled over just before serving.)


  • 1 large egg white
  •  About 40 medium pesticide-free red or pink rose petals (from about 2 roses)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Heat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit/100 degrees Celsius. Whisk egg white by hand until frothy. Then, using a small pastry brush or paintbrush, very lightly paint both sides of each petal with egg white; do this in a few small batches, brushing and then sprinkling the sugar lightly over both sides of each petal. Shake off excess sugar and lay petals on the lined baking sheet. Place in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until dry and crunchy, then set aside to cool.


  • ¾ cup/190 grams plain Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup/200 grams crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rose water

Place all the ingredients for the cream in a bowl and whisk to beat everything together for about 2 minutes, until thick. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


  • ½ cup/120 milliliters lemon juice
  •  cup/80 milliliters rose water
  • ½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar

About 10 minutes before the cake comes out of the oven (you want the syrup to be warm when the cake is ready), place all the ingredients for the syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring so that the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat. Don’t worry that the consistency is thinner than you might expect; this is how it should be.  As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, drizzle all of the syrup over the top.


About prhscience

A Science Educator and her students.
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