Orange Upside-Down Semolina Cake (Vegan)
Who doesn’t love the look of an upside-down cake?
This semolina cake has that unique semolina mouth feel that entertains your tongue while all three permutations of citrus sparkle on your taste buds.
Inspired by the ambrosial slices of revani (greek semolina cake) found in tavernas across Greece. As a little girl I remember sitting down on a lemon blossom night to a slice so generous it was seemingly cut from the moon itself. Each rich forkful a play between burnt sugar, orange marmalade, and soothing vanilla.
“Gradually the magic of the island settled over us as gently and clingingly as pollen.”
-Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals
The first time we rode the train from Athens to Denmark my mother sat us (her daughters) primly, properly, oh so Danishly on either side of her on the bench, in the railway compartment.
As the train pulled from the station a sound arose like the flapping of wings, the rustling of grasses, it was the greek matrons unwrapping a feast of wax paper swaddled food.
While our mother had carefully packed enough dry sandwiches to last us the journey, these grecian goddesses unpacked a bounty from their hand woven baskets. Whole mahogany chickens emerged, roasted lemony potatoes, oranges and watermelon materialized. Loaf upon loaf of fresh bread was torn or sliced and passed around.
Visitors came and went from the other compartments sharing food and laughter.
The train had become a village, a home and we as foreigners were their guests. They insisted we share in their well laid table.
Like the never ending silk scarves of a magician, no sooner had one course been cleared then another appeared, cakes, pastries, fruits, all was shared. Coffee and tea could be bought from your window at train stations and drunk while the train was at the platform.
[Telemachos] saw Athene and went straight to the forecourt, the heart within him scandalized that a guest should still be standing at the doors. He stood beside her and took her by the right hand, and relieved her of the bronze spear, and spoke to her and addressed her in winged words: ‘Welcome, stranger. You shall be entertained as a guest among us. Afterward, when you have tasted dinner, you shall tell us what your need is.’ ” -Homer, The Odyssey
A moist Orange Semolina Upside-down Cake that will have your friends swooning with each orangey bite.
- 3-4 oranges
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp orange blossom water
- 1 tsp pomegranate molases
- 1/2 tbsp vegan butter
- 3 tbsp orange liqueur
Oil a 9 inch springform pan and heat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Slice your oranges into thin half rounds or full circles.
Place brown, white sugar, orange liquor, and pomegranate molasses into a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. After simmering for 4-5 minutes add the butter and stir until incorporated. Remove from heat and stir in the orange blossom water.
Pour the caramel mixture evenly onto the bottom on the prepared pan. Arrange thinly sliced oranges in a pleasing concentric pattern at the bottom of the pan. (You'll not there are two differently patterned cakes photographed for this post.
Whisk semolina, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, cardamom, and salt in a medium bowl.
Whisk yogurt, orange juice concentrate, vanilla and aquafaba together into a large bowl. I just whisk in the orange concentrate frozen cause it melts and incorporates quite easily.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until fully incorporated. Now stir in the melted butter.
Pour the batter over the sliced oranges into the prepared pan.
Bake 55–65 minutes until set. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Place a plate over top of pan, unlatch the springform hook, say a prayer cake and flip.
This cake keeps marvelously well tightly wrapped and placed in the fridge. I've kept it up t three days in the fridge and when I unwrapped it it was as moist as the day I made it.