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Semolina Kumquat Cake

Semolina Kumquat Cake


When I think of semolina I usually think of pasta. But this time I knew I wanted to do something different besides making a bunch of noodles. Semolina flour is made from pure durum wheat that has been grinded into a sandy texture. When added to a cake batter it creates a course texture which makes it ideal for absorbing a sweet sugar syrup. Just so happens a friend gifted me with a bag of her homegrown kumquats. As I said before, we pop them like candy around my house! So it was a no-brainer to me to make Kumquat Sugar Syrup. This Semolina Kumquat Cake  is so easy to make and if your not into kumquats, just about any flavor of sugar syrup would work to top it off. I didn’t want to make the cake super soggy so I chose to add just about a cup of syrup after baking. It was perfect! Just enough juice with every bite. I saved the leftover syrup and used it to top morning waffles and even added some to coleslaw for dinner tonight! Yum!


Semolina Kumquat Cake
Recipe type: Dessert

A springform pan makes it easy to remove the cake after applying sugar syrup.
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, plain or vanilla
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
Kumquat Sugar Syrup
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 cup kumquats, sliced thin

  1. Prepare a 9″ round pan with cooking spray and parchment circle on bottom of pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time and mix well.
  5. Add yogurt and mix well.
  6. In another bowl, mix together baking powder, salt and flours.
  7. Gradually add to wet mixture.
  8. Pour into prepared pan and bake 40 minutes until center is set.
  9. Allow cake to cool slightly then poke holes with skewer or toothpick.
  10. Pour syrup over cake (just about 1 cup). Use a fork to spread around kumquats.
  11. Let cake cool completely before serving.
  12. While cake is baking, make kumquat syrup.
Kumquat Sugar Syrup
  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water.
  2. Heat over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.
  3. Add sliced kumquats and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside.

Burnt Sugar Syrup Buttercream on Oatmeal Cookies

Burnt Sugar Syrup Buttercream



I’m a buttercream fanatic that’s for sure. I love all types and flavors. And when I found myself with leftover Burnt Sugar Syrup from making Black Cake, I couldn’t wait to add it to buttercream. The burnt sugar syrup is so unique in smell and taste. I just love the smokiness that comes from the cooked sugar. I had the best intentions of making a cake and covering it with this Burnt Sugar Syrup Buttercream but I quickly changed my mind when the oatmeal cookies came out of the oven. Just as I imagined, burnt sugar syrup buttercream on oatmeal cookies is a killer combination! You’ll have to think ahead to make this one since the burnt sugar syrup is the key ingredient in this buttercream. It needs to be made and allowed to cool before adding it to the buttercream. Whip up a batch of your favorite oatmeal cookies and your in for a real treat!



Burnt Sugar Syrup Buttercream

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup burnt sugar syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 16 oz. powdered sugar, sifted

  1. Cream butter in a large bowl.
  2. Add burnt sugar syrup and vanilla; stir well.
  3. Gradually add in powdered sugar; stir until smooth and spreadable.

Black Cake

Black Cake



I had the best time making this Black Cake. This Caribbean cake is typically served on special occasions and is also known as Christmas cake, wedding cake and rum cake. While there are different versions I came up with this one at the request of my friend from Trinidad. The cake is super moist filled with rum-soaked fruit and some citrus accents of lime and candied orange peel. It all starts with the making of the crucial ingredient Burnt Sugar Syrup. I know that might sound a little scary at first but it really isn’t at all. It’s almost like making a simple syrup only you melt the sugar first then add the water. The smell and taste is something I’ve never had before.  It’s similar to molasses but with an added smokey sweetness. The burnt sugar syrup, also known as “browning”, gives the cake that rich dark color. While it’s best to soak the fruits for days, it is possible to do this step overnight. And all that liquor keeps the cake preserved so you can enjoy it even months later. One of my favorite things about baking for others is learning about their culture. I was thrilled to hear not only did my friend love the cake but so did her mother!



Black Cake Fruits

                                           Fruits-chopped and ready for rum!


Black Cake Batter

                                           Don’t worry-batter is pale in color to start.

Black Cake
Recipe type: Dessert

You need to start soaking the fruit days ahead with this cake but it’s really worth it!
Fruit Mixture
  • 3½ cups dark rum
  • 2 cups cherry brandy
  • dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 lb. prunes
  • 1 lb. currants
  • ½ lb. raisins
  • ½ lb. candied cherries
  • ¼ lb. candied orange peel
  • 5 cups rum-soaked fruit
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • dash salt
  • ⅓ cup burnt sugar syrup
  • ½ cup dark rum

Fruit Mixture
  1. In a food processor, process prunes, cherries and orange peel into small chunks.
  2. Add to raisins and currants in a large bowl, preferably glass.
  3. Add rum, brandy and bitters and stir well.
  4. Cover and leave in a cool spot 3-5 days (the longer the better!)
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Prepare pan with double-lined parchment and cooking spray.
  3. In a bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time.
  5. Add almond extract and lime zest. Mix well.
  6. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, spices and salt.
  7. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.
  8. Stir in 5 cups rum-soaked fruit.
  9. Add burnt sugar syrup and stir well.
  10. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 2½ to 3 hours or until center is set.
  11. Once removed from the oven, brush to top with rum.
  12. When cake has cooled, cover and set in a dark place.
  13. Repeat with rum one or two more times.

Homemade Burnt Sugar Syrup

Homemade Burnt Sugar Syrup



Recently I was met with a new challenge. I was asked by a friend from Trinidad to make a Black Cake. Since I had never heard of this cake before I was excited to learn more. This Caribbean cake calls for an ingredient known as Burnt Sugar Syrup. While I’m always up for a hunt when I need a certain something for a recipe, I kept batting zero on my search for Burnt Sugar Syrup. I don’t know how many little markets I called when finally one sweet lady told me I wasn’t going to find it in the area. I told her I know–I’ve been looking!  She then asked why don’t I just make it and assured me it was easy to do. At first, I was scared thinking–how will I know how much to burn it?  Well, the truth is you don’t burn it. All your really doing is “melting” the sugar and by doing that, the most amazing smokiness comes out of the sugar. It’s almost like a molasses. I honestly couldn’t keep my nose out of the jar. I kept going back and sneaking another whiff. Mmm!  Now that I have a new friend in Burnt Sugar Syrup, I can’t wait to use it in all kinds of recipes.



Homemade Burnt Sugar Syrup

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup hot water

  1. Heat brown sugar over low heat until melted; Resist from stirring too much.
  2. Remove from heat and slowly add hot water (splatters some but will calm down)
  3. Stir together well.
  4. Return pan to heat and continue cooking another 5 minutes over low heat.
  5. Syrup will be thin when hot and thickens as it cools.
  6. Remove from heat; set aside to cool.
  7. Store in refrigerator in covered container.

Raspberry Rose Sorbet

Raspberry Rose Sorbet


It’s just perfect timing for Valentine’s Day. I had a bottle of rose water in the fridge and came across this silicone rose mold I had shoved in the back of the cupboard.


Raspberry Rose Sorbet Mold


These silicone molds are perfect for sorbet. Easy to fill and easy to release.They can turn sorbet into a very elegant dessert. Rose water is the key ingredient in this Raspberry Rose Sorbet. If you’ve never cooked with it, start out slow. Too much can overpower but the right amount is delightful. This is not the first time I have played with rose water. Rose Petal Jelly was my first experience and I knew it wouldn’t be my last. I absolutely love the floral touch it added to my recipes. There’s nothing better than making your own rose water. It makes the whole house smell amazing. Another fun touch to this Raspberry Rose Sorbet was making candy leaves. Roses and candy, what more could a girl want on Valentine’s Day!


Raspberry Rose Sorbet

  • 12 oz. frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons rose water
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ cups sugar
Candy Leaves
  • Wilton Candy Melts, green
  • silicone rose leaf veiner

  1. Puree raspberries in food processor.
  2. Press mixture through a fine sieve to remove seeds.
  3. Pour it in a 2 cup measure and add water, if necessary, to equal 2 cups.
  4. Add rose water to mixture and pour into a bowl.
  5. In a small saucepan, mix water and sugar.
  6. Heat until it boils and sugar is dissolved.
  7. Add sugar mixture to juice in bowl and stir well.
  8. Refrigerate until very cold.
  9. Process sorbet in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions.
  10. Fill mold and freeze.
  11. Once firm, release from mold and serve immediately.
Candy Leaves
  1. Soften candy melts in microwave.
  2. Spread an even layer on one side of veiner.
  3. Apply second piece, careful not to press hard.
  4. Wipe away any candy that oozed out side.
  5. Place in the refrigerator 5-10 minutes, until firm.
  6. Gently remove from veiner.
  7. Use knife if necessary to smooth edges.

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