Rose and Semolina Birthday Cake

This cake is a true family birthday cake. I made it for my mum’s birthday at the end of January, but because I was ill, I ended up cancelling my trip and the cake ended up in the freezer. Then I was going to go to Newcastle to celebrate the March birthdays (Dad’s and Aunty Joan’s) as well as Mother’s Day but this was just before lockdown and we decided to cancel that as well, so the cake stayed in the freezer. Finally, it was my birthday and the cake came out! Actually, I made six of these mini bundts, so to be honest I did try one to make sure it was ok after being in the freezer for all that time! (It was fine).

I made the syrup with rose water rather than fresh rose petals and added the fennel and cardamom as suggested in the recipe. I had the butterflies, made from rice paper, in my cake decorating box so decided to use them.  The original recipe comes from:

  • Sponge Ingredients
  • 125g baking spread or softened butter
  • 125g golden caster sugar
  • 90g ground almonds
  • 130g fine semolina flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tablespoon rose syrup or 1/2 tsp rose extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • pinch of salt


  • Preheat the oven to 160c fan
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the butter or baking spread (margarine) with the sugar and beat for about 4 minutes, then scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Then mix again for 1 or two minutes or until really pale and creamy.
  • Add one egg and mix at high speed for 2 minutes, then scrape around the sides of the bowl and mix again for another 2 minutes, then add the next egg and mix again for two minutes. scrape the bowl and add the last egg and mix for 2 minutes until thick and creamy.
  • Add the rose syrup, or extract and vanilla and mix.
  • Mix the semolina, almonds and baking powder together with a pinch of salt, then fold until combined then add the mix and mix in.
  • Pour into a lined 9 inch cake tin, (I used a mini bundt tin) and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.
  • Once completely cooled, drizzle over some syrup to make it into a delicious moist semolina cake and serve with praline and cream or creme fraiche.

Wild rose syrup with cardamom and fennel seeds


  • 2 cups fresh wild rose petals (garden roses will also work) or use 1 tsp rose water
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 650ml water
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 cup caster sugar


In a pan add the rose petals, water, cardamom and fennel seeds then simmer for 20 minutes on a medium heat. Strain liquid and remove the petals and seeds then pour back into the pan.

Then add the sugar, stir to combine and reduce until syrupy (about 5 to 8 minutes)

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