Semolina Cake


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If you’ve been looking for a simple, one-bowl dessert recipe, then this Semolina Cake is for you. Pouring lemon-infused simple syrup over the golden-yellow top keeps this cake moist for days after baking.

a piece of semolina cake topped with cream and strawberry slices on a small white plate

Who would have thought that a flour used mostly for pasta would make such a magical cake, but that’s exactly what durum flour does in this easy dessert recipe. This semolina cake has tons of fans thanks to its sweet and sticky bottom, moist middle, and cakey texture. It’s also universally loved because it’s just such a breeze to make.

Making the simple syrup a week or two in advance means all you need to do is mix your ingredients in a single bowl, bake the cake, and pour the sweetened syrup over the top before serving. The lemon in this cake gives it tons of spring and summer vibes, but adding a few warming spices instantly turns it into a cozy fall treat.

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lemon juice in a small metal bowl

How to Make It

  1. Make syrup: Bring water and ¾ cup sugar to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Allow to cool.
  1. Make the cake: Whisk together eggs and remaining sugar until combined. Add yogurt and vegetable oil and whisk again until evenly combined. Add semolina, all-purpose flour, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently fold ingredients together until just combined.
  1. Bake: Bake for 30-34 minutes. When the cake is done, the edges will be golden brown, and the texture will be firm but have a little spring.  
  1. Add syrup: Pour the syrup evenly over the cake, and allow it to absorb the sticky sweetness.
  1. Let the cake cool, and then serve. 
pouring semolina into cake batter in a white bowl

What is semolina flour?

Semolina flour is a hearty variety of yellow flour made from durum wheat. While semolina is most often used to make pasta – its super high protein content is great for helping pasta keep its shape after being cooked in boiling water, it also makes terrifically crumbly and textured baked treats. Because semolina naturally has a gorgeous yellow color, cakes and pastries made with semolina have the most beautiful color when you pull them from the oven.

pouring simple syrup over the cake in a clear baking dish

What is simple syrup and how to make it 

Simple syrup has tons of uses in the kitchen, and it can be made ahead and stored for up to a month in the refrigerator. Besides being an easy way to add some sweetness to baked goods, it’s also used in cocktails. If you love mojitos, mint juleps, gimlets, and old fashioneds, it doesn’t hurt to have some simple syrup on hand.

Making simple syrup is easy. Combine one part water and one part sugar in a saucepan, stirring occasionally until all of the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool before storing.

If you’re not a fan of sugar, you can also use a 1:1 ratio of honey and water.

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eggs, semolina flour, baking powder, vanilla, oil, sugar, and salt on a white table


  • Semolina – Semolina flour gives baked goods the most wonderful golden-yellow color, and dense, teacake-like texture.
  • Plain Yogurt – Plain yogurt has a tangy neutral flavor that allows the other flavors to shine. If you don’t have plain yogurt, non-fat Greek yogurt would also work. Using a berry flavored yogurt is also a popular choice if you’re layering in different fruit flavors.  
  • All-Purpose Flour – Semolina is our main flour ingredient, but we still need a few tablespoons of all purpose to hold the cake together.
  • Vegetable Oil – Vegetable oil is a good go-to baking oil for its neutral flavor. You could also try grapeseed, olive oil, coconut oil, or saffron oil.
  • Eggs, White Sugar, Pure Vanilla Extract, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt – Basic kitchen baking ingredients to add lift, bind the things together, and add a subtle sweet vanilla flavor.
  • Simple Syrup – The secret ingredient to a moist, sweet semolina cake is simple syrup. 


This semolina cake makes it so easy to add your own personal touches. There is no limit to the fun variations you can create using this cake as your base.

  • Add chopped pecans, almonds, or walnuts for a sweet, nutty flavor.
  • Substitute orange water or rosewater for the lemon.
  • Add dried fruits like chopped dates or apricots.
  • Lean into those spring and summer flavors by adding fresh strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries.
  • Including some shredded coconut to this semolina cake will add a little more sweetness and a fun crunch to each bite.
  • Craving some warm seasonal spices? Cardamon, nutmeg, and cinnamon would be divine in this recipe.

Recipe Tip

For an extra sweet and syrupy cake texture, pour the simple syrup over the cake and then let it rest overnight. Giving a few extra hours for the cake to absorb the syrup creates the most amazingly sweet bottom layer.

semolina yogurt cake in a clear baking dish on a cooling rack


Is semolina flour gluten-free?

Semolina is very high in gluten. If you have a gluten sensitivity, you could swap the semolina for a gluten-free flour like almond, coconut, or oat, but the finer texture of these flours will change the density of this cake. 

Can I freeze it?

If you want to freeze this cake and serve it at a later date, allow the cake to cool completely and skip adding the simple syrup. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap to preserve the freshness, and store in a sealed container. When you’re ready to serve, bring the cake to room temperature, and pour the simple syrup over the top. Slice, serve, and watch it disappear.

How do you store semolina cake?

Semolina cake is one of those cakes that is great at room temperature, or with a little chill on it. You can store this cake by letting it cool, and tightly covering the cake pan with plastic wrap. Store for up to 3 days.

a slice of semolina yogurt cake on a plate next to the whole cake

More Easy 8×8 Cakes

a piece of semolina yogurt cake topped with whipped cream and strawberries with a fork in it

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4.38 from 167 votes

Semolina Cake Recipe

Made with yogurt and semolina flour, Semolina Cake is a one-bowl dessert or snack that doesn't require a mixer and comes out moist, tangy, and delicious.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 9 servings


  • Mixing Bowls
  • Square Baking Dish
  • Saucepan
  • Whisk


For the syrup:

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)

For the cake:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (see note)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup semolina (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F / 177°C
  • Lightly grease an 8”x8” (20 cm x 20 cm) baking dish with cooking spray or lightly rub it with cooking oil.
  • Make syrup: Combine water and 3/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 1 minute to fully dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice (if using). Set aside to cool completely.
  • Make the cake: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and 1/2 cup sugar until sugar dissolves. Add yogurt and vegetable oil and whisk again until evenly combined. Add semolina, all-purpose flour, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir just until everything is combined (do not overmix). Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake: Bake until the center of the cake is set and the edges are golden brown and start to pull away from the sides, 30 to 34 minutes. (Note: Gently press on the cake in the center to be sure that it has cooked all the way through – it should have a springy but firm texture.)
  • Add syrup: Remove the cake from the oven and slowly pour the syrup over top, making sure to pour syrup evenly over the entire surface. (Note: much of the syrup will drip down the sides which is fine. The cake will absorb the syrup from the bottom as it sits.)
  • Let the cake cool completely before slicing and serving. (The cake is also great served chilled. If not serving immediately, store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)


Semolina – Semolina is flour made from durum wheat. It’s most commonly used in making pasta, but lends a nice crumb and slightly nutty flavor to this cake.
Yogurt – Plain yogurt works best in this recipe. I have made it with nonfat Greek yogurt as well and had good results. Do not use a full fat Greek yogurt – it is too thick for a properly baked cake. I’ve never tried it with flavored yogurt, but I’m sure it would be great that way!
Syrup – Pouring the sweetened syrup over the finished cake makes the resulting cake super moist. Many reviewers have made this cake without the syrup (or have reduced the syrup), and loved the result. If you’re looking for a lighter, less-sweet cake, feel free to adjust the amount of syrup you use. If you’re planning to stir in mix-ins or just want to skip the lemon flavor, feel free to leave out the lemon juice.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 220mg | Potassium: 143mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $5.00
Calories: 314
Keyword: easy dessert recipe, easy snack cake, one-bowl cake
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

4.38 from 167 votes (146 ratings without comment)

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  1. Hi Jess, I grew up on Semolina cakes and my mom used to freehand this recipe, So reading that you added eggs to this surprises me because she never did LOL it was equal amounts of dry to wet ingredients, all by eye and the syrup is the treat, you can add a cinnamon stick to enhance the flavour 😀

    1. I love that people can bake that way by eye! What a wonderful memory of your mom. I love the idea to add a cinnamon stick- I’m going to try it!

  2. 5 stars
    I tried this today and it worked out really well. I have a surplus of semolina and stumbled across this recipe. It’s a really good way to use semolina rather than the usual pudding.

    1. In the instruction it does not say if you turn the cake out after it comes out of oven . It just says to pour syrup evenly over top. Do you turn it out while it is still hot, directly from oven or do you let it cool for a few minutes? This seems like it might make or break a recipe if not done correctly.

  3. I’ve already started mixing my ingredients and realized I only have 1/2 cup semolina left. Can I use flour to replace the other half cup of semolina? Or would that not work 🤔

    1. Hi Jody – I’m sorry I’m getting to your question late, but hopefully you went ahead and used regular flour. It should work fine, but probably won’t have quite the same light texture that it has with the higher amount of semolina

    1. I’m not super familiar with semola flour, but I believe it’s much more finely ground than semolina which has a slightly rough texture. I’ve never tried it, but I suspect the results will be quite different if using semola.

    1. Should work fine! Since buttermilk can be a bit more thin than yogurt, you may have a more thin batter, but I’d guess the cake will bake up just fine.

  4. Hello, this recipe looks great! I’m doing a bake off for work and only have time to bake on the sunday. What would be the best way to store this until tuesday?

    Thank you

    1. Apologies Sophie – I’m getting to this question late, but hopefully you went ahead and baked the cake. You can bake it just as directed and store in the refrigerator until Tuesday. It will be great!

  5. 5 stars
    Made this recipe for my mother (followed metric) and she absolutely loved it. Bookmarked for a go to recipe