Pistachio Rose Semolina Cake

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An easy but exotic cake that sounds as impressive as it tastes.

Pistachio and rose is one of those surprising flavour combos that works so well together you will wonder why you never tried this before. Unless you have. Then you know what I am talking about!

I can’t take the credit for the origins of this recipe. My sister and I were first was introduced to the flavours at a local market from a small local bake shop. I honestly don’t even remember where we got it from, but it was divine. So of course in true foodie fashion, we both had to google the recipe and try it for ourselves. There are a few versions of this Pistachio Rose Semolina Cake floating around out there, but honestly every time I made any of those, I always ended up editing those recipes a bit to suit my tastes. Most were either too sweet (using both sugar in the cake and dousing it with sugar syrup too) or too greasy (using over 1.5 cups of butter!) and dense for me. So here is my ‘lighter’ less sweet version that still tastes amazing.

The texture of this pistachio rose semolina cake is a strange combo of light and almost crunchy. The semolina flour in the batter gives the cake a chewier texture. But in a good way. The almond and pistachio flours add to the texture, while the light lemon juice and rose water flavours fill your mouth.

This Pistachio Rose Semolina cake is light, moist and fragrant and sure to impress.

Pistachio Rose Semolina Cake

An easy and exotic cake that sounds as impressive as it tastes. The semolina flour gives the cake a chewier texture. This cake is light, moist and fragrant and sure to impress.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Resting Time1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time2 hours 25 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 8


For the Cake

  • 1 cup room temperature butter (plus more for greasing pan)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 cup raw shelled, unsalted pistachios (plus more for decorating the cake)*
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature is best)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (approx. 1 medium lemon)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (approx. 1 medium lemon)
  • 2 tbsp rose water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch edible rose petals (optional – for the topping)

For the Glaze

  • 1 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • pinch cardamom


The Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350*F (175*C).
  • Grease the bottom and sides of 9-inch round cake pan or springform pan with some butter and line the bottom with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a food processor or blender, pulse 1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, and 1/2 tsp cardamom powder till it forms a fine powder.
  • Place the ground pistachio mixture in a large bowl, add 1 cup almond flour, 1 cup semolina, 1 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix well and set aside.
  • In an electric mixer with whisk attachment, cream the 1 cup butter and 3/4 cup sugar till light and fluffy (about 5 mins). Scrape down the sides of the mixer, and cream the butter one more time to make sure it is well blended. Slowly add the 4 eggs, one at a time, mixing well to combine, and scraping down the sides, before adding each one.
  • Remove the wet ingredients from the electric mixer. Now, using a spatula, gently start to fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Be careful not to over mix.
  • Add the 1 tsp lemon zest, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp rose water and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and fold it a few more times till just mixed. Again, be careful not to over mix. The batter will be quite thick.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish (it will be quite thick) and spread out with the back of your spatula to fill the pan. Bake for 55 to 60 mins till the edges turn golden, top is firm, and a wooden toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, but oily.
  • Let the cake rest for at least 10 mins before removing from the pan. Allow to cool completely before glazing and serving.

The Glaze

  • While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze.
  • In a small bowl mix: 1 cup icing sugar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp rose water, and pinch of cardamom till the lumps disappear and it forms a nice smooth glaze (it should have the consistency of honey. If it is too thin you may need to add more icing sugar to help thicken it. Too thick? Add a drop or two of water – a little goes a long way).
  • Set aside at room temperature till ready to glaze the cake. It may thicken and settle a bit if it sits for too long, so give it a stir again before using.

To Serve

  • When the cake has completely cooled (this is important, even if it is still a bit warm the cake will drink up all the glaze and it won't get that nice white layer on top), drizzle the prepared glaze over the cake and gently spread to coat. Allow the excess to drip off the sides of the cake.
  • Sprinkle with more chopped pistachios and some rose petals and serve.


*If you cannot find unsalted pistachios, you can use salted shelled pistachios, but make sure to adjust the recipe and skip the salt.Β 
The cake will keep well at room temperature for 2-3 days, but then I do recommend refrigerating and finishing it within 1 week of making it. But honestly it has never lasted that long for us.Β Β 

Got leftover rose water? Try my rose water refresher drink.

2 thoughts on “Pistachio Rose Semolina Cake

  1. Your friends want them. Your coworkers want them. Your neighbors want them. Heck! Even you want them! It’s a holiday baking thrown down this Saturday in these parts. It’s getti real and it’s gettin yummy – Real Yummy! We’ve got lots to make including our Holiday White Chocolate M&M Cookies. A warning to our peeps -stay out of our way until the Christmas tins are full. Then, by all means, sample away! Baking spirits bright is tough job, but we’re up for the challenge!

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