the Reads: Eats & Drinks

Our take on Ottolenghi’s Pistachio & Rosewater Semolina Cake

This recipe is an edited extract from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh (published by Penguin, RRP $55). On sale now.


  • 3 cardamom pods, bruised, seeds reserved, pods discarded
  • 1 cup (150g) pistachios, plus extra chopped pistachios to serve
  • 1 cup (100g) almond meal
  • 170g fine semolina – I REPLACED WITH ANOTHER 170G ALMOND MEAL
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 300g unsalted butter, chopped, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (330g) caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs rosewater
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Rosewater cream

  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • 200g creme fraiche
  • 1 tbs icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbs rosewater


  • 100ml lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) rosewater
  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar

Crystallised rose petals (optional)

  • 1 eggwhite
  • 10g (about 40) edible red or dark pink rose petals (from gourmet food shops)
  • 25g caster sugar

  • Preheat oven to 80°C. Grease a baking tray and line with baking paper. Grease a 23cm springform cake pan and line with baking paper.
  • For the crystallised rose petals, if using, whisk eggwhite until frothy. In 2 batches, use a small pastry brush to very lightly paint over both sides of each petal with eggwhite, then sprinkle with sugar. Shake off excess sugar and arrange petals on the prepared tray. Bake for 30 minutes or until petals are dry and crunchy, then set aside to cool.
  • Increase oven to 180°C.
  • To make the cake, place cardamom seeds and pistachios in a food processor and whiz until pistachios are finely ground. Transfer pistachio mixture to a bowl and add almond meal, semolina, baking powder and 1/4 tsp fine salt. Stir to combine.
  • Place butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until well combined (be careful not to overwork – you don’t want a lot of air in the mixture). With the motor running, slowly add egg, beating well. Fold through the pistachio mixture, then fold through lemon zest and juice, rosewater and vanilla until just combined. Spread batter into prepared pan and use a palette knife to smooth the surface. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean but a little oily.
  • Meanwhile, for the rosewater cream, place all ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk to medium peaks. Cover and chill until needed.
  • For the syrup, in the final 10 minutes of cake cooking, place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, drizzle with hot syrup (it looks like a lot of syrup; the hot cake will absorb it). Sprinkle with extra pistachios and set cake aside in the pan to cool to room temperature.
  • Remove cake from the pan and scatter with crystallised rose petals, if using, breaking some into pieces. Serve with rosewater cream.