When I’m not keeping up with the humdrum stuff of daily life, or cooking up some new recipe for this blog, I try and write….stories….. If I get the time, it’s usually mid-afternoon, and with a slice of Sfouf and a cup of Green Tea, my creative brain has a chance to flourish…ha …sometimes …
Sfouf is a lovely, yellow, spiced semolina and almond cake. The primary spice is Aniseed. Anise is an ancient spice, long cultivated in the Mediterranean Region. It has a sweet aromatic character, a little like liquorice. Medicinally, Anise is thought to have a carminative effect, and is often taken as tea, as well as being used to flavour confectionery and cakes.
Sfouf also includes turmeric, ground almonds and sesame.
It’s traditionally made without eggs, the only vegan adaptation here is the use of non-dairy milk.
A word of warning, I’m not fond of overly sweet flavours, so in my Sfouf recipe version, I have reduced the ‘standard’ amount of sugar by a third, and added extra aniseed…..
You may well want to add a little more sugar … it’s up to you, maybe up to about 50gms. more?
Sfouf means ‘rows’, so in the spirit of its name, I have made Sfouf in a square tin.
Finally, use a tin about 28-30cm square, as if the tin is too small, the cake will struggle rise properly, and will not easily set in the middle…
Lebanese Almond, Semolina and Anise Cake.
12-16 pieces thereabouts…
- 250gms. Semolina
- 100gms. self-raising flour
- 50gms. ground almonds
- 1.5 tsps. turmeric
- 3 tsps. aniseed seeds – ground
- 1.5 tsps. baking powder
- 200 gms. sugar – or more – depends on your tastebuds – ( I used unrefined light muscovado)
- 175gms. vegan spread, suitable for baking
- 400 ml. non-dairy milk ( I used oat milk)
- 3-4 tbs. tahini
- 40gms. sesame seeds
- 1tsp. aniseed seeds
- whole almonds to decorate
- Pre-heat oven : Gas Mk. 6 / 200C
- In a deep bowl, place the vegan spread and the sugar.
- Using a whisk (electric or hand), whisk spread and sugar together until throughly combined and creamy. 3 mins.
- Place all dry ingredients: semolina, flour, ground almonds, ground aniseed, baking powder and turmeric, in a separate bowl and mix well.
- To the creamed spread and sugar, add a little flour and a little non-dairy milk, a bit at a time. Whisk slowly to combine.
- Continue adding flour mix and milk little by little until all is combined. Finish with flour mix.
- If the mix separates a little, don’t worry, just continue whisking for another minute or so.
- At this point you will have a loose batter.
- Lightly oil a cake tin, (approx 28-30 cm square or 30cm/12″ round tin)
- Then pour 3-4 tbs. tahini into tin, and spread evenly round base and sides.
- Pour batter into tahini-lined tin.
- Mix 40gms. sesame seeds with 1 tsp. ground aniseed.
- Sprinkle over top of batter, and then distribute almonds decoratively, pressing them slightly into the batter.
- Place in middle of hot oven 30-40 mins: until golden, and until knife comes out clean.
Allow Sfouf to cool completely in tin.
Slice and serve with tea. Green Tea anyone?
Making proper Green Tea is a palaver…. I will blog it one day… in the meantime, this is my favourite green tea: