This is a traditional cake usually made by Eurasians. My mum had an Eurasian friend and her family used to make this cake for all special occasions. My mother and I would always be invited to their family events so that’s how I came to know that there is such a cake. There was always a good devil curry, crusty bread and many types of cakes. The highlight is the Sooji Butter cake which is very big (12 inches in diameter and about 4 inches in height.) Lots of nuts will be decorated on top of the cake, especially almond shavings.
This Eurasian family had many members congregating during these occasions. And after all the food had been consumed, I remember watching movies from a home projector with one side of the wall as the screen. This is where I watched movies of Cliff Richard, Sean Connery, Elvis Presley and many good looking actors of yesteryear! Many years later when I was working, one of my duties was to scout for movies and documentaries for the staff, and I knew how to work that projector immediately. My mum just loved Elvis so much that she would hum his songs sometimes. You will be surprised to know that I can remember all the above even though I was only about 6 or 7 years old then. My mother’s favourite cakes were Sooji Butter Cake and Mixed Fruit Cake. Whenever I bake these cakes now, I will tell my mum to come and taste it (in my mind, of course).
Even though I don’t have the recipe for this cake from my mum’s friend, I just wish they will get to see my blog and will manage to connect with me someday! My heart feels so happy when I recollect such pretty memories.
With this in mind, I did some research and managed to come up with a recipe for a simple, easy to make and yet beautiful Sooji Butter Cake. I was teaching this cake to some baking enthusiasts recently and all said the cake was sooo good and fantastic. Here it is!
100g caster sugar
½ cup milk
100g semolina (sooji flour)*
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
120g ground almonds
70g chopped almonds
2 egg yolks
100g caster sugar – you can reduce it to 80g if you want the cake to be less sweet
1 tsp vanilla extract
Step 1: Cream butter and sugar till white. Add the semolina and milk. Mix well. Put this aside at least for 1 hour or more.
Preheat oven to 170C.
Step 2: Sift flour, and baking powder, then mix in all the almonds.
Step 3: Beat the eggs together, add the sugar and continue beating till frothy. Add in the vanilla extract.
Fold this egg mixture into the semolina & butter mixture (step 1) a little at a time and also fold in the flour (step 2).
Do not overmix at this stage.
Pour mixture into a prepared baking tin and bake for 40 mins or till golden brown.
*Semolina is a type of flour, and it is slightly coarse. Use very clean semolina with no foreign particles.
** Eggs must be at least 56 to 60 grams each .
This cake will not rise very much as it has lots of ground and chopped almonds.
Prepare the baking tin either by putting baking paper on the bottom of the pan and the sides. Or if you prefer, brush with butter and sprinkle some plain flour onto tin. Remove all excess flour by tapping it upside down.