Sfouf is a Lebanese almond-semolina cake, made from semolina flour, oil, sugar, and aniseed & characterized by its intense yellow colour from the turmeric spice. The word “sfouf” means “rows” and it is called by this name because it is traditionally cut into rows before serving. & it is very healthy because of the medicinal properties of turmeric & anise.
This cake is dulcet & aromatic, lucidly coloured & very easy to make.
This cake has no eggs . It is made from semolina, flour, oil, sugar, and aniseed which gives it a distinctively awesome taste. Instead of butter, the pan is greased with tahini. Rather than icing, it is topped with sesame seeds or almonds for a textured finish.
A quintessential sfouf recipe calls for aniseed however you can use start anise or fennel as well in case of unavailability of aniseed as Its flavour has similarities with star anise or fennel. Since fennel is easily available in India so I decided to use the brewed fennel tea instead of Aniseed tea for the cake.
All I have to say is that, definitely this is the best tea cake I have tried so far. It has just the right density and perfect balance of flavours.
Please don’t miss to try your hands on this classic cake from middle east.
Ok, No further talks.Let’s jump on to the recipe right away 🙂
2 Cups Semolina
1.5 Cups All purpose flour
1 Cup Vegetable oil
1/2 ts Turmeric
1 ts Fennel powder or aniseed powder
1 tsp Baking powder
1.5 Cups Sugar
2 Cups of water
2 tbs fennel seeds or aniseeds
2 tbsp tahini( I used readymade)
1/2 Cup Blanched almonds,to garnish
– Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºC).
– Make fennel tea by boiling water and fennel together and keep it for few minutes so that fennel flavour is infused in water properly.
– Sieve the fennel seeds, add sugar to the fennel tea & dissolve it.
– keep this tea/sugar mixture aside, we will use thisin our cake batter.
– In a mixing bowl, combine semolina, flour, turmeric, fennel powder & baking powder. Stir to combine well.
– Add oil and tea/sugar mixture to the semolina mix and whisk until well incorporated.
– Grease the baking dish with Tahini and pour the batter evenly.
– Pat dry the almonds and decorate in rows (or to your liking).
– Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
– Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes and serve with coffee or tea. Store in an airtight container.
– This cake tastes better the next day 🙂
Please Note: My cake top got cracked because I had more mixture for the size of tin & it was baked in microwave convection mode so the edges of my cake were baked and set faster than the middle.
Lesson Learned: To prevent cracking,
– Make sure you use the right sized tin .
– Place cakes in the centre of the oven, not too high up where it will be hotter and the cake will peak and crack.
Better luck next time 🙂
Enjoy & happy Baking 😀