Here’s the much-requested recipe for Harissa Cake – recipe is by Anton Godressi, his family’s traditional version. It’s extremely delicious and simple to make.
2 cups semolina
1 cup desiccated coconut
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1½ cups plain yoghurt
1 cup (250g) melted butter
½ cup blanched whole, slivered or flaked almonds
For the syrup:
1½ cups sugar
1½ cups boiling water
Juice 1 small lemon
2 teaspoons rosewater
To make the cake:
Mix together the semolina, coconut, sugar and (sifted) bicarbonate of soda.
Mix in the yoghurt with a knife and then use your hands to bring the mixture together.
Stir in the melted butter. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile heat oven to 160 degrees C (fan forced). Grease a slab tin 22cm x 33cm approximately (18 x 28 would be ok too).
Press mixture evenly into the prepared tin. Using a sharp knife, cut into a diamond pattern and top with the almonds (in centre of each diamond).
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until cooked though and golden brown all over. Set aside to cool. Re-cut the cake along the lines.
To make the syrup
In a medium saucepan, mix together the sugar and boiling water until the sugar has dissolved completely.
Bring to the boil over medium heat and cook for approximately ten minutes until the mixture thickens a little, then add the lemon juice and rosewater and cook for 5 minutes more.
Leave to stand 5 minutes, then drizzle evenly over the cooled cake.
Leave to stand for an hour or more to allow the syrup to be absorbed.