What's a holiday without cake? In the general way of things the cake baker in chief in these parts is my youngest sister (who clearly understands the advantages of coming home and using someone else's ingredients and kitchen) but this week it was my turn. It's not a competition (at least, not if I can't win it...) but as the older sister I clearly have to put up a good show.
My effort this time was a semolina and syrup cake loosely inspired by a pavlova recipe I'd seen in Sabrina Ghayours 'Sirocco', and the result is good enough to share. It's also a reminder that I should use semolina more often in cakes, the end result isn't so different texture wise from ground almonds (thanks to the syrup that's what people assumed I'd used) but it's a lot cheaper.
Line the base of a 20cm cake tin with foil and heat oven to 180 (160 for a fan oven, or gas 4). Cut 4 apricots into 8's and gently heat them with some butter and a spoon of sugar until they're just softening. Take off the heat and leave to one side.
Meanwhile beat together 150mls of vegetable oil, 4 eggs, and 170g of caster sugar until smooth, then add 200g of semolina, 75g of plain flour, 3 teaspoons of baking powder, and 170ml of milk, whisk until smooth and don't worry about how sloppy the batter looks. Pour the batter into the tin and put the apricot segments on top (most will sink) then bake for about 50 mins.
Whilst the cakes baking take roughly 300mls of boiling water and add an early grey tea bag (or make a pot of tea and drink the rest). When it's reasonably strong add the juice of half a lemon and around 180g of white sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer until syrupy. When the cake is cooked either cut it whilst still in the tin or stab it thoroughly then slowly pour the syrup over it as evenly as possible. Leave to throughly cool - it's even better the day after baking when the tea flavour really starts to come out - then eat.