Heirloom recipes: Paul’s halva cake
So you will appreciate my delight when I first attempted this recipe two years ago and created what tasted like an exact replica of what I remembered! I was so proud of my creation that I photographed it and emailed a photo to my brother who was living in London at the time under the subject line, ‘Read it and weep,’ expecting it to induce intense jealousy. And induce jealousy it did. In rivalry he has since taken to making the cake, too, and each time we make it we photograph our creation and send it to one another, claiming it to be even closer to Yia-Yia’s original.
For the syrup
1¼ cups sugar
4 cups water
For the cake
1¼ cups sugar
¾ cup butter
2 cups semolina
1 cup flaked almonds
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1. Start by getting your syrup on the boil. Boil the water and sugar slowly until a light syrup is formed (this could take about 30 minutes) and then leave to cool.
2. Now set to work on your cake. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until creamy, this will take approximately 5 minutes.
3. Add the eggs one by one and beat for a further 5 minutes.
4. Add the semolina, almonds and cinnamon.
5. Pour into a well-greased dish (ideally use a springform base) so that the mixture is about 2.5cm deep.
6. Bake at 180°C for about 45 minutes until the surface is golden brown.
7. Remove from the oven and pour the cold syrup over the hot cake and leave to infuse.
8. Cut into diamond shapes and enjoy. This cake tastes even better the next day!
Have a go and let me know what you think of the taste of my childhood.