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Orange Semolina Fruit Cake



My American friend Elsa shared this recipe with me many years ago. In her original recipe, she had used polenta. Since semolina is more readily available in the supermarkets, I experimented and got this perfect recipe for Christmas. Also, I prefer to use oranges that are quite sour. This cake is very moist and can be kept refrigerated for at least 2 months and frozen for up to a year! It makes for an ideal Christmas gift too.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour + 1 hour

Serves:   8

4 medium oranges

500 g mixed dried fruits

60 ml brandy or orange juice

100 g Q.B.B. Pure Ghee, room temperature

100 g salted butter, room temperature

200 g dark brown sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

1 ½ teaspoons mixed spice powder

200 g fine semolina

100 g ground almond

1 tsp baking powder


3 seedless oranges

150 g caster sugar

150 ml water


  1. Place the 4 oranges in a pan and cover with water.   Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and cook the oranges for 40 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C.   Grease a 20cm spring-form cake tin and line the base with non-stick paper.
  3. Cut the cooked oranges, remove any pips and discard. Process the oranges in a food processor until finely chopped.   DO NOT PUREE IT.
  4. Place the dried fruits, brandy and chopped orange pulp in a bowl and mix well.
  5. Cream the Q.B.B. Pure Ghee, butter and sugar together until pale.
  6. Add the beaten eggs, a little at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  7. In another bowl, combine the spices, ground almonds, semolina and baking powder.
  8. Fold into the creamed mixture along with the dried fruit and orange pulp.
  9. Spoon into the prepared tin and smoothen the top. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 30 minutes.
  10. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and continue to bake for a further 40 minutes. Cover the top of the cake loosely with aluminium foil if the cake becomes too brown.
  11. Cool cake in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  12. To make the decoration, slice the oranges to 5mm thickness.
  13. Place the sugar into a saucepan with water and cook over a low heat, stirring often, until the sugar has dissolved.
  14. Put the orange slices in the pan and stir well.
  15. To keep the oranges submerged in the syrup, cut out a circle of greaseproof paper to fit into the pan and place over the fruit.
  16. Cook over a low heat for 1 hour until glossy and translucent. Remove and spread out over greaseproof paper to cool.
  17. To serve, dust the whole cake with icing sugar, then arrange the orange slices, overlapping, over the top of the cake

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