I recently came back from Greece where I was lucky enough to be given the chance to learn some authentic Greek dishes. The recipe I want to share with you today is for a traditional Greek cake bathed in syrup which hails from the small town of Veria. The recipe for this delicious cake was taught to me by Mrs Magdalini Katemliadis, the lovely Mother of a friend of mine who hails from Veria and whipped up a myriad of dishes for me to enjoy during my trip.
The cake itself is a simple and moist sponge but the syrup is what makes it really special and the perfect accompaniment to tea or coffee after a big meal. It’s absolutely delicious and perfect for those with a sweet tooth.
For the Sponge
500g Greek yoghurt
500g caster sugar
500g plain flour
250g coarse semolina (not the finely ground powder variety)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons of best quality vanilla essence
Oil to grease the pan
For the Syrup
1kg of caster sugar
800ml of water
Juice of half a lemon and the zest of the whole lemon
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees (fan assisted to 160) and using a large mixing bowl, cream your eggs and sugar together. Then add your yoghurt, flour, semolina and mix well before adding your baking soda and bicarbonate of soda.
In a large oven proof dish (approx 40 x 30cm) grease the bottom of the pan well with oil and gently pour your mixture in, ensuring your don’t shake it to compress the mixture at all and place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes.
After 20 minutes of cooking time, using a pan over a medium heat to high heat, boil your water, sugar, lemon juice and rind together until it thickens to syrup form and then set aside.
After 40 minutes, insert a wooden skewer or knife into the centre of the pan and remove it and if it is clean then your sponge is cooked. If not, bake for a further 5 minutes.
Whilst the sponge is hot, pierce holes all over the cake using a wooden skewer or similar and pour your syrup all over the sponge and allow the cake to then cool before serving. The cake is delicious by itself, but a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream would be a perfect accompaniment to it.