Eggless semolina, almond and honey cake recipe

Cakes are perfect for a party or as a snack. And cakes made with semolina (suji/rava) are nutritious as well. Add some almonds and replace sugar with honey and you have a healthier version of a sinful treat. You can't go wrong with this tried and tested eggless semolina cake.

I recently connected with a childhood friend on Facebook. Her house was perpendicular to mine, and we spent many an evening playing in the huge park below our homes. During our many chats, where we reminisced those carefree days, she mentioned that she would come home, on the pretext of drinking water, knowing that she'd get a slice of cake as well. Her vivid description of the smell of freshly baked cake, emitting from my childhood home, made me nostalgic.

There was no 2-Minute Maggi or any of the other stuff that you get these days, to satiate the hunger pangs that set in just after play. We ate what mummy prepared at home. And she always had some delicacy ready, which I remember greedily gobbling up. Now that I look back, I recall the warm aroma of freshly baked goods, wafting through the veranda, right into the stairway that led to our home.

Back then, mummy didn't have an oven – she had set up a makeshift baking contraption in one of the open shelves, in the veranda of our government accommodation. I don't have a clear memory of it but remember there was some sand in the pit (it was the bottom-most concrete shelf) and burning coal embers. The cakes that came out from the unsophisticated oven, were devoured in no time – they were lovingly baked and delicious.

I learnt to bake rustic cakes, pies and tarts and more from my mother. I grew up enjoying baking. I don't bake very often now, but on the rare occasion that I do, my cakes are appreciated.

I am sharing an easy-to-follow recipe for egg-less semolina, almond, honey cake. There is a little story on why I choose to bake egg-less cakes. We have always had an open house on Christmas, with a stream of visitors walking in throughout the day and late into the night. I have always had a few guests who'd refuse the cakes because they had egg in them. Being a good hostess, I decided to bake an egg-less variant, for our friends who didn't eat eggs. This is something that I have been baking for years now; it wouldn't be Christmas if my guests didn't eat a slice or two of cake – right!

The cake turns out soft, moist and delicious. You have the liberty to add different flavours to it, and not stick with the recipe below.


  • Semolina (rava/sooji) – 2cups. It shouldn't be too fine, nor too coarse
  • Honey – 1 cup
  • Condensed milk – ½ cup
  • Yogurt – 1 ½ cup, fresh, not sour
  • Milk - ¼ cup
  • Cooking butter – 250 grams (this is unsalted butter)
  • Almond meal – ½ cup
  • Almond essence – 1tsp.
  • Salt – 1 large pinch
  • Baking powder – 1tsp.
  • Soda bicarbonate – 1 tsp.
  • Almonds – 10-15 cut into slivers

Preparing the cake mix

Beat the yogurt and condensed milk, until light and fluffy. The more you beat it, the better will be the texture of the cake. Beating the ingredients, incorporates air into the mixture, which gives the cake a nice soft and light quality. At this point, the consistency of the batter should resemble that of shaving cream.

Next, add the butter and milk and cream the ingredients. The butter should be soft and at room temperature. Once you get a homogenous mixture, add the essence and salt. Next fold in the semolina and almond meal into the batter. Ensure the ingredients are mixed well, and that there are no lumps or air trapped in.

Let the batter stand for around 4-5 hours. It helps the semolina become moist. After the batter is allowed to stand for a few hours, adjust its consistency by adding milk, a little at a time so that it is of dropping consistency, not runny or too thick.

Baking in an OTG or Convection Oven

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F, and while it heats, grease the baking tray. Add the baking soda and soda bicarbonate to the batter, just before you pop it into the baking tray. Give the batter a good whip, so they mix well.

Sprinkle slivered almonds on the top and bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, at 350°F. The cake should be baked in this time, but to ensure that it is done in the centre as well, insert a toothpick or a knife, down the middle. If they come out clean, the cake is ready, if not, leave it in the oven for another 5 minutes. The cake would be a rich golden colour.

Baking in a microwave

This lovely cake can also be made in a microwave. Follow the steps listed under preparing the cake mix. Add the soda bicarbonate and baking soda and tip the cake batter into a glass baking dish, and bake on high, at 100% power, for 5 minutes.

Once the timer beeps, allow the cake to stand in the microwave for another 2 minutes. Also, place a cover on the baking dish, while baking, but don't seal it – allow a gap. The cake will come out moist and spongy. Cakes baked in the microwave generally come out wet in the centre. They must be allowed to stand for a while, so they get done. Don't microwave the cake for more than 5 minutes. Extra time will make the cake's texture chewy and leathery.

Changing the flavours

The recipe is flexible and allows you to add your own flavours. You can substitute the almond meal (which is nothing but powdered almonds) with walnuts. You can cut out the almond meal altogether and add chopped almonds or chopped walnuts instead. Raisins are a good replacement too.

Add 2 ripe, mashed bananas for a banana flavoured cake or grated carrots for a carrot cake. You will need to reduce the amount of honey and milkmaid because the banana and carrots will bring their own sweetness to the cake. Also, change the essence to vanilla and increase the amount of milk to ¾ cup.

Know your food

Cakes don't fit into the healthy food bracket, but the nutrition quotient can be improved by adding a few healthy ingredients. This cake is made using semolina, instead of white flour, so it is a notch healthier than your regular cakes.
  • Semolina is made from durum wheat, the same wheat used in making macaroni. It is a rich source of protein and also gives you dietary fibre and carbohydrates. It provides good amounts of folate, thiamine, and riboflavin and is a good source of iron, folate, and magnesium
  • Butter is high in fatty acids, 25% of which are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are good for the heart. The saturated fat content in butter is high, and a small percentage of these form short-chain fatty acids which are healthy fats, as they reduce inflammation. The dairy trans fats present in butter also have health benefits. And it's rich in vitamins, mainly A, B12, D, E and K2
  • Almonds are superfoods, just like most nuts. They are very high in nutrients, omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals - vitamin E and calcium and magnesium and protein and fibre
  • Honey is better than sugar and rich in antioxidants
  • Condensed milk is made from milk, so its naturally rich in calcium. It also provides protein and a few minerals
  • Yogurt is a good source of gut-friendly bacteria, which improves digestive health. Additionally, it is a good source of B vitamins and protein
  • The nutrition quotient can be improved by adding bananas, apple or carrots etc.

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