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SHAMALI (Kalo Brama or honey cake)

The cake

5 eggs                                                  1½ tsp baking powder

1 cup sugar                                         1lb (450g) Semolina

1 cup cooking oil                                Almond Essence        

1 cup milk                                           Rose Water

2oz (25g) blanched almonds              1 Cinnamon stick

Yogurt (optional)

In this recipe if using a mug use a little less than a full mug

Beat together 1 cup cooking oil (nearly full) and I cup sugar (granulated or caster) well, until white. 

Add one egg at a time to mixture and beat well after each egg until bubbles form on top of the runny mixture.

Slightly heat one cup of milk, add the 1½ tsp baking powder and mix.

Add this to the mixture and beat until well mixed.

Add few drops of almond essence or rose water.

Add semolina to the mixture gradually and beat well, if mixture looks too runny add an extra tablespoon or two of semolina but mixture should be a little runny.  It depends on the type of semolina, some is courser than others.

Leave for about 10 minutes or until you prepare the oven, nuts and tin.

Grease a square cooking tin or Pyrex dish (not a shallow dish)

Blanche the almonds and halve them ready for decoration.

Put semolina mixture in dish, bake in centre of oven gas no7 or 220 degrees.

After a few minutes, arrange almonds in rows in the semolina. 

Put back in oven until golden brown and cooked in centre (test with a knife – the knife comes out clean when the cake is cooked)

Reduce oven to gas mark 5 or 190 degrees, until cooked, if cake is browning too quickly.

Optional: - can put yogurt on top ½ way through cooking to give it a shine.

When cooked, remove from the oven and cut into pieces in the cooking dish. Pour cold syrup over hot cake or hot syrup over cold cake.  It is important to ensure that either, the cake or, the syrup are cold and the other hot.  This is for better absorption; otherwise the cake will be too dry.


The syrup

In a largish saucepan, put 3 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar.  Put on to heat, when boiled for about 5-7 minutes or until syrup begins to form put 1 cinnamon stick and lemon or orange peel.  Leave to boil until syrup forms.  Add rose water to syrup a few minutes before you take it off the heat.  Remember, either cake or syrup must be cold when combining. 

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