Last week I was cho­sen to par­tic­i­pate in Foodie Fights once again. Being that my first round was less than vic­to­ri­ous, I approached this one with a real sense of deter­mi­na­tion. Thank­fully, the food gods smiled upon me and I was given ingre­di­ents I felt com­pletely com­fort­able with: semolina flour and pome­gran­ates. Not that I nor­mally cook with both, but I knew what I wanted to do.

When you think of semolina flour (pro­vided you have even heard of it before) you nor­mally think of pasta. Semolina is finely processed durum wheat. It is also the main ingre­di­ent in cous cous. Given that I pur­chased a pasta machine ear­lier this sum­mer with great expec­ta­tions (and it’s still in the box!), pasta would have been the nat­ural way to go. But I had other things in mind…

Some years ago, in my pre-veg days, I had cake at some restau­rant I can’t recall. Any­way, it was lov­ingly made-to-order and semolina flour was a main com­po­nent of it. The crumb was del­i­cate and light and the cake was phe­nom­e­nal. Given that I still reflect fondly on that one small cake, it made a big impres­sion on me.

Pome­gran­ates hold a spe­cial place in my heart because my father loved them. I remem­ber stand­ing at the counter in the kitchen with him as a lit­tle girl, peel­ing apart chunks of the fruit to unearth the seeds. I was always delighted, when I thought I’d exca­vated each and every one, to break off another piece of the inner flesh and find more. My father and I did not share an appre­ci­a­tion for food, so these mem­o­ries of pome­gran­ates are espe­cially dear to me. With the tangi­ness of the seeds (and the dis­trac­tion that the large seeds within them can be for con­sumers) I wanted to bal­ance out the fla­vor and make the expe­ri­ence a lit­tle more pleas­ing to the palate.

I present to you: Choco­late Semolina Cake with Pome­gran­ate Vanilla Bean Sauce

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I made two 4 inch cakes, but this could eas­ily be adapted to an 8 or 9 inch round.

Cake:
1 cup semolina flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup bak­ing cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
2 teas. bak­ing pow­der
1/4 teas. salt
1/3 cup agave
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup choco­late chips, melted
2/3 cup milk (I used the new multi­grain milk from Trader Joe’s)

Sauce:
2 cups pome­gran­ate seeds
2 tbsp. agave
2 tbsp. water
1/4 teas. corn­starch
1/8 teas. sugar
1 small vanilla bean or 1/4 teas. high qual­ity extract

Pre­heat oven to 350. Grease and/or line your bak­ing pan(s).

In a large bowl, sift together semolina flour, all-purpose flour, and bak­ing cocoa. Add sugar, bak­ing pow­der and salt and com­bine. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, melted choco­late and agave until well com­bined. Add milk and whisk. Cre­ate a well in the cen­ter of the dry ingre­di­ents and add the wet, mix­ing until well com­bined and there are no large clumps. Spread bat­ter in pan and bake for 22–26 min­utes (for small cakes).

While cakes are bak­ing, com­bine pome­gran­ate seeds, agave and water in a small pot. Cook on medium heat, stir­ring often, until the seeds become soft, about 7 min­utes. Mash with a potato masher as best you can. Strain mix­ture into a bowl with a fine mesh strainer, press­ing on the seeds with the back of a large spoon to extract as much juice as pos­si­ble. In a small bowl, com­bine the corn­starch and sugar. Return pome­gran­ate mix­ture to pot along with corn­starch mix­ture and vanilla. Whisk and cook on medium/high heat to a boil. Let boil for 2 min­utes than remove from heat and let cool for about 20 minutes.

Serve cake warm with warm sauce on top and addi­tional pome­gran­ate seeds to garnish.

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The cake was moist with a del­i­cate crumb. The choco­late fla­vor was a sub­tle com­bi­na­tion of cocoa and choco­late, with a gen­tle sweet­ness added by the agave. The top of the cake had a light crust to it that added a pleas­ant mouth-feel. The pome­gran­ate sauce was sweet and slightly tart ini­tially and the the fla­vor mel­lowed on the tongue when the vanilla hit. The sauce had a nice enough con­sis­tency to absorb into the cake with­out mak­ing it too soft. Jim is a huge lover of cake and he is a self-proclaimed “anti-foodie”, pre­fer­ring his food to be basic, espe­cially cake. But even he was a sucker for the choco­late and pome­gran­ate combo. I think this cake would make a fan­tas­tic hol­i­day cake, as pome­gran­ates really hit their peak season.

Be sure to check out Foodie Fights site tomor­row to see all the entries and to vote on your favorite!

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10 Responses to foodie fights, take two

  1. Josiane says:

    This sounds yummy! The pomegranate/vanilla combo must make for a delight­ful sauce.
    Good luck with this round of Foodie Fights!

  2. veganappetite says:

    That’s stun­ning! I’m off to vote. Good luck to you.

  3. Courtney says:

    Beau­ti­ful! Pome­gran­ate holds a spe­cial place with me too, as my mother has always loved them. I have mem­o­ries of her putting my sis­ter and I on an old sheet on the floor in our grub­bi­est clothes and giv­ing us hunks of pome­gran­ate and let­ting us eat away, stain­ing our clothes, the sheet, and our hands com­pletely :-)

    Good luck–you have my vote!

    Court­ney

  4. molly says:

    Wow. I LOVE pome­gran­ates. I want to make this now

  5. Andrea says:

    Wow. This cake looks and sounds so deli­cious. I can almost smell its sweet scent drift­ing from the kitchen.

  6. a-k says:

    That looks gor­geous and sounds deli­cious. Good luck!

  7. I love this cake! As soon as the pomi’s are in sea­son here in Utah I’m going to make this! Good luck to you :)

  8. sara says:

    Ooooh, looks amaz­ing! Yum! :)

  9. Those cakes are adorably cute.

    Good luck!

    Johanna.

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