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  • Writer's pictureSibel

Fig, Cardamom & Orange Semolina Cake (Vegan)

Luscious, moist, and packed with festive flavours, this Fig, Cardamom & Orange Semolina Cake is a must-try over the festive season. Serve it with a dollop of vegan whipped cream and a drizzle of orange syrup for decadent vegan dessert.

fig, cardamom and semolina cake

I just adore this Fig, Cardamom and Orange Semolina Cake! The fresh citrus flavour and warmth of the cardamom creates the most delicious combination! This cake has a luxuriously soft and moist texture, which contrasts beautifully with the delicate crunchiness of the dried figs and chia seeds. This is a completely flourless cake recipe. In place of the flour, I've used a combination of semolina and ground almonds. This cake is soaked with a sweet orange syrup which makes the taste and texture of this cake even more irresistible.

fig, cardamom and semolina cake

Why Make this Fig, Cardamom & Orange Semolina Cake

  • This cake is quick and easy to make

  • Perfectly moist texture

  • Bursting with festive flavours

  • It’s completely vegan

  • You won’t need any fancy baking equipment

What is Semolina?

Semolina is a type of coarse flour that’s made from durum wheat. When durum wheat is milled, and the most nutritious parts are ground into semolina. Semolina is high in folate, iron and protein, making it a more nutritious alternative to all-purpose flour. Semolina is a versatile ingredient used in many savoury and sweet dishes around the world, and it is usually sold in two forms: coarse and fine semolina – you will need fine semolina for this recipe.

Is this Cake Gluten-Free?

Semolina contains gluten, so this cake is not gluten-free. I’ll be creating a gluten-free version soon, so stay tuned!

fig, cardamom and semolina cake

Ingredients for Fig, Cardamom & Orange Semolina Cake

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this cake:

Semolina: the semolina gives this cake a light and crumbly texture. Semolina comes in different forms: coarse and fine - this recipe calls for fine semolina.

Ground Almonds: the ground almonds are what gives the cake a moist and light texture.

Baking Powder: additional raising agents will lighten the texture of the cake.

Chia seeds: the chia seeds will add a lovely crunchiness and more nutritional value to the cake. You can use either white or black chia seeds.

Sugar: used to sweeten the cake. I wouldn’t recommend substituting the caster sugar with dark sugars or fruit syrups as they'll darken the colour of the cake.

Vegan margarine: I used the Flora vegan margarine, but any plant-based butter or margarine will do.

Vegan yoghurt: I'd recommend using plain vegan yoghurt. The creaminess of the yoghurt helps to keep the cake moist, and the acidity helps to activate the baking powder, which gives the cake a lighter texture. If you don't have any vegan yoghurt at hand, you can substitute it with coconut cream.

Dried figs: I'd recommend using soft dried figs rather than fresh figs. If you find that your dried figs are a little hard, just soak them in hot water for 5 minutes until they're soft. Drain and pat them dry before adding them to the cake batter.

Orange extract and orange zest: the orange zest combined with the orange extract adds a fresh, citrus taste to the cake.

Cardamom: this warming spice will add a delicious flavour to the cake, but it won’t overpower the taste of the other ingredients. If you’re not a fan of cardamom, you can leave it our or use vanilla extract instead.

Flaked almonds: the flakes almonds add a delicious nutty taste and crisp texture to the cake.

fig, cardamom and semolina cake

Step-by-Step Instructions


Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan. Grease and line 9 x 9-inch baking tray with baking paper.


In a large mixing bowl, beat together the vegan butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Fold in the chia eggs and vegan yogurt (or coconut cream) until everything is well combined. If the batter looks split at this point, don’t worry – it will look fine once the dry ingredients go in.


Add the semolina flour, ground almonds, baking powder, ground cardamom, orange extract, orange zest and dried figs to the bowl and mix the ingredients until everything is thoroughly combined.


Tip the batter into your prepared tin, sprinkle the almond flakes on top, and bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.


Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool down completely inside the cake tin.

For the Orange Syrup:


Add the sugar, orange zest and water into small saucepan over low heat and mix gently until the sugar has dissolved. Let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes until the syrup thickens slightly.

To Finish:


Prick the top of the cake several times with a skewer. Using a ladle, pour the warm syrup evenly on top of the cooled cake. Let the cake sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the syrup to absorb into it, then cut into 9- 12 squares.


Serve the cake with a dollop of vegan cream or yogurt, slices of fresh fig and an extra drizzle of syrup.

fig, cardamom and semolina cake

Expert Tips

  • I’d recommend using the gram measurements, rather than the cup conversions. When it comes to baking, accuracy is key, and cup conversions are never as accurate as grams.

  • Use a skewer to poke holes in the cake before pouring the syrup on top – this will allow the syrup to absorb into the cake better.

  • If the consistency of the syrup is too thick (this may happen if it’s left to cook for too long), then add a few tablespoons of hot water until you get the right consistency.

  • Make sure to let the cake cool down completely before pouring the syrup on top.

  • Make sure not to cover the cake after you’ve poured the warm syrup over it as it will create steam, which can make the cake too soggy.

  • Let the cake cool down completely before slicing.

How to Store this Cake

Syrup-soaked desserts should not be stored in the refrigerator as they can become too firm and lose their texture. I would suggest storing this cake at room temperature, in an airtight container and away from direct sunlight. This semolina cake keeps well for 3-4 days, but it is best served fresh.

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