Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

True Love Cake

Erin Kunkel

Servings: 16

This sticky semolina cake is the first cake I ever made in my grandmother’s kitchen in Sri Lanka. The fragrant, cashew-studded treat is served throughout that country at teatime or whenever guests come calling. The dense crumb and chewy edges remind me of something that would happen if a butter cake and a blondie had a baby—a pleasingly crunchy, tender, and sweet love child. In the oven, the rose water, honey, cardamom, and cinnamon start to bloom. This cake doubles as aromatherapy.

This recipe is excerpted from The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking. Read our review.


  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 6 oz. (1 cup) coarse semolina
  • 4 large eggs, separated, plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 1-1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tbs. rose water
  • 3/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup (4-1/2 oz.) finely chopped raw cashews


  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Butter the parchment.
  • In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the semolina and cook, stirring, until it is very lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the semolina mixture out onto a large plate to cool to room temperature.
  • In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the 6 egg yolks and sugar on medium speed until pale and thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the honey, rose water, almond extract, cinnamon, cardamom, lemon zest, and salt. Beat in the cooled semolina mixture and fold in the cashews.
  • With clean beaters, whip the 4 egg whites to medium-stiff but not dry peaks on medium speed, about 2 minutes. Stir one-quarter of the egg whites into the semolina mixture, then fold the remaining egg whites into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. To serve, cut along the edges of the cake to release it from the pan. Using the parchment, transfer the cake to a cutting board and cut into diamonds.

Make Ahead Tips

Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Rate or Review


We haven't received any reviews yet for this recipe.

Have you made it? Tell us what you thought!

Rate this Recipe

Write a Review

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 50%

Already a subscriber? Log in.


View All


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, subscribe today.

Get the print magazine, 25 years of back issues online, over 7,000 recipes, and more.

Start your FREE trial