Often, the number one factor that contributes to me trying a new recipe is whether or not I have the majority of the ingredients to make it.
And, if I end up making it twice in two weeks, that means I'm on to something.
This recipe comes from the April Issue of Bon Appétit Magazine which I intermittently flip through at work for design, photography and just general food making inspiration. This caught my eye mainly because I was intrigued by the combination of semolina and almond meal but also because this simple photo of the cakes just looked too good to pass up. I've never baked with semolina flour before but I didn't have any on hand. So, to improvise, I figured subbing in finely ground cornmeal would be a good start.
Three different kinds of cornmeal (because I seem to accumulate it from forgetting that it's in the back of my cupboard) and one kitchen that looked like a bomb went off later, the result was a cake with a looser texture and flattened out tops but they were still delicious in their own right.
When I did obtain semolina flour, I tried them again (with a more clean and organized kitchen) to find that the cakes did not spread as much (which makes sense due to the gluten) and yielded a texture with a tighter crumb—still light but it didn't feel like I was chasing crumbs as much.
With both, it is essential to generously glaze the cakes as soon as they come out of the oven. They'll immediately sizzle in the muffin pan and slurp up all of the juice. This step is what makes the interior bright and citrusy. For obvious reasons, it's best to eat one straight from the oven. The tops haven't softened from the glaze which leaves them with a crispy and chewy exterior.
I found it was best to eat both variations with a fork to make sure every last crumb was scraped from the muffin liner.
And, upon re-reading this recipe, I've discovered that I only used 2 eggs instead of 3 eggs in the second round with semolina flour. I guess this means a third batch is in store in the near future?
Cornmeal or Semolina-Lemon Syrup Cakes
Yields: 12 cakes // Active Time: 30 minutes // Inactive Time: 25-35 minutes