This is a version of my favorite Aunt Katie’s cake. She never actually used semolina in her version of this simple plain cake, but it was the only addition I knew to get that same corny texture that reminded me so much of her actual cake. It was usually served practically right out of the oven warm. Its buttery lightness and a super tender crumb, were held precariously in place by a craggy exterior texture.
The fragrant headiness of the nutmeg competed for a while with the vanilla and almond extracts that flavor this cake. This is simply my favorite cake. Basic, down-to-earth, and stirring, just like the lovely human spirit who created and shared it with me as a child.
3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon finely ground semolina flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla (I prefer to use one Tahitian Vanilla Bean, but that’s optional)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (On St. Croix we are lucky to have access to freshly picked nutmeg from the island of Dominica/St. Lucia)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup milk divided into 3/4 and 1/4 cups
6 egg yolks
Bring all the ingredients to room temperature before using. Room temperature eggs yield fluffier cakes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you have a convect feature on your oven, I would suggest turning it off, as it could toughen the outer texture of your cake.
Beat the butter, nutmeg, vanilla, salt, almond extract, and sugar together until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl sift the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and semolina.
Add all the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and 3/4 cups of the milk. Beat on high speed for approximately one minute. This will incorporate more air into the batter making for a lighter textured cake.
Mix the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup milk together and add it in three batches to the batter. Between each addition beat the mixture on high speed for about 30 seconds. I use a stand mixer, if you are using a hand mixer beat it a bit longer.
Scrape down the mixture to insure that all the ingredients are properly incorporated.
Prepare the baking pan, by thoroughly spraying it with a non-stick spray with flour. Be generous. I use Pam with Flour, but you can find and use whichever works best for you. Pour the mixture into a ten cup bundt pan of your choosing, and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until golden brown, pulling away from the sides, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
I usually let the cake rest for exactly ten minutes after baking before unmolding. The mold I used here is not a 10 cup pan, but it was too cute to resist. So, I ended up with a few cupcakes!
If you want to powder the cake as shown above, be sure to wait until it has cooled to room temperature before sifting the powdered sugar onto it. The heat from the cake, if applied while the cake is too hot, will melt the sugar.
I prefer my slice warm, almost hot, about 20 minutes or so out of the oven, but that’s how I am used to eating it. It would help the cake (and your mouth) if you waited about a good hour for it to cool.
This cake needs no adornment, as the richness of the butter and the fragrance of the nutmeg speaks for itself.