whole meyer lemon semolina cake

whole meyer lemon semolina cake

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might know I have a thing for anything lemon-y. That is, things that contain lemon peel, juice, oil, zest, flesh…

In other words, the very essence of lemon is delicious to me.

Which is why I was drawn to the idea of this cake. I saw a recipe for Whole Orange Cake in this month’s Sunset Magazine (The Food Lover’s Issue, which is terrific, by the way).

meyer lemon semolina cake

I do care deeply for other kinds of citrus, including oranges, but since Meyer lemons are at their peak season right now I thought they might be a good swap for oranges.

Meyer lemons are a cross between a type of tangerine and a lemon, so they have a milder, sweeter bite than the typical Eureka lemon, with a more delicate, thin skin. They are a great choice to use whole – skin, flesh and all – in the batter.

meyer lemon semolina cake

There’s semolina in my version of this cake – it’s the same finely ground durum flour used to make pasta, with a nice mild yellow color that seems to get along with lemon.

And the cake smells incredible while it’s baking, kind of like a pot of spaghetti with lemon sugar all over it. No, not really like that, but it does have an enticing aroma while in the oven.

The resulting crumb is moist. And lemony. So lemony, with just a tiny bit of bitterness from the peel. If you enjoy candied citrus peel, you’ll know the kind of sweet bitterness I’m talking about.

whole meyer lemon semolina cake

Emiko posted a recipe for an old-fashioned Italian semolina cake on her blog – I would love a bite of that, too.

whole meyer lemon semolina cake with yogurt-olive oil glaze

This cake is baked in a small (sometimes called a "mini" or half-size) Bundt pan. If you don't have that size pan, you can use a 6 - 8 cup fluted pan, but the height of the cake will be shorter.


  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Meyer lemons
  • ½ cup semolina flour
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup natural cane sugar or granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • For glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted to remove lumps
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla flavored)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Meyer lemon or plain lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Use your fingers to smear 1 tablespoon butter all over the inside and into the nooks and crannies of a small (3 - 4 cup capacity) Bundt pan (6 – 7 inches in diameter). Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the flour into the pan and rotate to distribute the flour in an even coating over the butter. Knock out any excess flour by tapping the pan upside down. This is an important step to ensure your cake doesn’t stick to the pan.
  3. Cut the lemons into wedges and remove the seeds. Put the lemons in a food processor and process until fairly smooth – it’s okay if some very small pieces of peel are visible – you should have about 1 cup.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk remaining 1 cup flour together with the semolina, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  5. Beat the remaining stick of butter with the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy; beat in the eggs one at a time.
  6. Add the lemon puree to the mixer and beat until combined; add the flour mixture and stir until smooth. Spread the batter evenly into the Bundt pan; bake 40 – 45 minutes, or until a toothpick emerges from the cake with a few moist crumbs. Cool the cake in the pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.
  7. To make the glaze, stir together all the ingredients until smooth; add 1 teaspoon or more water to reach a thick but pourable consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and let it set before slicing.




  1. This is my kind of cake, I’m all about Meyer lemons! Love the shape of your Bundt pan too!

    • Laura – yes, aren’t they the BEST? I kind of hoard them every year. I buy more than I know what to do with, so always looking for ways to enjoy them. Last year I preserved them Moroccan-style.

  2. Hi,

    Oh my, but what a joy to see a quote from Paula Peck. I just love that book, and it is a pleasure to meet another fan.

    What a very pretty and tantalizing cake. I too love lemons, and Meyers are a breed apart. Winter citrus is such a joy – a bit of summer in the bleak winter. Although the bleak part is rather more in my mind as I am here in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, it is special to have those lovely fruits now. Each morning when I go out to pick the Meyers and blood oranges I realize just how fortunate we are out here in California.

    Your work is spectacular, and I extend my sincerest compliments. It is a pleasure to visit your site and I look forward to reading more from you.

    • Adri, thank you! It’s really a pleasure to hear from you as well.

      The Paula Peck book is a treasure, one of a collection of vintage books I have. I try to refer to old classics when I go about working on a baking recipe – they’re simple, the recipes work and serve as a perfect starting point for experimenting.

      I’m sure I’m not the only one “jealous” of your LA bounty – it must be very inspiring, Not to mention fresh!

  3. We have a small Meyer lemon tree in the backyard and I am eagerly anticipating those lemons!

  4. I love how YELLOW this cake is–you can practically see the lemon flavor! I don’t think I’ve ever made a glaze with yogurt before–most intriguing. 🙂

    • Thanks, Eileen. The whole lemons contribute to the deep color, but I think the semolina adds its own hue as well. I think the yogurt is a nice option instead of milk. Glad you think so too!

  5. This looks so beautiful. I love the mold–where can I find something like that? (It looks different from mini-bundt pans I’ve seen). Someone just gave me meyer lemons–this would be perfect.

  6. I adore meyer lemons, and this beautiful cake! Just lovely!

  7. Hi Karen, It seems we have more in common than just our name. I too love everything lemony. Your Meyer lemon cake looks beautiful and sound delicious. I’m glad I discovered you lovely blog today.

    • Karen, thank you so much! I’m glad you landed here and that you’re a lemon-lover, too. This is definitely the cake for you 🙂

  8. I just returned from a trip to Texas and – guess what – had Meyer Lemons in my carry-on! We don’t get them here in Germany. So your cake is in the oven right now. Thanks for that creative idea with the semolina. I want such a tree asap and we already have been tree-shopping.

    • Nicola – lucky girl! Nice to know that Texas lemons made their way to Germany safe and sound;achieving that takes a bit of determination and just a tiny obsession with food (which I totally relate to. I’m packing some California garlic into a suitcase today)..I hope you savor the cake!

  9. Francie says:

    Hi Karen, just come across your website. My mum has a lemon tree so I have about 10kilos of lemons. I have recently gone crazy cooking lemon cake, it started with making a simple lemon sponge, which had a real lemon sherbet taste to it. However, I wanted a more lemony tasting cake without adding more sugar as most recipes will have you do a syrup glaze or icing! Does this cake give you a real strong lemon taste? Or maybe I should just eat a whole lemon to satisfy my taste buds.
    Thanks for recipe I’m going to make this weekend as I have plough through another cake 1st.

  10. Victoria says:

    Can I double this recipe and use the larger bundt pan?

    • karen Tedesco says:

      Hi Victoria – by “larger” pan, what size do you mean? You could try experimenting by doubling the recipe if you have a 10 – 12 cup pan, but I really have no idea how that might turn out. Doubling cake recipes can be tricky. Increase the baking time for sure if you do try it.

      • Victoria says:

        It’s an 8 cup bundt pan. Would I double the baking time? (sorry posted the question twice without realizing it). I just don’t want the cake to look strange…

        • karen Tedesco says:

          Ah – okay. For an 8-inch pan, I don’t recommend doubling the recipe because there’ll be too much batter and it will overflow (rule of thumb, cake batter shouldn’t fill the pan by more than 2/3). You can use the recipe as is in your pan, but the cake will be somewhat flatter. Hope that helps!

  11. Victoria says:

    Can this recipe be doubled so I can use the large bundt pan?

  12. Hello Karen!
    Thank you very much for your wonderful blog. I live outside US, therefore I always struggles with correct measurements. Cups and tablespoons differ – Google gives different results for Australia, US, Europe, let alone Eastern Europe. I will appreciate a little clarification on this issue: how many grams of butter are in your cup and what’s the size of the cup (in ml?); how many grams of flour are in a cup; how many grams of butter in 1 stick; how many grams are in 1 tablespoon of butter, and how many grams are in 1 tablespoon of flour, etc?
    Thank you very very much! I would love to bake this beautiful cake, I am sure it also has a wonderful lemon smell )

    1 tablespoon plus 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), at room temperature
    1 tablespoon plus 1 cup all-purpose flour
    2 Meyer lemons
    ½ cup semolina flour
    ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

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