Sugee (Semolina) Cake

12 Nov

Last week when I made sugee cake it turned out dry. I asked my mum about it and she suggested I increased the amount of butter. I did that and also adjusted the oven temperature and this time it was a success.

Sugee cake is an Eurasian cake that is usually made on festive occasions in Malaysia and Singapore. ‘Sugee’ or ‘sooji’ is an Indian word for semolina flour. A sugee cake is a rich, buttery cake with a coarse texture from the semolina flour. Brandy and rose essence (a wonderful combination!) adds to the unique flavour of the cake. This cake is so rich that a small slice will suffice, much like a rich fruit cake, and it’s advisable to share this cake (and the calories) with friends and neighbours! You can read more about sugee cake and it’s history here in this blog post by Niceties.

The sugee cake I made is an almond sugee cake. The original recipe from my mum doesn’t include almond nibs but I added some to give the cake a little crunch. Give this cake a try, especially if you have semolina flour left over from another recipe. Don’t be put off by the number of steps involved in this recipe as they are pretty simple.

Almond Sugee Cake

300g butter at room temperature (The original recipe calls for 250g)
200g sugar
225g semolina flour
8 egg yolks
2 egg whites
60g flour and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder OR 60g self-rising flour
100g almond meal
50g chopped toasted slivered almonds (optional)
3 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla
A few drops of rose and/or almond essence (I used rose only)

1. Roast the semolina flour in a pan over medium-low heat until it starts to smell fragrant. Roasting the semolina flour dries it out so it won’t sink in the cake and turn hard.

2. Cream the butter until it’s light. Mix in the semolina flour and let it soak in the butter for at least 4 hours, better if overnight.

3. Whisk the egg yolks until frothy, then add the sugar and continue whisking until  the mixture is light and creamy. Add in the brandy, vanilla and essence.

4. Fold the semolina mixture into the egg mixture, mixing well. Stir in the almond meal and almond nibs if using. Sift the flour over the batter and fold in gently.

4. Whisk the egg whites until just stiff and carefully fold into the semolina mixture.

6. Scrape the mixture into a lined 8″ x 8″ square pan and bake in a preheated 160C (320F) oven for 55-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. The top of the cake will be a light golden brown colour.

The cake can be served plain, dusted with icing sugar, covered with marzipan or, my favourite, buttercream icing.


Posted by on November 12, 2010 in Baking, Food


Tags: , , , , ,

17 responses to “Sugee (Semolina) Cake

  1. onewetfoot

    November 13, 2010 at 12:09 am

    This looks amazing! The icing is so pretty.

    • Ker-Yng

      November 13, 2010 at 12:14 am

      Thanks! 🙂

  2. kitchen flavours

    November 13, 2010 at 12:14 am

    I love sugee cake! Have not made it in ages. Your cake looks delicious. I love the coarse lovely taste of the sugee and the soft, moist texture of this cake, really great with a cup of tea or coffee. This cake is one of my favourites ever since my mom made this when we were young. I once made this cake and gave some to my sis’s mother-in-law who has not eaten or know what sugee is, she love it instantly! Now you have me craving for some! LOL!

    • Ker-Yng

      November 13, 2010 at 12:17 am

      So quick make one for yourself and family! 😉 Yes, it’ll be great with tea or coffee, thanks for reminding me!

  3. yanny

    November 14, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Just a little correction – add the flour last, after the almond meal and nibs, to prevent over mixing.

    • Ker-Yng

      November 14, 2010 at 9:17 am

      Ok, will make that correction, thanks.

  4. Mary

    November 14, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    This looks really good! I have only had syrup-soaked semolina/farina cakes, but I’d like to try this next. I’ll definitely use almonds too.

    • Ker-Yng

      November 14, 2010 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks! If you like butter cakes and almonds, you would like this too. Nothing pudding-y about this cake! 😉

  5. Yanny

    November 16, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Your jia is so impressed by your mouth-watering sugee cake which happens to be her favorite. Keep baking!

  6. Alice

    November 22, 2010 at 3:39 am

    I love sugee cake too, my husband is an Eurasian and my MIL likes to bake sugee cake for festive season too… yours look nice too. May be I should start baking one! 🙂

    • Ker-Yng

      November 22, 2010 at 10:13 am

      Thanks. Do bake one, I’ll look forward to your post on it. 🙂

  7. aliyyah albukhary

    January 12, 2011 at 9:38 am

    your suggee cake look delicious …. can u share with me the buttercream recipe pls…:)

    • Ker-Yng

      January 12, 2011 at 11:00 am

      Thank you. 🙂 I don’t remember which buttercream recipe I used but this is one of my favourite:
      You can halve the recipe if you are just frosting an 8″ cake. If you find the icing not soft enough for spreading on the cake, you can add a little more whipping cream.

  8. Jackie

    January 27, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Thank you so much for the lovely recipe. Will definitely try out. I do hv 1 question though. Hw if its only Sugee cake without almonds? Thank you again.

    • Life is Full

      January 28, 2012 at 12:05 am

      Are you referring to the almond nibs? That is optional, it just gives the cake a crunch. If you’re asking about the almond meal, I’m sorry but I have not tried making without it before. The almond meal makes the cake more moist, dense and aromatic.

  9. Esther J

    May 28, 2015 at 5:04 am

    Can I omit the brandy though? What does do for the cake? Is there a substitute I can use in it’s place?

    • Life is Full

      August 7, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      Sorry for the late reply. You can omit the brandy, it’s just for additional flavour 🙂 You can up the vanilla to a tablespoon.


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