Deliciously inspired by Middle Eastern sfoof turmeric cake, this easy one-bowl turmeric cake takes no time to make and its rich flavours make it a perfect partner for coffee. Egg Free and Vegan.
Why should you Make Sfoof Turmeric Cake?
- Be different! This vibrantly yellow cake looks like no other, and has a delicious, sweet, hearty and almost earthy taste from the turmeric
- It’s simple to make. It only uses one bowl, and as it uses soft vegetable shortening which soft and easy to cream into the sugar, there’s no need for an electric mixer
- There’s no egg, so it’s easily scalable to the size of your baking tray.
- It’s suitable for vegans
Sfoof or Sfouf?
It doesn’t really matter, like many words that are transliterated from script to another there will be different spellings according to the conventions used. Turmeric cake is the translation, and sfoof or sfouf the transliteration from Arabic.
Cakes with semolina are popular across the Middle East and sfoof can be found with many variations from Lebanon to Syria.
Is this Coffee Cake or Cake for Coffee?
Here in the UK, coffee cake is generally a coffee flavoured cake, whereas everywhere else in the world, particularly in Continental Europe, coffee cake is a cake that’s enjoyed with coffee.
I suppose this reflects the difference between European cafe culture, and here where cake is traditionally enjoyed at tea time with, well… tea.
As to what the rest of the world calls coffee flavoured cake, I have no idea – possibly a coffee coffee cake? However, this turmeric cake is definitely best enjoyed with a fresh cup of hot coffee.
How to Make Turmeric Cake (Sfoof)
First – heat oven to to 180°C (Fan) / 375°F / Gas mark 5, and measure out the ingredients. Adjust the amount of turmeric according to your taste, and how powerful your spice is. If it’s fresh, then moderate the amount. If it’s been in the back of the cupboard a bit too long, then add a bit more.
Second – in a large bowl, cream together the vegetable shortening and sugar
Then add the remaining cake ingredients: flour, semolina, baking powder, tahini, turmeric, almond milk, and pine nuts.
Third – line a a 10″ x 6″ (25cm x 15cm) tray-bake cake tin with baking parchment, and brush the inside of the parchment with tahini. A silicone pastry brush works very well here.
Our top cake-baking tip is to clip the baking parchment to the tin with a couple of small bulldog clips, this really holds the parchment in place as you pour the mixture in. A simple thing that really helps! Remove the clips before baking.
Fourth – pour the mixture into the cake tin, and garnish with pine nuts. Gently push the pine nuts into the batter so they stick and won’t roll off the freshly baked cake.
Fifth – Bake for about 35 minutes. Check to see if it’s cooked through with a toothpick – stick into the centre of the cake. It’s done when there’s no wet cake mixture on the toothpick when you pull it out. Allow to cool and enjoy!
Recipe variations for Sfoof Turmeric Cake
There are probably as many variations for these traditional recipes as cooks who have made the recipe so let your imagination run wild. Here are some ideas.
- Swap the pine nuts for almonds or pistachios
- Add 1/2 tsp of ground star anise
- Use a medium ground semolina to change the texture of the cake
- Make a sugar or honey syrup and pour over the cake when it is still warm
- Garnish with dried rose petals – especially good with pistachios
- Add a little rose water or orange flower water to the cake
- Flavour with orange zest and replace some of the milk with orange juice
We made this cake using Trex vegetable shortening, which is perfect for this cake as it’s soft and so easy to mix in. It’s a fantastic dairy free alternative to butter for baking. It’s lower in saturated fat than butter and also suitable for vegans. It’s also free from hydrogenated vegetable oil, e-numbers, colours and preservatives.
It also goes a long way: as it doesn’t contain water, you can use 20% less compared to butter when baking. It also makes pure white buttercream when whipped up with icing sugar.
Serve this with a Spiced Tumeric Milk or for another one of my recipes using Trex try my vegan apple and berry crumbles.
Turmeric Cake (Sfoof)
Made with vegetable shortening that's easy to mix, so there's no need for an electric mixer, and it's egg free (so easily scalable) and suitable for vegans.
To grease the cake tin
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 65 g vegetable shortening.
- 200 g sugar
- 200 g plain flour
- 150 g fine semolina
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp ground turmeric
- 280 ml almond milk
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- Heat oven to 180°C (Fan) / 375°F / Gas mark 5. Line a a 10" x 6" (25cm x 15cm) tray-bake cake tin with baking parchment, and brush the parchment with tahini. A silicone pastry brush works very well here.
- In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar. Add flour, semolina, baking powder, tahini, turmeric, almond milk, and pine nuts and mix together.
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin and garnish evenly with pine nuts.
- Bake for about 30 minutes. Check to see if it's cooked through with a toothpick - stick into the centre of the cake. It's done when there's no wet cake mixture on the toothpick when you pull it out.
- You can substitute your preferred non-dairy milk.
- Bake with almonds or pistachios rather than pine nuts and garnish with a few rose petals
- Adjust the amount of turmeric used according to strength. If it's been sitting in the back of your spice cupboard for a while, add a little more. If it's fresh, add less.
- Use self raising flour and leave out the baking powder.
- Should you want, add 1/2 tsp of ground star anise for a more authentic sfoof flavour.
- This recipe is 8 Weight Watchers Smart Points per portion
Post and recipe for Sfoof Turmeric Cake commsioned by Trex. All opinions are our own. For more recipes and to learn more about Trex visit https://familybaking.co.uk/
This looks absolutely delicious!
Very tasty indeed.
I grew up with a Lebanese grandmother who made all of her tasty Middle Eastern food but I never had turmeric cake before. It sounds wonderful! And while I’m not much of a baker I think this is something I can handle. I can’t wait to ask my sisters if they had every heard or had this. Great post!
Wonderful to have the Lebanese connection.
The recipe is really easy, I’m sure it will turn out perfect for you.
I always love trying recipes from different cultures, and this one looks fantastic! Thank you for sharing and providing those wonderful step-by-step photographs :)
So many wonderful foods from around The World.
I’ve never had sfoof cake but it sounds delicious. I’m always looking to try new things that I’ve never had or cooked before. Thanks for sharing.
I love trying new recipes out, always open to trying new flavours and styles.
Jennifer | Savorwithjennifer
I’m intrigued! The flavor combinations sounds incredible. Can’t wait to try!
A delicious earthy flavour, and sweet too.
I’ve never heard of this type of cake before, but it looks incredibly delicious! Love the beautiful color! And the pine nuts on top take it to the next level! :)
The colour is wonderful, isn’t it.
This would be the perfect fall treat for my vegan daughter. It looks delicious! Although I wished, it would be clean. Have you ever tried it with whole grain meal and coconut sugar, Helen?
Not yet! I think that the coconut sugar would taste so delicious in it however.
Eden | Sweet Tea and Thyme
Beautiful, delicious, and I love the rose garnish suggestion. Unexpected but so lovely!
Such a lovely cake for colour and the flavour is amazing.
I love semolina cake – my absolute favorite. SO cool you added turmeric. I’ve used Trex before but not in cake I presume it’s similar to Short bright or Crisco. I love the color.
The turmeric is a wonderful addition, gives a real earthy flavour.
You have me pondering now Helen, what is coffee flavoured cake if it isn’t coffee cake? I like your suggestion. Coffee coffee.
Love the idea of this recipe, it sounds like a perfect bite to have with coffee.
Just the thing for having with coffee.
I love semolina cakes. I’ve made an Indian version before, but this sounds just as delicious. The colour from the haldi (turmeric) is just so rich.
Such a lovely golden colour.
I think this cake would go perfectly with a strong cup of pour over coffee.
Absolutely, ideal for this occasion.
I’ve used Trex for years, it was what my Mum used to use too. Always nice for baking.
It does give very good results in baking.
My husband just gave me the funniest look, because I’m sat reading the name of the cake out aloud, and failing badly!
I’m loving this recipe, it sounds so lovely. Nice to get some inspiration from other cultures.
Perhaps sticking to “turmeric cake” is the safer option.
Look at the gorgeous color of that cake. I’m a big fan of cakes like this, not covered in frosting. Booking marking this for sure.
This cake is all about the flavours, and it really is delicious.
A handy recipe for an easy cake. My kind of recipe. No fuss.
It is very easy indeed, and doesn’t even need a mixer.
Nice to find a tasty vegan cake recipe. Definitely going to give it a go.
Delicious and easy to make.
Interesting list of ingredients. A very different type of cake, but it sounds pretty good. Nice to see something a bit different.
It is a cake full of flavour and quite a different style, but well worth trying.
The cake sounds wonderful and I never knew you could make a sweet out of turmeric. I’ve been wanting to use more of it but really haven’t been inspired by any recipe. This really sounds amazing with the almond flavor. I’ll have to see if I can find that butter substitute.
We usually make turmeric tea and I’ve never even thought about baking with it. How interesting and this looks delicious! I’d love to try the pistachio variation too.
I’m definitely going to be making this one again.
Lovely cake, gorgeous colour! Just begging to be eaten with a drizzle of honey… on which note, time for another slice! ;-)
So glad you’ve tried it out yourself. Such a lovely cake, and yes, honey would be delicious with it.