Today is Mardis Gras… and in Italy it is the last day of Carnevale. Carnevale is one of the festivities I miss the most. As a child, I loved going around the streets in my town all dressed up, playing pranks and throwning coloured confetti at my friends. The best time of all was the parade of the floats… we used to have so much fun. And then, it also helped that Carnevale always happens around my birthday (which, in this case, was yesterday!)… so I used to have dressing up parties to celebrate. Another thing I love about Carnevale is the food. As it happens just before lent (a time when, traditionally, Catholics eat less or at least give up some of the richest foods), the food is always decadent… and often fried. I have already shared a few typical recipes on the blog like Chiacchiere (which I make every year for my kids), Tortelli, Ravioli Dolci, Bomboloni… all fried. So, this year, I want to share something a bit different: a cake called Migliaccio, typical of Naples and the surrounding areas. It is very similar to a baked cheesecake in consistency and it is made with ricotta and semolina instead of flour. It is very moist and creamy and it has a subtle lemon taste. It is delicious and very easy to make. Try it and let me know! Buon Carnevale everyone!
Migliaccio - a traditional semolina and ricotta cake made in Naples for Carnevale.
- 500 ml – 2 cups milk
- 500 ml – 2 cups water
- 50 gms – 3 ½ tbsp butter
- Peel of 1 lemon
- 1 pinch salt
- 200 gms – 1 2/3 cups semolina
- 4 eggs
- 300 gms – 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 350 gms – 12 oz. ricotta
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp Limoncello optional
- Icing sugar to decorate
Put the milk, water, butter, salt and lemon peel in a pot and bring to a boil.
Remove the lemon peel and add the semolina while continuously stirring.
Cook the semolina for 10 minutes (keep stirring!). If you get any lumps, use a stick mixer to remove them. Let it cool down a little.
In the meantime, whisk the eggs with the sugar. Add the ricotta, vanilla extract and Limoncello (if you use it) and whisk well.
Add the lukewarm semolina to the ricotta mixture and whisk to combine.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C – 355°F for 60 minutes. It will be slightly wobbly, like a cheesecake.
Let it cool down completely, then unmould it, dust it with icing sugar and serve.
Louise Berube says
Any possibility of putting your recipe on a printable 1 page like so many other recipe sites? It would make it even better. Keep up the good work.
Hi Louise! Thanks! There is a print button in the recipe box below the recipe picture (on the right hand side). If you click on it, it will open the print page in a new window, but without the Printer box. Click anywhere inside the recipe to open the print formatting options window. The reason why my recipes often need more than 1 page is because I have step by step pictures in them. I have already asked my plugin developer to add the option to print without images, so hopefully that will come soon. 🙂
Gourmet Getaways says
Aww…why was it so much more fun before than this world of gadgets and virtual stuff?! But thanks for the memories, you are able to share this cake that’s another new and perfect match for our afternoon cuppa!
Julie & Alesah
Gourmet Getaways xx
Omg! This looks beyond amazing! I can almost feel the texture from the photograph. Just lovely… If only u lived in India. Sigh!
Saloni Vinay says
Hi Manuela… I truly love your recipes, your presentation, the pictures (they make me drool) and the fact that you’re so giving, humble and sweet makes me get inspired by you… I had a query, I’m a vegetarian and that means I don’t eat and work with eggs… So is there any chance I can prepare this cake by substituting 4 eggs? If so, please help me out… Eagerly awaiting your response…
Hi! Thanks!!! I haven’t tried it myself, but I have read some people do make it eggless. They use 50 grams more of semolina and then 3 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in 6 tablespoons of water (added to the ricotta cream). Let me know how it comes out! 🙂
Hi Manu, this looks so good, but I am gluten intolerant and wondering if I could substitute a finely ground polenta for the semolina…any thoughts?
Yesss you can make it with fine corn flour. The method is the same. 🙂 Let me know how it comes out!
Just tried this recipe last night and substituted all-purpose flour for the semolina, it came out tasting amazing but not as thick looking, which is probably due to me not using the semolina. Still, it was so tasty, light and creamy. Family and friends loved it!!!!
when I added the semolina to the water and milk, it became very thick very fast – no way I could stir it for 10 minutes – did I do something wrong?
Hi Roberto, Not sure why that happened, maybe the semolina was coarser than the one I used. Anyhow, it shouldn’t matter, you should still be able to bake it if it’s not too lumpy. If you make it again using the same semolina, stir it just until smooth, then transfer it to the cake tin.
The same thing happened to me, it got thick right away
I wanted to make this a couple days before a Christmas party, does it keep well?
Yes, you can make it a couple of days before. It keeps well at room temperature, unless it’s very hot – in that case, you can put it in the fridge.
Should the texture be cakey or more wet and dense? It was kind of wet and moist and crumbly and less
like a regular cake. Can you tell me how it’s supposed to be?
It’s perfect! It’s supposed to be wet and moist… sort of like a baked cheesecake. It sounds like you got it perfectly right! I hope you enjoyed it!
What type of semolina to use? Fine or course bring?
Whoops! Fine or course ground semolina?
Hi Terry! In Italy we have only one kind of semolina… it’s more similar to the fine version you find abroad, so that’s what I use. 🙂 Enjoy!
This cake is absolutely amazing! I love Italian food. Thank you for the recipe!
Yeah! I am so happy you liked it!! 🙂
Phyllis Guttilla says
This was excellent! What a great recipe and so easy! My semolina got very thick also, quickly, but no matter, I mixed it all up together and it was just delicious!!
I wish I could post a pic. Not that there’s much left now anyway, lol
Thanks so much!!