*** Makes 1 10": round cake ***
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup yogurt
1 cup fine semolina
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup brandy
1 cup coarsely chopped unblanched almonds
grated zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups water
3-4 tablespoons brandy
whole zest from half a lemon, removed in strips with a vegetable peeler
1.Preheat the oven to 400.
2.Grease a 10": round cake pan.
3.Set aside 2 tablespoons of sugar. In a large bowl add remaining sugar and egg yolks. Use an electric mixer and beat until light-colored, about 2-3 minutes. Then add the butter and semolina.
4.In a separate bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Then add to egg-yolk mixture. Also add brandy and lemon zest.
5.In another large bowl, add egg whites and use clean beaters to beat until soft peaks are formed. Fold egg whites into batter mixture.
6.Pour batter into prepared cake pan and sprinkle with almonds. Press the almonds lightly with a spatula so that they are almost completely submerged in the batter. Sprinkle with the reserved 2 tablespoons of sugar.
7.Bake for about 40 minutes or until the cake is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center, comes out clean.
8.While the cake is baking you can make the syrup, start by stirring together sugar, water, and lemon peel in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
9.Remove from heat and add brandy.
10.As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, remove the lemon zest from the syrup and very slowly spoon the syrup over the cake, covering the entire surface. Let cool completely before serving.
11.Serve cake on its own or with fresh fruit like oranges, tangerines or strawberries.