Basbousa Cake

Today’s recipe is another dessert! I just posted a Lemon Ricotta Cookies recipe so make sure to check it out. But in this post, I will be sharing a sweet cake recipe that goes by the name of basbousa. Basbousa is a traditional Middle Eastern cake and the key ingredient in this cake is semolina (farina). So you don’t use any at all. The semolina based cake is soaked in a sugar syrup towards the end of its baking process, so very little sugar is used in the actual cake itself.

In this particular basbousa recipe, I will also be adding coconut and yogurt. The coconut helps contribute to the nice texture that this cake has and the yogurt helps keep this cake soft and moist. Making basbousa is very easy. There are two main steps: 1) Preparing the sugar syrup, 2) Preparing the cake. This cake is usually topped with nuts like almonds, but you can also use cashews. The almonds can be blanched, sliced, or kept whole with skins on. I hope you give this sweet cake a try!


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  1. Preparing the sugar syrup: Take a medium saucepan and add in the water, sugar, and lemon juice. Place the saucepan over high heat to bring the water to a boil. Then boil for 10 minutes.
  2. After 10 minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the syrup into a glass container. Add in the rose water to the syrup at this point, if you would like to. Set the syrup aside.
  3. Preparing the cake: Take a large bowl and add in the coarse semolina, fine semolina, sugar, baking powder, the shredded desiccated coconut, 2 eggs, melted butter, yogurt, and vanilla. Then mix them well. TIP: If you don’t have both coarse and fine semolina, then just use two cups of whichever semolina you have.
  4. Take a 13 × 9 inch baking dish (glass is preferable) and grease it on all sides with butter. Then pour the cake batter into the prepared baking dish.
  5. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place it into the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.
  6. Just before the 2 hours are complete, preheat your oven to 380° F.
  7. After 2 hours, take the basbousa out from the refrigerator. Then using a knife, lightly make lines on top of the chilled batter (both horizontally and vertically), to outline where you will eventually cut the cake after it has baked.
  8. Place an almond or cashew in the center of each outlined square. TIP: You will have approximately 24 squares in a 13 × 9 inch baking dish.
  9. Bake the cake in your preheated oven for 40 minutes. Then remove the cake from the oven and pour the sugar syrup all over the cake. Then stick the cake back into the oven and let it continue baking for another 15 minutes.
  10. Remove the cake from the oven and let it completely cool before slicing and serving. Enjoy with a cup of hot tea.

Storage: You can store the cake in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Servings: Makes approx. 24 squares