Basbousa semolina cake

This Egyptian dessert makes a moist, soft sliced cake if you find traditional cakes too crumbly.

Preparation time:10-15 minutes


Cooking time:30 minutes

  • Ingredients

    For the cake:

    • 306g farina (or semolina)
    • 125ml ghee (clarified butter)
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 116g sugar
    • 250ml plain yogurt
    • 0.5 tbsp baking powder
    • 0.5 tbsp tahini
    • 1 tbsp ghee to brush baking sheet

    For the syrup:

    • 200g sugar
    • 250ml water
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Method
    1. To make the cake, add the farina, sugar and baking powder into a deep bowl and mix well.
    2. Melt the ghee and honey, then pour this into the dry ingredients. Stir gently with a spoon until the farina granules are covered and have a wet sandy texture.
    3. Add the yogurt and stir until it disappears in the mixture, but do not overmix.
    4. Brush a small baking sheet with a little tahini and ghee (or melted butter instead of the ghee).
    5. Spread your basbousa mix evenly onto the baking sheet and press down with your fingers. It should be about 1cm thick, but make it thicker if you like.
    6. Bake basbousa in 175oC preheated oven, on the middle rack. Cook for about 10 minutes until the edges start to brown, then move to the upper shelf until nicely browned all over. This should only take another 20 minutes. Do not be tempted to leave it longer or it will form a hard crust.
    7. When you move the basbousa to the top shelf, start making the syrup.
    8. Combine the syrup ingredients in a pan on the hob, over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, then keep the syrup warm.
    9. Carefully pour the warm syrup over the hot basbousa as soon as it’s baked. Cover the cake with foil and pop back into the oven for 10 minutes.
    10. Allow to cool and slice into diamond shapes to serve.