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Basbousa (Middle Eastern Semolina Cake)

Basbousa (Middle Eastern Semolina Cake)

Basbousa is one of the most popular Middle Eastern cakes. It is made of coarse semolina flour and sweetened by simple syrup. It comes together effortlessly and is always a crowd-pleaser.

Prep Time 15 mins | Cook Time 35 mins | Total Time 50 mins

Course: Dessert | Cuisine: Arab, Arabic, Middle Eastern

Keyword: almond semolina cake, basbousa, Basbouseh, hareesa cake, middle eastern semolina cake, Namoura, semolina coconut cake 

Servings: 24 pieces Author: Heifa


1 cup Plain Yogurt

1 cup Granulated Sugar

1.5 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

3 cups Semolina, coarse

1/2 cup Butter, unsalted, melted this is equivalent to 1 stick of butter

1 cup Fine Coconut Flakes in the store, this may be labeled as coconut powder or coconut macaroon. I get the Baladna brand from the Middle Eastern market

3/4 cup Milk

2 tbsp Tahini Paste this is used to coat the baking pan

Whole Almonds enough for each piece of semolina cake. approx. 24 almonds

Simple Syrup

2 cups Granulated Sugar

1.5 cups Water

Squeeze of lemon


1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Prep your 9×13 baking dish by brushing the bottom of edges of the pan with the tahini paste.

2. In a bowl, mix the yogurt, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda together. Set that to the side. You will notice the yogurt slighty bubble and rise.

3. In another bowl, stir together the semolina with the melted butter until it begins to come together. At this point, fold in the coconut powder as well.

4. Add the yogurt mixture into the semolina mixture and combine the two well. To this, add the milk. Mix until a cohesive batter comes together.

5. Add the batter into the prepped baking pan spreading it out evenly. Tap the baking pan against a surface to release any air bubbles that may be in the batter before baking.

6. The batter is thick enough to cut into pre baking. Cut into even squares or diamonds in the size of your preference. I got approx. 24 pieces out of my pan. See video above for demonstration.

7. Add a whole almond to the center of each piece just tapping it gently into the batter. You can also add a sprinkle of coconut powder over the top of the batter if you would like before baking.

8. Bake uncovered in the oven for 25-30 min on the bottom rack until the edges start to brown. Then, move the pan to the top rack for another 5-10 minutes so the whole cake gets a beautiful light brown color.

9. While the cake bakes, prepare the simple syrup by stirring together the sugar and water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let this simmer for about 8 minutes until it thickens and add a asqueezeof lemon at the end.

10. Once the cake is out of the oven, re-inforce the previously cut lines by going over it again with a sharp knife. Then, pour the warm syrup all over the top of the semolina cake. The cake especially when warm will soak it up.

11. Allow for the cake to cool completely for at least an hour before taking the slices out or you can risk it crumbling. You also want the cake to absorb all of the syrup. Enjoy a slice with a cup of tea or coffee!

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