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Basbousa | Eggless Arabic Semolina Cake

Basbousa is a traditional Middle Eastern cake, also known as harissa, nammoura and revani in some Mediterranean regions. It is made of semolina soaked in a flavored sugar syrup. The sugar syrup is usually flavored with honey, rose water or orange blossom water. Basbousa has a soft texture with a slightly crunch top.

Basbousa was one of the recipes suggested by Nupur of UK Rasoi for this month's Home Bakers Challenge, a baking group started by Priya. The original recipe calls for resting the batter overnight, but I rested only for 2 hours. Medium coarse semolina works best for this cake. Coconut adds an additional flavor to this cake. The cake absorbs all the warm sugar syrup making it soft and moist. Store the cake in an airtight container. Off to the recipe now.


{ Eggless Arabic cake with semolina and coconut }
Recipe Source ~ The Cookie Shop
Yields 21 square pieces


For the syrup:
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
½ tsp lemon juice
1 tsp orange blossom water
1 tsp rosewater

For the cake:
2 cup coarse semolina / rava
1 cup caster sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ tsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar syrup (cold)
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
30 grams melted butter
Blanched almonds


To make the syrup:

1. Add the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once it starts to boil, add the lemon juice and boil for 5 minutes.

2. Set aside to cool it. Once its cool add rosewater, orange blossom water and mix.

To make the cake:

1. Preheat oven to 200 C | 400 F. Grease a baking dish with butter.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add semolina, sugar, coconut, baking powder and mix well. Add butter, vanilla extract, sugar syrup and  mix it.

3. Gradually add the milk little by little and mix well with hands or spatula. The mixture should have a thick porridge like consistency.

4. Pour the semolina mixture into the prepared baking dish and level the top. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

5. With a knife, mark lightly into 3cm square pieces and place a blanched almond on each square piece.

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and cut into the marked lines.

7. Bake again for another 10-15 minutes or until the sides start leaving the pan and the top browns a little.

8. Heat the sugar syrup and gently pour it over the hot cake. Allow the cake cool completely.

Notes and Tips
  • The amount of milk required depends upon the semolina. Add more or less milk accordingly to make batter with thick porridge consistency.
  • To blanch almonds, place them in boiling water for about 1 minute. Drain and immediately place into a bowl of ice water. Rub the skin to peel.


  1. Delicious cake..looks so soft and moist.

  2. yum yum yummy cake....

  3. Looks very interesting, never heard this will try soon!

  4. Soft and moist cake..... love it!

  5. yummy basbousa, superb presentation!!!

  6. Nice presentation. The cake looks delicious and very soft.

  7. Wow its tempting and inviting me much...

  8. Delicious and yummy cake. Nice pics too..

  9. Scrumptious cake, cant stop just with one.

  10. beautifully presented,Sona..looks delicious :)

  11. Such perfect slices of Basbousa :) your clicks are superb Sona.

  12. Mmmm, these look really moist and tasty.

  13. I have tasted these cakes and they are very addictive.. Lovely pics and presentation..

  14. looks perfect.. Tempting too much

  15. Delicious yummy cake.. nice pics..

  16. perfect sweet recipe Sona....looks sooo tempting and beautiful :-) love a lot..


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