Basbousa

This light and fluffy semolina cake drenched in sweet syrup is sure to deliver in flavor and is a no-hassle way to impress a crowd; it’s Basbousa!

Traditionally, Basbousa is a coconut and semolina cake soaked in syrup. The toppings and syrups may change with the variations of it out there, as well as personal tastes. Because I can’t stop myself from adding cardamom to everything, this Basbousa has a citrus and cardamom syrup with a little hint of rose and is a perfect dessert to make for serving a large group because of the fun ways you can cut and serve it.

Necessary Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups Semolina
  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup of Sugar
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 medium-sized eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (230g) Plain/Coconut Flavored Yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • A cup of raw Almonds

Syrup

  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 1.5 teaspoons Rosewater
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon juice

Pro Tip: I like adding rosewater, but feel free to substitute it for orange blossom, or just omit it from your syrup.

unbaked basoubsa
Pre-baked and scored basbousa.

Baking Process

  1. Combine the sugar and eggs in a bowl and beat until fluffy and paler yellow in color. Add in the melted butter, vanilla extract, yogurt, and mix the ingredients until they’re incorporated together.
  2. In a separate bowl, thoroughly whisk the semolina, flour, coconut, baking powder, and salt. Then, add the dry mixture little by little to your wet mixture, and all ingredients are combined.
  3. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease your baking pan with butter or vegetable oil, and place the mixture into the pan, smoothing out the surface. Once smooth, score a diamond or square pattern with a sharp knife onto the dough, and place a raw almond in the center of each individual piece as a marker.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden brown
  5. While the cake is baking, gather the ingredients for your syrup. In a small saucepan, place water and sugar, and boil them over medium-high heat. Reduce the mixture to a simmer, add in the rose water, lemon juice, and cardamom and stir to incorporate.
  6. Allow the syrup to simmer for 10 minutes until it becomes slightly thicker in consistency.
  7. Take the cake from the oven, and using a sharp knife, follow the score lines to cut apart the cake into square or diamond pieces. Then, ladle the simple syrup over the hot cake, ensuring to evenly distribute it little by little so that it is soaked into the cake.
  8. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before serving!

Basbousa is a great treat to have and is a staple across the Levant, North Africa and the Middle East. I hope you enjoy this simple, delicious treat by making it yourself at home!

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