Egyptian Sweet Semolina Cake (Basbousa)

Basbousa is a sweet, well-moist semolina cake that is really easy to prepare. It is topped with a delicious lemon syrup and rosewater. It will take you around 20 minutes to make it plus 40 minutes to cook. Try it:


For the cake:

  • 2 ¾ cups coarse semolina
  • 1 ¼ (125 grams) desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup (240 grams) caster sugar
  • ½ cup (80 grams) self-rising flour
  • 230 grams’ thick yogurt
  • 220 grams unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 25 to 30 grams blanched almonds
  • milk, if needed

For the syrup:

  • 340 grams (1 ½ cups) sugar
  • 250 ml (1 cup) water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater


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  • Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Butter a 30 by 25 by 5 cm baking tray. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, combine the semolina, flour, sugar, coconut, melted butter, yogurt, and vanilla extract.
  • If the batter seems too thick, pour a little milk, though, it should still be properly stiff.
  • Spread the batter with your hands into the baking tray. Pressing hard, cut into diamond shapes.
  • Apply an almond in the middle of each diamond. Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or just until golden brown.
  • In the meantime, make the syrup. In a saucepan, add the water and sugar and bring to the boil, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Then, simmer, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Pour in the rosewater and lemon juice; remove from the heat. Allow cooling.
  • While the cake is still hot, pour the syrup all over it. Cool to serve.