Alana’s Middle Eastern Semolina Cake

Alana shares a delightful recipe for an Egyptian Semolina Cake, also known as basbousa. This cake boasts Middle Eastern flavors and features a unique twist with tahini instead of traditional oils or butter. The semolina serves as the foundation, providing a rich and nutty texture. The cake is enhanced with desiccated coconut, caster sugar, flour, and baking powder. The wet ingredients include Greek yogurt, melted butter, and vanilla bean paste, creating a unique flavor profile. Blanched almonds add a crunchy texture to the cake. After baking, a hot syrup made with water, caster sugar, lemon juice, and rose water is poured over the cake, allowing it to absorb the sweet and fragrant liquid. The finished cake is a showstopper, perfect for entertaining.



– 2.5 cups semolina

– 1 cup desiccated coconut

– 1 cup caster sugar

– 3/4 cup flour

– 1 tsp baking powder

– 3/4 cup Greek yogurt

– 200g melted butter

– 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

– Blanched almonds for topping



– 1 cup water

– 1.5 cups caster sugar

– 1 tbsp lemon juice

– 1 tsp rose water



  1. Preheat Oven:

– Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (fan forced).

  1. Prepare Dry Ingredients:

– In a large bowl, combine semolina, desiccated coconut, caster sugar, flour, and baking powder. Mix well.

  1. Prepare Wet Ingredients:

– In a jug, mix Greek yogurt, melted butter, and vanilla bean paste. Stir until well combined.

  1. Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients:

– Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly until a thick batter is formed.

  1. Add Almonds:

– Fold in blanched almonds into the batter.

  1. Bake:

– Transfer the batter to a baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.

  1. Prepare Syrup:

– In a saucepan, combine water, caster sugar, lemon juice, and rose water. Allow it to reduce for about 10 minutes.

  1. Pour Syrup Over Hot Cake:

– Once the cake is baked, pour the hot syrup evenly over it, allowing it to soak into the cake.

  1. Let it Rest:

– Allow the cake to sit for about an hour, letting the syrup fully absorb.

  1. Serve:

– Optionally, garnish the cake for an enhanced presentation. Serve with tea or bubbles for a delightful treat at your next dinner party.


Enjoy this Middle Eastern-inspired Semolina Cake that combines the richness of semolina, the nuttiness of tahini, and the fragrant sweetness of the syrup!

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