Basbousa or Semolina Cake – Egyptian/Mediterranean dessert

This was a huge hit with my friends, everyone raved about it…

I have made this dessert a few years ago before I started this blog. I used a different recipe that time which I don’t quite remember now. Recently, I went to an Egyptian exhibition and had a chance to taste this sweet there. Since then, I had been haunted by this dessert. While searching for trust worthy recipes for making basbousa, I stumbled upon food.com website and saw the recipe posted by Najwa. Recipe sounded really easy and the reviews sounded great, everyone who has tried it only got rave reviews about it and my search came to an end. Since I had all the ingredients the recipe called for, I jumped out of my couch and made it right away. Super easy to make! I didn’t have to even use my heavy stand mixer, just a whisk was enough to make the batter. After 30 minutes of baking, the cake looked absolutely beautiful with golden colored top and browned sides. Drizzled the sugar syrup over the cake and I gobbled up without even wasting a second. It was such a rich cake, very moist and the texture was phenomenal. The cake itself wasn’t too sweet, so those without sweet tooth can enjoy this cake without the sugar syrup. With the rose flavored sugar syrup, the cake tasted even more delicious. I shared this cake with my friends at work, everyone had only one thing to say: “Absolutely delicious!”

Semolina is the grains of durum wheat and is used for making dosa, upma, many snacks, sweets, puddings, porridge etc. It is available in all Indian stores, Mediterranean stores and even some Asian stores have them. I followed the recipe for making the cake batter exactly as in that website, however I made some changes for making the sugar syrup.

Basbousa

Ingredients:

For making cake batter:

  • Semolina- 2 cups
  • Baking soda- 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Baking powder- 1 tablespoon
  • Buttermilk- 1 1/4 cups
  • Sugar- 3/4 cup
  • Butter, melted- 3/4 cup
  • Vanilla extract- 1 teaspoon

For making sugar syrup:

  • Sugar- 1/2 cup
  • Water- 1/2 cup
  • Lemon juice- 2 tsp
  • Rose water (optional)- 2 tsp

Instruction

  • In a large bowl, combine buttermilk and sugar using a whisk till the sugar dissolves in it.
  • In a different bowl, combine together semolina, baking soda and baking powder using a fork.
  • Add the semolina mixture to the buttermilk and sugar, combine well using a whisk.
  • Add vanilla extract and melted butter and mix until well incorporated.
  • Let the batter rest for 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Grease a square cake pan (8 inch) with butter.
  • After 20 minutes, the batter will be thick, pour it into the greased pan.
  • Even out the surface using a spatula.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 to 35  minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, insert a sharp knife into the center of the cake  if it comes out clean, the cake is ready. Else bake for 5 more minutes.
  • While the cake is baking in the oven, you could make the sugar syrup.

Making sugar syrup:

  • In a saucepan combine sugar and water together, let come to a boil.
  • Add lemon juice and rose water.
  • Lower the heat and let it simmer for 20-2 5 minutes.
  • The sugar syrup should thicken when it cools down.

Serving the cake:

  • As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, drizzle some sugar syrup over it.
  • Cut into desired shapes and you could even pour some sugar syrup while serving the cake.
  • If you don’t prefer the cake to be too sweet, you could ignore the sugar syrup or use very little.

Tips:

  • Make sure you allow the batter to stand for 20 minutes.
  • You could decorate the cake with almonds or pistachios while serving.

 

Basbousa or Semolina Cake - Egyptian/Mediterranean dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
For making cake batter
  • Semolina- 2 cups
  • Baking soda- 1½ teaspoons
  • Baking powder- 1 tablespoon
  • Buttermilk- 1¼ cups
  • Sugar- ¾ cup
  • Butter, melted- ¾ cup
  • Vanilla extract- 1 teaspoon
For making sugar syrup
  • Sugar- ½ cup
  • Water- ½ cup
  • Lemon juice- 2 tsp
  • Rose water (optional)- 2 tsp
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk and sugar using a whisk till the sugar dissolves in it.
  2. In a different bowl, combine together semolina, baking soda and baking powder using a fork.
  3. Add the semolina mixture to the buttermilk and sugar, combine well using a whisk.
  4. Add vanilla extract and melted butter and mix until well incorporated.
  5. Let the batter rest for 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  7. Grease a square cake pan (8 inch) with butter.
  8. After 20 minutes, the batter will be thick, pour it into the greased pan.
  9. Even out the surface using a spatula.
  10. Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
  11. After 30 minutes, insert a sharp knife into the center of the cake if it comes out clean, the cake is ready. Else bake for 5 more minutes.
  12. While the cake is baking in the oven, start making the sugar syrup.
Making sugar syrup
  1. In a saucepan combine sugar and water together, let come to a boil.
  2. Add lemon juice and rose water.
  3. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. The sugar syrup will thicken when it cools down.
Serving the cake
  1. The cake by itself is not that sweet, so you need to add the sugar syrup.
  2. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, drizzle some sugar syrup over it.
  3. Cut into desired shapes and you could even pour some sugar syrup while serving the cake.
Notes
•Make sure you allow the batter to stand for 20 minutes.
•You could decorate the cake with almonds or pistachios while serving.

Instead of sugar syrup, you could even pour maple syrup over the cake.

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