Basbousa or Semolina Cake - Egyptian/Mediterranean dessert
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
For making cake batter
  • Semolina- 2 cups
  • Desiccated coconut- 1 cup
  • Baking soda- 1 teaspoon
  • Buttermilk- 1¼ cups
  • Sugar- 1 cup
  • Butter, melted- ¾ cup
  • Whole almonds
For making sugar syrup
  • Sugar- ½ cup
  • Water- ½ cup
  • Lemon juice- 2 tsp
  • Orange blossom water- 2 tsp
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F or 200 C.
  2. If you don't have buttermilk, combine 1 cup plain yogurt and ¼ cup water.
  3. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk and sugar using a whisk till the sugar has dissolved.
  4. In another bowl, combine together the semolina, coconut and baking soda.
  5. Add the semolina mixture to the buttermilk and sugar, combine well using a spatula.
  6. Add the melted butter and mix until well incorporated.
  7. This batter has a thick consistency as we have added semolina.
  8. Grease a square or round cake pan (8 inches) with butter.
  9. Pour the batter into the pan.
  10. Even out the top using a spatula.
  11. Using a knife make diagonal or square pattern. Place a whole almond on the center of each diagonal piece.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  13. After 30 minutes, insert a sharp knife into the center of the cake if it comes out clean, the cake has baked well. If not, bake for 5 more minutes.
  14. While the cake is baking in the oven, start making the sugar syrup.
Making sugar syrup
  1. Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and water, let come to a slight boil.
  2. Add lemon juice and orange blossom water.
  3. Orange blossom water enhances the taste of this cake greatly.
  4. Lower the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  5. The sugar syrup will thicken when it cools down.
Serving the cake
  1. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the sugar syrup over it.
  2. Let the cake rest for a few minutes before serving.
  3. Chilled Basbousa tastes much delicious.
*You could decorate the cake with almonds or pistachios while serving.
*Instead of sugar syrup, you could even pour maple syrup over the cake.
Recipe by Cooking with Thas - Healthy Recipes, Instant pot, Videos by Thasneen at