Semolina Cake



Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 6


Appears in

The Cuisine of Life: Recipes and Stories of the New Food Entrepreneurs of Turkey

The Cuisine of Life

By Center for International Private Enterprise

Published 2019

  • About

The Egyptian dessert is associated with happy occasions; it’s made year-round, but especially during Ramadan. Most of its ingredients are available in every Egyptian house, and the recipe can be tweaked by using more nuts or high-quality butter. In Turkey, the cakes are sold in pastry shops and neighborhood simit carts.

Egyptians love this dessert — so much so that they flirt with women by calling them basbousa.


For the cake

  • 1 cup (170 grams) butter, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cups (210 grams) semolina
  • 200 grams yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

For the syrup

  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 milliliters) water
  • teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • teaspoons vanilla powder

To garnish

  • 100 grams almonds, blanched and peeled
  • 100 grams shelled pistachios, chopped or ground


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease a 32-by-32-cm (12-by-12-inch) pan with the tablespoon of butter.

Melt the remaining cup of butter in a saucepan set over medium heat, then remove from heat and add the honey. Add the semolina and mix very well. Stir in the yogurt, just to combine, then stir in the baking powder. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the edges are browned and firm, and the top has dots of golden brown.

During the last five minutes of baking, make the syrup. Boil the sugar and water in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Boil for 4 to 5 minutes, to dissolve the sugar, then turn off the heat. Pour the hot syrup over the finished basbousa, cover with foil, and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Garnish with the nuts.