How to Make Basbousa - Semolina Cakes with Syrup

Basbousa coconut
photo by Asri' rie / Getty Images
Ratings (28)
  • Total: 55 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 12 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
545 Calories
23g Fat
79g Carbs
8g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

I love basbousa with coffee after a good meal. They are just enough to add that extra "umpf" to a meal. The syrup is not too sugary, but sweet enough to satisfy a sweet tooth.


  • For the Syrup:
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon or 2 tablespoons orange juice)
  • 1 teaspoon honey(optional)
  • For the Cake:
  • 2 cups semolina
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter (softened)
  • 1 cup milk (whole)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bag almonds (blanched split)
  • Optional: whipped cream

Steps to Make It

Make the Syrup:

  1. Dissolve sugar in water in a medium saucepan.

  2. Add lemon juice and bring to a boil.

  3. Once the syrup begins to boil, add in honey.

  4. Reduce heat and allow to slowly boil for about 8-10 minutes.

  5. Remove from heat and set aside.

Make the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Lightly grease and flour a 9x12 baking dish.

  3. Cream together butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla.

  4. In a separate bowl, combine semolina, baking powder, and baking soda. Slowly add to butter and egg mixture. 

  5. Stir in milk.

  6. Pour mixture into baking dish and smooth with spoon.

  7. Take a butter knife and make diagonal lines from left to right and complete to make diamond shapes.

  8. Place an almond in the center of each diamond.

  9. Bake for 25 minutes.

  10. Remove cake from oven and pour syrup over cake until no more can be absorbed.

  11. Allow to cool for 20 minutes.

  12. Serve immediately with a dollop of whipped cream.