How to Make Basbousa - Semolina Cakes With Syrup

Basbousa coconut
photo by Asri' rie / Getty Images
  • Total: 55 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 12 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
545 Calories
23g Fat
79g Carbs
8g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 Servings
Amount per serving
Calories 545
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 11g 54%
Cholesterol 77mg 26%
Sodium 463mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 79g 29%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Protein 8g
Calcium 140mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(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)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon honey
  • For the Cake
  • 1 stick butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semolina
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 bag almonds (blanched and split)
  • Optional: whipped cream

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this semolina cake dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Prepare the Syrup

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Dissolve sugar in water in a medium saucepan.

  3. Add lemon juice and bring to a boil.

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

  5. Reduce heat and allow to slowly boil for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Make the Cake

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease and flour a 9-by-12-inch baking dish. 

  2. Cream together butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.

  3. Add eggs and vanilla. 

  4. In a separate bowl, combine semolina, baking powder, and baking soda.

  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture.

  6. Then, stir in the milk.

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

  8. Take a butter knife and make diagonal lines from left to right and complete to make diamond shapes. 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. Allow to cool for 20 minutes.

  11. Serve immediately with a dollop of whipped cream.

  12. Enjoy!