basbousa semolia cake

Basbousa – Levantine Semolia Cake

“Bass!” is what they said whenever I tried to steal some hot cake. “Bass, ewlay!” I still tried, of course. The expression “Bass!” in this case has nothing to do with an acoustic shock wave or the name of this delicious semolina cake Basbousa, but means as much as ” Leave it!” and “Ewlay” is an expression you use when you mean a male fellow human being and want to insult him. Uh-oh.

Did the inventor of this semolina cake want to tell a child named Bousa to leave the cake alone? And someone else might have thought at that moment that this is the name of the cake? “Bass Bousa!!!” Hm… who knows?!

Basbousa is very tasty and it is very desirable to steal it from the windowsill. Or, you could just bake the cake yourself. Basbousa is not only very tasty, but also very easy to prepare. Some semolina, a few coconut flakes, a sip of yoghurt – that’s almost it. Have I forgotten anything? Oh yes: sugar syrup! A whole lot of sugar syrup! But believe me, the semolia cake will still not be too sweet – but incredibly juicy and tender. Of course the perfume of Arabian desserts should not be missing: Rose water.

But be careful: don’t leave the window open when cooling down! The scent will definitely attract fans… “Bass!” 😛

basbousa semolia cake


Levantine semolia cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 1 Cake


Ingredients for a 32 x 24 cm baking tin:

    For the semolina cake

    • 300 g Durum wheat semolina
    • 100 g Common wheat semolina
    • 100 g Sugar
    • 200 g Butter (melted)
    • 250 g Yoghurt (natural, 3.5%)
    • 20 Blanched almonds
    • 2 Eggs
    • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
    • 2 tsp Baking powder
    • Abrasion of a lemon
    • 1 pinch Salt

    For the syrup

    • 400 ml Water
    • 400 g Sugar
    • 2 tbsp Rose water
    • 2 tsp Lemon juice



    • Mix the sugar, water and lemon juice in a casserole dish until the sugar has dissolved. Let it simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes.
    • Stir in rose water and let the syrup cool down.

    Cake dough

    • Put semolina, baking powder, sugar, grated coconut and salt in a bowl and mix everything together.
    • Add yoghurt, butter, eggs, lemon peel and vanilla extract and mix everything together to a fluffy dough.
    • Pour the dough into the cake tin and place in the fridge for about 45 minutes.
    • Preheat the oven to 170°C.
    • The semolina cake has solidified a little in the fridge and you can now cut it into squares.
    • Press a blanched almond into the middle of each square (blanching = boil almond briefly in water, rinse in cold water and remove skin).
    • Put the semolina cake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
    • When the cake is ready, pour the cooled syrup over it immediately and let it rest for 1 hour.
    • Optionally you can sprinkle the cake with some coconut flakes.
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