Margarita's International Recipes



Semolina Cake

Basboosa I have never been a big fan of Middle Eastern desserts. I find them too sweet for my tastes. I was thus quite surprised at how much I enjoyed this version of basbousa, one of Egypt's most famous desserts. It's not nearly as sweet as most others (probably due to the fact that it has less syrup), and the orange blossom water gives it a very alluring flavor. On the minus side, you are prone to eat more of this cake than you otherwise might.



For the syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. orange blossom water

For the cake

  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp.
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • blanched almonds or walnuts


Preheat oven to 350F.

Make the syrup

Place the sugar, water and lemon juice in a medium size saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Stir until the sugar completely dissolves. Remove from heat and mix in the orange blossom water. Set aside to cool.

Make the cake

Grease a 9" x 13" baking pan.

Sift together the semolina flour, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-low speed. Beat in the eggs, one at the time.

Add 1/3 of the semolina mixture and mix well. Add half of the yogurt and mix, and then repeat with another 1/3 of the semolina, the remaining yogurt and the remaining semolina. Beat until smooth.

Pour the mixture into the baking pan and smooth out the surface. Use a knife to cut the batter into diamond shapes. Place an almond or walnut onto the center of each diamond.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the top is golden. Remove from the oven and pour some of the syrup all over the cake. Let soak in and repeat in batches until all the syrup is used. Let cool before serving.

Adapted from this recipe at

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