Egyptian Basbousa Cake


Serves: 8

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Basbousa is an Egyptian semolina cake drenched in syrup. This version comes from my good friend Ange, an avid cook and fun person.

Semolina cakes are popular in Egypt and throughout the Middle East.  They come in many variations, each with their own ingredient twists. Some use a honey-based syrup, others use a sugar-based or citrus-flavored syrup.

Ange’s recipe is easy, no-nonsense, yet yields incredibly impressive results.


  • 2 cups (500 g) semolina
  • 9 oz (250 g) unsalted butter, cut up in pieces
  • 1 cup (250 g) of sugar
  • 1 pinch of vanilla
  • 1 pinch of baking powder
  • 14 oz (420 ml) natural yogurt
  • tahini to brush the pan
  • 2 cups (500 ml) of sugar syrup to soak the cake
  •  1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts or almonds for garnish


Preheat oven 350° F ( 180° C). All ingredients should be at room temperature.

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add butter pieces to flour mix by hand, rubbing it between your fingers until well blended. Add yogurt and mix it well again. Let it stand 2-3 minutes.

Brush a round baking pan measuring 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter with tahini. Pour the dough into the pan and shake it to level it. Bake it until the edges of the cake get a little brown. Continue baking until top is nice and golden. About 30-40 minutes.

Take cake out of the oven and when it is still warm pour syrup on all the cake top making sure that it is well soaked. Garnish with roasted almonds or hazelnuts.

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