A Middle Eastern semolina and yogurt cake, perfect with coffee or tea.
Basbousa is delicious served after a meal, or with coffee or tea, and makes a lovely gift wrapped in cellophane and ribbon.
If, like me, you love anything made with semolina, you will love this dessert.
Basbousa is a delicious Middle Eastern cake made from a coarsely ground semolina and yogurt.
It is a popular dessert in Greece, Turkey and the Middle East. In Arabic it is known as Basbousa which means ‘just a kiss’, while in Lebanon it is called Namoura, and in Greece, Revani.
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There are many different ways of preparing Basbousa, but this particular recipe is always a real hit.
In fact, this basbousa recipe is so simple, you will be making it all the time.
- It is best made with coarse semolina for a fabulous slightly spongy texture – the milk and yoghurt provide sufficient moisture.
- If you prefer a sweeter dessert, make a thicker sugar syrup by adding more sugar, according to your taste, and cooking for longer.
- For mini basbousas, pour the mixture into buttered cupcake tins and bake for 15 minutes.
Note: This recipe does not use eggs.
It is often made with Rosewater, or you could use orange blossom water instead (we prefer this). Cortas is our favourite brand as it has a wonderful fresh aroma and flavour, and it’s easily available in Asian shops.
Alternatively, you could just use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice instead.
Some versions of basbousa are made with coconut, so you could mix ½ cup desicated coconut flakes in with the mixture before pouring it into the baking dish.
To store, cover and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze the entire cake or pieces in freezer bags.
⭐️ Are you making this Basbousa recipe? Do let me know how it turned out in the comments! And please give it a star rating below!
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- 2 cups coarse semolina
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup melted butter or almond butter
- ⅓ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup almonds
For the syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- Preheat the oven to 320℉/175℃/160℃ fan, and butter an 8-inch (20 cm) baking dish.
- In a large bowl, mix 2 cups coarse semolina, 1 cup caster sugar, ¼ cup melted butter and ⅓ teaspoon baking powder.
- Add ¼ cup milk and 1 cup Greek yogurt and mix till it is like a paste.
- Spread the mixture evenly into the buttered baking dish and smooth it down. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle, comes out clean.
To make the syrup
- In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup caster sugar. Stir till the sugar dissolves, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly and add 1 teaspoon orange blossom water and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Set aside till the cake is ready.
Assemble the cake
- Remove the cake from the oven. Cut into diamond shapes with a butter knife and press an almond in each piece.
- While it is still warm, pour all the syrup slowly and evenly over the top of the cake, it will take a while to soak all the way through.
- Place the cake back in the oven at the same temperature, for 5 minutes or till the top is a lovely golden colour. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- For mini basbousas, pour the mixture into buttered cupcake tins and bake for 15 minutes (till golden brown). Pour sugar syrup over the mini version and bake for another 2-3 minutes.
- Semolina and orange blossom water can be found at most Italian or Middle Eastern grocery stores.
- This recipe does not make a very sweet cake but feel free to adjust the level of sweetness by reducing or adding to the amount of sugar in the syrup.
- Keep the cake covered in a cool kitchen for up to 3 days.
- This cake freezes well and can be frozen whole, packed in plastic wrap, or in pieces in freezer bags.
The ingredients here on EOTF are set out in grams & milliliters and in US cups & spoons.
Made this with the coconut option and it was delicious! A few tips: simmer the syrup for longer. With just 5 minutes, there was more than the cake could absorb, so I needed to cook it for 15 mins (rather than 5 as in the recipe) to reduce. Even without all the syrup, it’s still on the sweet side – so maybe reduce the amount of sugar, especially if you’re using coconut. Also, lemon juice is listed in the ingredients but not used. I squeezed lemon onto my cake at the end and it’s better, so I suggested adding lemon juice directly to the syrup alongside the orange blossom water. Finally, use a sharp knife rather than a butter knife – even then the diamonds are a bit jagged so next time I’m going to try the muffin tin option. Otherwise a great recipe – thanks Nicole!
I am wondering if I can use couscous instead of semolina,as I am in Thailand.
Can you tell me ? 😊
Unfortunately couscous won’t work for basbousa, you will really need semolina. I believe it is available in the European/foreign food stores around Thailand, or you could try Amazon. I do hope you are able to find it, and let me know how it turned out for you.
Love the addition of citrus flavor in the basbousa!! Yummilicious!
Ingredients are familiar but not name of the desserts! Lovely post:)
Lovely cake! I love semolina based cakes. I’m yet to try this with orange blossom water. Although I love rose flavors in baked goodies, I’m sure this must be great as well.
Looks absolutely delicious!! I ll give this a try.
I have never tried Basbousa but I do love cake and citrus! This looks truly yummy!
Lovely recipe! And I love orange blossom water!
Such an incredible dessert! I love that you used orange blossom instead of rose. Yum!
I love that this is vegan! Looks tasty!
Manju | Cooking Curries
I make a similar orange almond semolina cake and this looks great too! I love that name!
absolutely fantastic looks delicious. I will definitely try it today.
Thanks Ferhat, hope you enjoy it ?