Basbousa. Middle Eastern Semolina Cake

Basbousa is a Middle Eastern dessert that originated in Egypt.   Made with semolina and baked into cake this is a light and fluffy dessert that tastes wonderful with tea or coffee.


About the recipe

How did we come across this eclectic and delicious dessert called basbousa? It started when my daughter Anjali as part of her World History class’ final-graded project had to do a presentation on any world topic of her choice. Guess what topic she chose? The controversial Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

As part of her presentation Anjali wanted to make a Palestinian dessert that she could hand out in class. While researching Palestinian desserts Anjali came across basbousa.


What is Basbousa

Basbousa is a Middle Eastern dessert that originated in Egypt. So why did Anjali consider this a Palestinians dessert? While researching her topic she discovered that Palestinians live in many parts of the Middle East not just in Palestine and Jerusalem but also in countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Iran and Jordan. Basbousa is usually made for celebratory occasions.

There are many variations of basbousa, Anjali chose this recipe Basbousa. Middle Eastern Semolina Cake on mainly because it looked very easy to make and the ingredients were simple.

Basbousa tastes very similar to halwa but is more of a cake consistency.  It’s very light and fluffy and tastes scrumptious 😋. Folks, this is an awesome recipe! Give it a try!


Basbousa. Middle Eastern Semolina Cake on


  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup fine semolina PLUS 1 cup coarse semolina (or 2 cups coarse semolina or 2 cups original Cream of Wheat enriched farina)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut or coconut chips
  • 1/4 cup shaved almonds
  • For Cinnamon Syrup:
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 short cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice

Here is a look at our basbousa making process

  • Mix yogurt, baking powder and sugar together.
  • Add semolina and mix into a creamy consistency.
  • Add milk and butter and mix until smooth.
  • Pour batter into baking pan and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.
  • In the meantime make cinnamon sugar syrup. We added cardamom powder for some extra flavor.
  • Pour sugar syrup over warm semolina cake and let it soak for 2 hours.
  • After 2 hours semolina cake is ready to eat! Top with slivered almonds and shredded coconut.
  • Cut and serve!
  • We placed our basbousa on Turkish and Israeli plates. We love exotic pottery!
Pottery from Israel gifted by my cousin Uma from her business trip to Israel

The basbousa was devoured by the entire family and Anjali’s classmates loved it too! I even served it to our friends who had seconds and took some home as well!

Beautiful pottery plate from Turkey

Basbousa is a delicious sweet semolina cake that tastes great with a strong cup of coffee. Give it a try!

For complete instructions on how to make basbousa take a look at this link Basbousa. Middle Eastern Semolina Cake on

akl saeid fi filastin!

Happy Eating! in Palestinian Arabic.

12 thoughts on “Basbousa. Middle Eastern Semolina Cake”

  1. Made Basbousa now! Sorry Kalpana could not wait for two hours to taste! It is delicious!
    What a easy delicious desert!

    1. The yogurt really adds a nice dimension to the semolina cake. It was delicious, we added cardamom to give it some extra Indian flavoring. I hope you will give it a try.

  2. Looks decadent and is definitely a temptation! I may whip one up this weekend!😜. Thanks for sharing…❤️

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