Basbousa is a traditional Middle Eastern sweet cake, beloved across the region for its dense yet tender texture, soaked in a fragrant syrup. Made primarily from semolina, this recipe is often perfumed with rose water or orange blossom water, giving it a distinctive flavor that transports you to the bustling markets and warm kitchens of the Middle East.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Resting Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serving: 8


  1. For the Cake:
    • 2 cups semolina
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup plain yogurt
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut (optional)
    • Almonds or blanched almonds for garnish
  2. For the Syrup:
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon rose water or orange blossom water


  1. Prepare the Syrup:
    • Combine sugar, water, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in rose water or orange blossom water and set aside to cool.
  2. Mix the Cake Ingredients:
    • In a bowl, mix semolina, sugar, yogurt, melted butter, baking powder, and desiccated coconut until well combined.
  3. Bake:
    • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Pour the cake mixture into a greased 9×9 inch baking dish. Smooth the top with a spatula. Score the top lightly into squares or diamonds and place an almond on each piece.
    • Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  4. Soak with Syrup:
    • As soon as the cake is out of the oven, pour the cooled syrup evenly over the hot cake. Let it soak for at least 20 minutes.


  • The key to a moist Basbousa is to ensure it is well soaked with syrup. Adjust the sweetness by increasing or decreasing the sugar in the syrup.
  • For a vegan version, substitute plain yogurt with a dairy-free alternative.
  • Basbousa is best enjoyed the day it is made but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Nutritional Information per Serving (Based on USDA Guidelines):

  • Calories: 390 kcal
  • Protein: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 60g
  • Fat: 15g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sodium: 150mg
  • Sugars: 40g

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