Basbousa / Semolina Cake

Basbousa is a traditional Arabic sweet cake. It is known by different names in different regions, like Nammoura in Lebanon; Hareesa in Jordan, Ravani/Revani in Greece and so on. Similarly, the recipe varies according to different regions. Some recipes contain eggs; yogurt or milk; coconut; and some are prepared using clarified butter(ghee) or vegetable oil.

The recipe below is the Libyan recipe which is eggless and neither yogurt or coconut. I used melted butter for the same.

Recipe Source: 7aum Suvai

Semolina/Rava - 1.5 cups
All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Melted butter - 1/2 cup
Milk - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Almonds - 16

For Sugar Syrup
Sugar - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup
Lemon juice - 1tsp

  • Soak almonds in hot water for 20-30 minutes. Remove skin and keep aside.
  • Make sugar syrup by adding sugar,water and lemon juice in a sauce pan. Bring to boil and cook until it is sticky and the sugar melts completely. Keep aside.
  • In a bowl add rava, flour,sugar, baking powder, baking soda and mix well.
  • Then add melted butter, milk and vanilla essence and fold everything together gently.
  • Preheat oven to 180 C.
  • Grease a cake pan with butter.
  • Pour the batter to the pan and gently pat to spread evenly.
  • Score the batter with a knife either square or diamond. Place the almonds on the top of each square or diamond.
  • Bake for 30 mins. After 30 mins remove from oven and cut through on the scored line. Again place it back to the oven and bake it for 12-15 minutes more until well cooked and brown on top.
  • Remove from oven and pour cold sugar syrup over the hot basbousa. Cover everywhere with sugar syrup and allow to soak for 40-45 minutes.
  • Once it reaches the room temperature, slice along the scored lines and serve along with tea or coffee.