Basbousa – a recipe for semolina cake

Sweets are undoubtedly the strong side of Egyptian cuisine. One of our favorite cakes is basbousa. It’s not only popular in Egypt but also in other Arabic countries. Preparation is easy and quick and what’s the most important, the cake is delicious 🙂

There are many ways to make basbousa. We will show you the recipe my husband mastered for few years. I have to say that the cake made of this one tastes amazing. The preparation consists of two parts, the dough and the syrup.

Preparation time – 1 hour 30 minutes – 2 hours



500 g of semolina

100 g of pistachios

100 g of almonds

½ glass of desiccated coconut

250 g of butter (or margarine)

1 glass of milk

1 teaspoonful of baking powder

½ glass of sugar

½ teaspoonful of soda

½ teaspoonful of salt


3-4 spoons of lemon juice

vanilla flavor

1 ½ glass of sugar

1 glass of water

Vegan basbousa

It’s very easy to make vegan basbousa. Instead of butter, use margarine and plant milk. We have already made basbousa with soya milk, almond milk and coconut milk and I have to say that it tasted best with coconut milk which matches the desiccated coconut.


Mix semolina with desiccated coconut, baking powder, sugar, soda, salt and half of blended almonds. Then add milk and melted margarine. Again mix everything carefully. The dough will be sticky but this is how it should be. Distribute the dough evenly on a tray covered with baking paper. Put a foil on the top and leave it for 45 minutes.

In the meantime we can prepare the syrup. Add sugar, water, 3 or 4 spoons of lemon juice (depends how much you want it to taste like lemon) and few drops of vanilla flavor. Boil everything until sugar melts and the syrup becomes thick. Put the syrup aside to cool down.

Cut the dough before baking it and put an almond on the top of each piece. Sprinkle blended pistachios over the dough. Now it’s ready to put it in the oven. Bake it for 35 minutes in temperature of 180°.

After that time, pour the syrup all over the cake and wait until it cools. Enjoy it 🙂