Basbousa is a traditional Middle-Eastern cake from Egypt. It is quite popular in the other countries in the region too. It is a semolina cake which is sweetened with sugar syrup once it is baked. Basbousa is also called as Namoura or Harissa in other countries in Middle-East.

Basbousa has a somewhat rough texture, which comes from the use of semolina. There are many variants of Basbousa – some made with egg and some without. Sugar syrup (flavoured with rose water or orange blossom) is poured on the hot cake and allowed to soak through. This gives it a slightly sticky texture too.

Depending on personal preference, the sweetness used in the cake batter can be adjusted. The cake itself doesn’t have too much of added sugar.


Course: Dessert


Prep time


Baking time


Total time



A middle-eastern semolina cake!


  • For the cake
  • Semolina – 1 cup

  • Melted butter/ghee/oil – 1/4 cup

  • Dessicated Coconut – 1/4 cup

  • Sugar – 1/6 cup

  • Baking powder – 1/2 TSP

  • Yoghurt – 1/2 cup

  • Milk – 1/4 cup

  • Roasted/blanched/plain almonds for garnish

  • For sugar syrup
  • Sugar – 1 cup

  • Water – 3/4 cup

  • Lemon juice – 1/2 TSP

  • Rose water – 1/2 tbsp (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 200C. Grease and line a rectangular loaf tin with parchment paper.
  • Mix together semolina and ghee (or melted butter or oil) in a bowl till all the semolina is well coated.
  • To this, add the coconut, sugar and baking soda and mix well.
  • Next, add the yoghurt and mix it into a lump free mix. To this, add the milk and mix well.
  • Press the basbousa mix firmly into the prepared tin.
  • Use a knife and cut into diamond or square design and place an almond in the centre of each cut design.
  • Bake this at 200C for 30-40 min until top is a light golden brown colour.
  • While the basbousa is baking, prepare the sugar syrup.
  • For this, boil the sugar and water together.
  • Boil it on high heat till sugar melts completely. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and rose water (optional) and keep it aside to cool.
  • Once the basbousa has baked, take it out of the oven and cut along the earlier cut lines again.
  • Pour half of the cooked sugar syrup all over the basbousa while it is hot itself and put it back in the oven for 5 min.
  • After 5 min, take it out and add the remaining syrup.
  • Let the basbousa cool down and absorb the sugar syrup properly before cutting and serving.

Recipe Video

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