Sweet Semolina Cake with Lemon & Rosewater | Basboosa
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
I’ve seen recipes for Basboosa throughout the Middle East. Today’s version is typical of what you’d find in Saudi Arabia. The owner of our local Middle Eastern market went to great lengths to explain how to make this incredible treat. As he waved his hands from side to side, explaining this option and that… I learned, as recipes go, basboosa is incredibly fluid. He said his wife likes to use farina, while he prefers durum semolina (quickly adding that others like to mix the two flours). Then he shrugged in the direction of the peanuts, almonds, and pistachios, indicating that I could decorate the cake with any sort of nut I desired. His speech quickened as he rattled off a list of possibilities : rose water or orange blossom water; folding in coconut or even just sprinkling it on top; that I might consider adding yogurt; and, when it comes to leavening, that yeast or baking powder are both acceptable.
Servings Prep Time
1 8″ cake 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 minutes 1 1/4 hours
Servings Prep Time
1 8″ cake 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 minutes 1 1/4 hours
Sweet Semolina Cake with Lemon & Rosewater | Basboosa
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
I’ve seen recipes for Basboosa throughout the Middle East. Today’s version is typical of what you’d find in Saudi Arabia. The owner of our local Middle Eastern market went to great lengths to explain how to make this incredible treat. As he waved his hands from side to side, explaining this option and that… I learned, as recipes go, basboosa is incredibly fluid. He said his wife likes to use farina, while he prefers durum semolina (quickly adding that others like to mix the two flours). Then he shrugged in the direction of the peanuts, almonds, and pistachios, indicating that I could decorate the cake with any sort of nut I desired. His speech quickened as he rattled off a list of possibilities : rose water or orange blossom water; folding in coconut or even just sprinkling it on top; that I might consider adding yogurt; and, when it comes to leavening, that yeast or baking powder are both acceptable.
Servings Prep Time
1 8″ cake 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 minutes 1 1/4 hours
Servings Prep Time
1 8″ cake 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 minutes 1 1/4 hours
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 3 cups durum semolina (fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup ghee , melted, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast – OR –
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp rose water
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
For the syrup:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp rose water
Garnish:
  • slivered almonds – OR –
  • peanuts
  • whipped cream
Servings: 8″ cake
Units:
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together until a thick batter forms.
  2. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes – 1 hour. To pass the time, send a greeting card to someone who needs a smile. Then, grease an 8″ cake pan and preheat the oven to 325F. Pour the batter into the baking pan, score with the tip of a knife in a diamond pattern, and decorate with nuts.You can choose one large nut, or several small. I liked pressing mine on in the shape of a little flower.Bake the cake for 35 minutes, or until cooked through.
  3. Slice the cake along the score lines and set it aside.On the stovetop, simmer the sugar, lemon juice, rose water, and water for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves and the whisper of roses and lemons fills the kitchen.
  4. Pour the syrup completely over the sliced cake. It’ll look like a glass lake. Completely submerged. You won’t think it’ll all soak up. No fear. If you used the right semolina, it will.P.S. Don’t worry if a few of the almonds float away, you can reposition them later.
  5. Let the cake rest about an hour to let all that sweet, syrupy goodness soak into the cake.
Recipe Notes

A note to the eager cook: be careful to use the correct semolina. I found mine at a little Middle Eastern market labeled “Durum Semolina” and it worked perfectly. There are other grinds that won’t soak up the syrup properly, which I discovered when I made it with another variety.

NOTE: For a cakey version (a.k.a. quick & fluffy) use 1 Tbsp baking powder instead of the yeast. You’ll just need to whisk it into the dry ingredients first to remove lumps. This batter can go straight into the oven after mixing – so preheat the oven right away! Let this version cool before cutting or the cake with crumble along the score lines.