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4.67 from 3 votes

Basboosa | Middle Easter Semolina Cake

Course Dessert
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author Rafeeda


  • 1 cup semolina
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbsp melted ghee
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • Almonds for garnish
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • A squeeze of lime juice
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water optional


  • First, prepare the sugar syrup. Boil the sugar along with the water for 15 minutes. Switch off, add the lemon juice and the waters. Allow it to come to room temperature, while you bake the basboosa.
  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Brush an 8 inch flat tray with the tahini. Set aside.
  • Take 1/2 cup of the semolina and the sugar in a grinder and pulse till smooth. Empty into a bowl.
  • Add the remaining semolina, baking soda and salt and give a good whisk.
  • Whisk the yogurt and ghee together and add into the dry ingredients. Fold using a spatula till the whole mixture is moist.
  • Spread on the tray and flatten the top. Allow it to sit for five minutes.
  • Using a knife, draw lines for cutting later. Push in an almond at the center.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Broil the top for 2-3 minutes - keep a watch to ensure the top doesn't burn.
  • Take out and pour half the sugar syrup all over the hot basboosa. Allow it to sit for five minutes, and pour the rest of the sugar syrup.
  • Rest the basboosa for an hour to soak up all the sugar syrup. Cut through the lines till deep and pull out the squares. Enjoy.


The flavorings for the sugar syrup is optional, though it is always good to use at least rosewater.
The sugar syrup has to be at room temperature and needs to be poured on the hot cake, to absorb completely. You can prepare the syrup in advance and keep in the fridge, and bring it back to room temperature.
Resting the batter in pan is not mandatory, though it will help the semolina absorb the liquid in the batter and hold good shape once baked.
Make sure to spread the batter thin - the basboosa shouldn't be over 2 inch thick.