Basbousa, "Just a Kiss" Cake

Basbousa is a traditional Egyptian cake made with coarse semolina flour or farina and soaked in simple syrup. It's enjoyed throughout the year, but especially on holidays such as Shem el Nessim. The English translation of "basbousa" is "just a kiss," and it certainly lives up to its sweet name.

Recipe courtesy of Kamilia Rizk
TOTAL TIME: 55 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 40 min
YIELD: 6 to 8 servings


  • 2 cups farina or semolina flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup water
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    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Combine the flour, coconut and baking powder in a bowl with a fork. Next add the sugar followed by the butter. Add the yogurt and mix with the fork until fully incorporated. The batter should still have a somewhat sandy texture.

    Pour the batter into a greased cake pan. If desired, sprinkle with the slivered almonds.

    Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

    Five minutes before the cake is done, prepare the simple syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a sauce pan over the stop top on medium-low heat. As soon as all the sugar dissolves, add the lime juice and turn off the heat. Once the sauce pan has been removed from the heat, add the vanilla. As soon as you take the cake out of the oven, pour the syrup over its surface. It's important that both the cake and syrup are piping hot in order for the cake to fully absorb the syrup. This ensures a divinely dense and sticky cake.

    Serve with berries and creme fraiche. Bel hana well sheffah! (Bon appetite in Arabic)

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