Posted in Recipes on 30.08.2021
Vegan Basbousa (Turkish Semolina Cake)
prep: 15 mins / cook: 30 mins / inactive: 0 mins / total: 45 mins / quantity: serves 6-10 Print recipe?
A traditional Middle Eastern cake make with a base of semolina and yoghurt, Basbousa is sweet, light and fragrant and so so moist! It’s also studded with almonds and soaked after cooking in a sticky lemon syrup.
Basbousa has a unique flavour and texture. Relying on semolina for the structure of the cake gives it a very different taste and texture. But one that is SO very good. It’s sweet, nutty, soft, moist, sticky and VERY very moreish. Do you use cardamom pods? I love them, especially in sweet cakes and desserts. They give such a subtle but aromatic flavour to everything.
Boiling them in the syrup before dousing the cooked basbousa in the sweet sticky stuff just adds even more levels of flavour.
This vegan cake really couldn’t be any quicker or easier and is made in just one bowl. If you have a non-stick tin there’s no need to line it either. Basbousa is traditionally decorated with whole almonds but you can also use chopped pistachios either as well as or instead of the almonds.
The origins of this sweet semolina cake:
Basbousa is a traditional Ottoman cake, originating in Turkey but made popular in many other countries including Greek, Egyptian and Middle Eastern cuisines. The cake is made from a semolina batter that once cooked is soaked in a sweet syrup that may also have orange flower water or rose water added to it before being cut into diamonds.
How to make basbousa:
Put the dry ingredients into a large bowl. This is the semolina, ground almonds, baking powder and icing sugar. Mix in the melted butter and yoghurt until it is mixed well and you have a thick batter. Pour and spread into your tin, smooth the top then press in the whole almonds.
Bake for 30 minutes. Or until golden and springy to the touch.
It really is THAT easy!
While it’s baking make the syrup. In a saucepan gently bring to the boil the sugar, water, lemon juice and cardamom pods. Bubble until reduced and sticky – this should only take 3-5 minutes. You can add orange flower water or rose water to the syrup but Phil wrinkled his nose when I suggested it. Maybe next time I’ll just not tell him.
Once the cake is cooked remove from the oven. Then brush all over with the syrup, using it all. If you want the top of your cake extra golden, put under a hot grill for a few minutes. Keep a careful eye on the cake, it’s an easy cake to make but you don’t want to burn it! Grill before brushing with the syrup. Leave to cool slightly before cutting into diamond shapes and devouring.
Because devour you will. It has such a unique flavour, unlike other cakes, thanks to the semolina. And it’s VERY moreish. Time to put the kettle on and cut another piece I think.
Looking for more easy vegan cake recipes? Try these:
Jamaican Ginger Sticky Pudding Cake
Pistachio Cake with Orange Caramel Syrup
I’d also love to hear from you if you make this Basbousa! Just leave a comment as it’s so helpful and I love to hear how the recipe worked out for you! Thank you so much!
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Vegan Basbousa (Turkish Semolina Cake)
prep: 15 mins / cook: 30 mins / inactive: 0 mins / total: 45 mins / quantity: serves 6-10
- 1 + 1/2 cups (220g) semolina
- 3/4 cup (75g) ground almonds
- 1 + 1/4 tsp (7g) baking powder
- 3/4 cup (110g) icing sugar
- 1/2 cup (125g) vegan butter – melted
- 1 cup (250g) vegan plain yoghurt
- Around 20 whole almonds
- 3/4 cup (190g) caster sugar
- 1/3 cup (80ml) water
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 5 cardamom pods
- Preheat your oven to 160 Fan / 180 C / 350 F / Gas 4 and, if necessary, grease or line a 9 x 7 inch (23 x 18 cm) baking tin
- In a large bowl mix together the semolina, ground almonds, baking powder and icing sugar
- Stir in the melted butter and yoghurt until you have a thick batter
- Pour and spread it into your tin and flatten and smooth the top
- Place the whole almonds at regular intervals over the top of the cake so that when you cut it the almonds will sit in the centre of each diamond or square
- Bake for 30 minutes until the cake is golden and springy to the touch
- While it's baking make the syrup by putting all the ingredients into a saucepan and bringing gently to the boil
- Continue to bubble for 3-5 minutes until the syrup is reduced slightly, thickened and sticky
- Remove the cooked cake from the oven and brush all over with the syrup. If you want the top of your cake extra golden put under a hot grill for a few minutes, keeping a close eye on the cake. Do this BEFORE brushing with the syrup!
- Leave to cool slightly before cutting into diamonds or squares
- Once cold, store in a lidding container for a few days at room temperature
Hello and welcome to The Cook & Him.
We are Sam (The Cook), Phil (Him) and our little dog Nooch. What started with a plan to shed a few pounds back in 2016, soon became obvious that eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland and boring.
So, combining Sam’s 15 years of experience working within Michelin starred restaurants and our love for deliciously healthy food, we’re creating recipes for you to make and enjoy. We’ve added our own unique spin on traditional and contemporary vegetarian and vegan recipes that keep you (and your pets!) healthy and full. And we make sure they just work.
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