Basbousa: A soft semolina cake that will give you life

Hello and salaams my lovelies. We are 5 days into Ramadan and it’s been going okay. The fasting and all that is not a big deal, but my number one struggle is keeping my anger and irritation in check. Especially with the kids. But as fate would have it I wasn’t able to fast the first few days but I started yesterday. We also had iftar, or boeka as some of us Capetonians call it, at my mom’s house. So I decided to make an Arab dessert called basbousa to take with to send to the neighbours.

It was also the first time Rushdi took away cookies to the neighbours. We don’t do it in our complex because everyone just keeps to themselves here. I know there are some Muslim families about but I’m not sure which numbers they’re at.


Y’all, it’s basically a sorji cake and I am so impressed with myself, I won’t even lie. Here’s the thing – I love sorji. I will eat myself sick on the stuff given half the chance. But I also just can’t get it right, I keep burning it or it just doesn’t come right. So God is actually just protecting me from myself really.

So I was well chuffed when my sister-in-law made this cake one day and it’s just so super quick and easy to make for boeka. I like these Arab flavours during Ramadan, it just gives it such a special feel especially since we’re learning a lot about the Prophets and doing so many Ramadan crafts.

Anyway, enough chatter, here’s the recipe:

Basbousa - Semolina Cake
A soft and syrupy semolina cake.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
  1. 2 cups semolina
  2. 100g ground almonds (optional)
  3. 1 can Nestle dessert cream (can substitute Ideal Milk)
  4. 3/4 cup of sugar
  5. 10ml ground elachi
  6. 5ml Baking powder
  7. 160g melted butter cooled
  1. 1 cup water
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  4. 1 tablespoon rose water
For the cake
  1. Combine all the dry ingredients.
  2. Add dessert cream or ideal milk.
  3. Mix with a spoon.
  5. Add cooled melted butter.
  6. Bake at 180 for 20 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  7. While the cake is in the oven, make the syrup.
For the syrup
  1. Combine water and sugar in a small pot on the stove and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and rose water.
  4. Spoon or pour over the cake when it comes out of the oven.
Surviving the Madness
I hope you are all having a wonderful Ramadan.   

1 Comment

  1. Razena Schroeder

    May 21, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    I have the same “love it but, can’t perfect it” relationship with sorji! I love my Aunty Dija’s basboosa but haven’t had it in many years. Going to try this recipe some time In shaa Allah.

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